Bad Roads for RVs Lolo Pass

Lolo Pass – Bad Roads for RVs

Lolo Pass – Bad Roads for RVs is located on U. S. Highway 12 between Lolo Montana and Lewiston Idaho. This road has almost no services. This road is steep for five miles westbound from the pass. Following this, it doesn’t have a straight section for the next seventy-seven miles. This is a paved two-lane highway in mostly in Idaho. In an RV the road should be respected in the summer and avoided in the winter.

There is only one gas station between Lolo Montana and Syringa Idaho. Only one palace that has internet between Lolo and Kooskia Idaho. There are no cell towers between Lolo and Kooskia Idaho. If you want to feel cut off from the rest of the world this is a good place to go. To the north and south, every road departing the highway, for any distance will be dirt, into the forest with no services. To the south, there are no roads.

Lolo Pass Rest Area
Lolo Pass Rest Area at the top of the pass. No food or fuel. Sometimes they have limited internet. No cell phone service.

The only place to get any food or fuel between Lolo and Syringa is at Lochsa Lodge in Powell Idaho. Powell isn’t really a town but rather the location of the lodge. It is located about halfway between the pass and Syringa.

Lochsa Lodge only gas, grocery, and internet.
Lochsa Lodge only gas, grocery, and very limited internet for restaurant customers. No cell service.

Lolo Pass — Our experience

We traveled U.S Highway 12 westbound in our RV during July. We had perfect weather and although the road was steep and was never straight it was a good summer route. It was very odd to travel nearly one hundred miles on a road that had almost no straight sections.

The climb westbound to Lolo Pass was steep near the summit but flattens out nicely at the top.

Lolo Pass Montana Side
Lolo Pass Montana Side

The descent westbound from Lolo Pass is speed restricted for trucks at 35 miles per hour. The first five miles are at 6% with some more mild sections. The entire road is one curve after another.

Lolo Pass – Bad Roads for RVs  Idaho side steep section
Lolo Pass – Bad Roads for RVs Idaho side steep section

As I mention Syringa, this is a tiny town with almost no services. The first grocery store westbound is in Kooskia Idaho.


Elevation: 5,233 feet at the top of Lolo Pass

Length: 123 miles

Runaway truck ramps: none

Pull-outs to allow traffic to pass. Multiple in each direction

Hairpin turns, switchbacks: none

Straight sections. First few miles west of Lolo.

Major points westbound from Lolo

All these locations between Lolo and Kooskia are almost one building businesses and can’t be described as towns.

Lolo Hot Springs 27 miles west of Lolo Montana

Lolo Pass Forest Service Visitors center 32 miles from Lolo

Powell, Lochsa Lodge 45 miles from Lolo (only food and fuel)

Syringa, Idaho 117 miles from Lolo (tiny town)

Kooskia Idaho, 132 miles from Lolo (first town)

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Lolo Pass Visitors Area

Lochsa Lodge

Here is our link to our interactive map. Bad Roads for RVs

3 thoughts on “Lolo Pass – Bad Roads for RVs”

  1. That sounds absolutely fascinating and beautiful!

    Does your new Tiffin have a “jake brake” (engine brake – particularly useful in trucks for down-grade speed control)? I’m new to the Class-A RV scene, but I am looking forward to finding something and hitting the road.

    1. Our RV has a two-stage engine brake. If you combine this with downshifting it nearly crawls along very slowly without the need to apply the wheel brakes.

      It even works with the cruise control set to maintain the speed downhill. When it is on however with the transmission in the drive setting (automatic) it eliminates coasting and gradually comes to a stop.

      When the grade is “only” five or six percent you don’t have to downshift but the engine brake is mandatory. My only concern is that sometimes it seems to hesitate before it gets with the task.

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