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U.S. Forest Service

Northern Region Viewing Area


kinnikinnic. Kinnikinnic. Photo source: J.S. Peterson, USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.

dogbane. Dogbane. Photo source: Brother Alfred Brousseau, USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.

Jimmy Joe Campground and Beaver Pond

Forest: Custer National Forest

District: Beartooth Ranger District

Description: This picturesque campground, located near the rugged Beartooth Mountains and East Rosebud River, hosts a profusion of spring and summer wildflowers that attract an array of butterflies. Look for kinnikinnick growing close to the ground with green, shiny leaves where the main road joins the campground road. This plant blooms in May and early June and provide nectar for hairstreak, elfin and blue butterflies. Other butterflies that can be found patrolling the campground road in June are the mourning cloak, Weidemeyer’s admiral, angel wing, and blue butterflies. In late June and July the pink dogbane flowers lining the paved canyon road provide nectar for about 20 species of butterflies and skippers. Later in the year, while there are fewer butterflies, you can still find angel wings, sulfers, and lesser fritillaries and a new crop of mourning cloaks. The uplands are characterized by lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) and trembling aspen / western snowberry (Populus tremuloides / Symphoricarpos occidentalis) forest, and Idaho fescue - bluebunch wheatgrass (Festuca idahoensis - Pseudoroegneria spicata) grassland. The nearby Beaver Pond supports aquatic vegetation such as yellow water lily (Nuphar sp.), small pondweed (Potamogeton pusillus), grass leaved pondweed (Potamogeton gramineus), water buttercup (Ranunculus aquatilis), and common bladderwort (Utricularia vulgaris). Mule and white-tailed deer, and moose are sometimes seen near the road. Spotted frogs (Rana pretiosa) were also noted in the Carex utriculata- and C. buxbaumii-dominated portions of the wetland complex. Cooper’s hawk (Accipiter cooperi) was noted nesting in the near vicinity of, and making hunting forays over the wetland.

Safety First: Use caution when driving the campground road. When hiking, dress appropriately and bring plenty of water sunscreen and a hat.

Directions: Take Montana 78 to Roscoe, then follow signs to East Rosebud Lake for about nine miles south on a good gravel road. Jimmy Joe Campground is about five miles before the lake and is well signed.

Ownership and Management: USDA Forest Service, Custer National Forest, Beartooth Ranger District, Red Lodge, MT, (406) 446-2103. The Beartooth Ranger District office is located in Red Lodge Montana, adjacent to the Gallatin and Shoshone National Forests, and serves as a gateway to Yellowstone National Park.

Closest Town: Roscoe, Montana.