History of Gallatin Valley BCH

In the late 60’s the Forest Service built the existing road and developed a horse trailhead, campground (water, toilet) at the current Spanish Creek location. The campground was small and south and west of the present toilet. It included a horse loading dock, three feed bunks and a hitch rail. In the summer of 1984 the Forest Service decided horse people didn’t use the campground enough so they were going to turn the area into a picnic only and took out all the horse facilities. Then in the fall of 1984 the Forest Service ticketed a couple of people for parking in the area and tying their horses to their horse trailers. In the winter of 1984-1985 we organized a Wilderness Riders Club and in March of 1985 we went to the Back Country Horsemen of Montana convention in Libby and obtained a chapter charter to become the Gallatin Valley Back Country Horsemen. We started meeting with the Forest Service and convinced them that horse people did use the Spanish Creek Campground and with our input and help the horse facility that is there now was developed. In 2010 we built corrals to add to the list of horse resources at the campground.

The trail to Spanish Lakes had been closed to horses for about 10 years to allow the area to recover from abuse. We told the F.S. that if they would open the trail for horse use we would adopt & maintain it along its entire length to the lake. Our proposal was accepted and we try to do this on the last weekend of June every year.