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Camp Paxson

A 15-acre peninsula rich in natural history prepared to provide guests with an unforgettable opportunity.

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Camp Paxson, located in the heart of the Lolo National Forest, has breathtaking views, excellent amenities, and is full of a rich history. 

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Outdoor Education

During May, June, September and October, we welcome students to the Larch Outdoor Education Program at Camp Paxson, where they can immerse themselves in hands-on learning, build meaningful relationships with each other and connect with the natural world.

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Camp Paxson will make you smile as it brings back fond memories of childhood group camping experiences – scouting, church groups, school groups, family camps, weddings – in a setting that allows you to tailor your event to match your dreams. 

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With breathtaking views, tons of lodging, and a lot of event spaces, Camp Paxson is perfect for any outdoor event you can imagine.

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Whether it is a general inquiry or you’d like to rent our facility, feel free to send us an email or drop us a line. 

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More Than Just a Summer Camp

Camp Paxson sits on the shores of Seeley Lake, one of a chain of five lakes nestled between the Swan Mountain Range and the Mission Mountain Range in Western Montana. It is a 15-acre peninsula of land that Salish, Blackfeet, and Crow tribes cared for, hunted, and fished for centuries prior to European colonization and we recognize their time-honored traditions and connections rooted in the earth. While the history of the land reaches centuries back, the buildings on this Forest Service landmark are just 80 years old. Camp Paxson originally consisted of a tent camp with six small frame structures. By the 1930s, a larger facility was needed. The Depression-era Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps began building the current facility in 1939, and the bathhouses and cabins were completed in 1940. Because of its unique architecture and as an example of the contributions of the WPA and CCC during the Depression years, Camp Paxson was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. The camp was originally used by a variety of groups including the Boy Scouts and the Forest Service for their Smokejumper training housing. Camp Paxson is a Lolo National Forest Service site administered by the Camp Paxson Preservation Project, a non-profit organization that operates with the mission to preserve and improve historic Camp Paxson and to advance the public’s appreciation of this cultural and natural resource both locally and regionally through expanded appropriate use. The facility is used by schools, churches, weddings, family reunions, and other gatherings of large groups.


Meet Our Residents

Did you know Camp Paxson is home to five beavers spread out between three lodges? While they are very social animals, they do not like to interact with beavers from other lodges. Scent mounds line our shores marking the beaver’s territories up and down Camp Paxson’s beach. If you are lucky at dawn or dusk, you will get to watch the neighbors swim up and down the shore, gathering sticks, lily pads, mud or just going out for a swim. It is always a quiet swim unless they run into each other, in which case it becomes an anticlimactic beaver scuffle. Check out the video below of two beavers meeting each other near the Camp Paxson swimming area.
Camp Paxson

Indigenous Land Acknowledgment

“You are here because you are interested.”

Those are the words Salish elder, cultural leader, and tribal historian Louis Adams spoke in 2013. YOU are here because you are interested. You are interested in Camp Paxson, a place that is rich in history and is so much more than just a summer camp. We acknowledge that and therefore we have a responsibility to provide you with content built upon the significant, time-honored traditions and local knowledge of the people who lived on, learned from and listened to these lands for thousands of years before us. We appreciate this space. We are grateful for the Indigenous communities who inhabited this place. It is our duty to rebuild respectful and reciprocal relationships within these colonized lands. We accept that this work is ongoing and evolving and may change as we continue to incorporate Native voices. It is our intent that this recognition goes beyond increasing cultural awareness to supporting one another in nurturing our shared environments.

For more information, check out the following resources:

The Removal of the Flathead:

Flathead Reservation Timeline:

Blackfeet Nation Timeline:

Crow Reservation Timeline:

Indigenous Educators Bringing Western and NativeScience Together:

What Ecologists Are Learning from Indigenous People

We Are All On Native Land

Indigenous Land Acknowledgement 3
Indigenous Land Acknowledgement 2

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To advance the public’s knowledge and appreciation of the cultural and natural legacy of Camp Paxson.