Homestake Pass refers to a 6,300+ foot mountain pass along I-90 about 10 miles east of Butte, Montana. Right at the pass itself is Homestake Rd, which leads you past Homestake Lake, and finally Homestake Pass Campground.
The campground itself, which I refer to as the “Front” campground, lies at 45.926345, -112.405241.
The campground doesn’t carry any official designation from Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. It’s just a large, flat clearing big enough to accommodate 12-16 large RVs. In fact, Homestake Rd continues up a mountain eventually leading you to Delmoe Lake. All along this route, there are numerous other unofficial campsites, some big enough for just one RV, and others big enough for four or five. This article refers to the “front” campground, closest to I-90 on-off ramp.
There’s some confusion about which federal agency oversees Homestake Pass Campground. Some websites like Campendium and FreeCampsites.net, indicate the Bureau of Land Management. However, the BLM itself, if you look at their maps, indicate this piece of land is administered by the US Forest Service. Either way, such case would mean a maximum 14-days length of stay.
Homestake Pass Campground offers no amenities. No pit toilets, no running water, no fire rings. There is a billboard posted here with rules and regulations, instructions on how to protect your camp from bears, along with weathered and sun-beaten road maps.
Otherwise, expect a lot of campers here.
I arrived here on a Wednesday afternoon, August 29, 2018, and found eight other RVers camped here. By Friday afternoon, several more had rolled in. There is considerable noise. Most campers bring their dirt bikes and ATVs to enjoy the many dirt trails criss-crossing this forest. There is also a fair amount of traffic running up and down Homestake Rd, mostly RVers looking for campsites and pickup trucks that had already unhitched their trailers and are now heading to Butte for supplies. I also noted gunfire in the distance, sounding more like high-powered rifles, perhaps hunting for elk and deer.
If you plan to look for campsites further up Homestake Rd, keep in mind the road climbs elevation towards Delmoe Lake. There is considerable gravel all the way there, and the road can be heavily washboarded. Yet, the road is wide enough for two RVs to just barely pass each other. However, there are places where the grade becomes more steep, and your towing a pretty heavy load, and you don’t have four-wheel drive, you may find your wheels spinning with no traction. You can unhitch your trailer or toad at the Front campground, and explore the road first.
I did explore the road myself, and found some pretty sweet campsites. But keep in mind that most of the campsites within 7 miles from the I-90 are pretty much claimed by other RVers, even during mid-week. You have to get beyond that 7 mile marker before you start finding available campsites. Even then, you’re going to be without cell service, and the mosquitoes become a bigger problem that far in.
If cell service is necessary, then just set up camp at the Front campground. I was getting 4 bars on Verizon 4G, unboosted, and a full 5 bars boosted.
In terms of peace and quiet, you won’t find a lot. This campground does get filled in with campers over the weekend, and they will be up all night burning wood, playing music and drinking beer. You will hear dirt bikes and ATVs going by. People do run their generators here.
But what you will get here is 14 days of free camping, no park rangers giving you crap about your camp, and cooler temperatures at 6,300 feet up.