Ice Skating

Spring Meadow Lake State Park 3

Spring Meadow Lake State Park

Spring Meadow Lake State Park

Spring Meadow Lake State Park

Located west of Helena is Spring Meadow Lake State Park, a day-use park, popular for swimming, sunbathing, fishing and birdwatching.

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Looking for wildlife?

There are great wildlife viewing opportunities at Spring Meadow Lake State Park. You’ll find birds, rabbits, turtles and more! Looking for a nice walk? A 0.8-mile, self-guided nature trail circles the lake.

If you’re in need of a spot to fish, Spring Meadow Lake is your place. The lake is home to trout, bass and sunfish and there is even an ADA accessible fishing dock added to the park in 2011!

Even in winter, Spring Meadow Lake is perfect for recreation. The trail is open all winter and if it’s cold enough you can even fish or skate on the lake!

Unfortunately, your four-legged friend will have to stay home during the warmer months. Between April 15 and October 15 there are no dogs allowed in Spring Meadow Lake State Park.

Spring Meadow Lake State Park is a fed by a natural spring that feeds cool, clean water into the lake that is used for fishing, swimming, non-motorized boating, and even scuba diving. The lake and the state park land surrounding it were once an active gravel mine that was donated to the state in 1981.

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Curious what other visitors have had to say about the park?

"Nice quite little state park inside of Helena. Relaxing place to picnic, fish, swim or small boat/kayak."

"Great place to take the family out for the day and even get some fishing in. Located right in the heart of Helena, it is not out of the way at all and certainly worth a trip even just to hang out for lunch. The view is really nice, especially for being right in town that you would never even know."

"Great family park for Helena. Well maintained and kid-friendly swimming areas balanced with nice trails and fishing areas."

"Spring Meadow Lake State Park is the crown jewel among all the local parks. It is close to town, so people who can't go too far afield on their own (kids, for instance) can get there on foot or by bicycle. The lake itself is also a gem - it is usually clear, and it is always deep, cold, spring-fed and full of fish that everybody and anybody can try to catch. Helena is blessed with abundant parks and lots of nearby venues for outdoor fun but compared to any other urban parks and fishing spots anywhere, Helena's Spring Meadow Lake State Park cannot be beat."

 

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    Park

    Open 6 am to 10 pm

    Year-Round

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    Location

    2715 Country Club Drive Helena, MT 59601

Tongue River Reservoir State Park

Tongue River Reservoir State Park

Tongue River Reservoir State Park

Tongue River Reservoir State Park is located near the southeastern border of Montana, just 10 minutes outside of Decker.

A 265-mile-long tributary of the Yellowstone River, “the Tongue” (as it is called locally) starts in Wyoming and runs through Montana.

The park features a 12-mile long reservoir set in the scenic prairie and bluff lands of southeastern Montana, which is characterized by the striking contrast of red shale and juniper canyons. Due to the rareness of large bodies of water like this in this part of the state, the park can see up to 50,000 visitors a year.

We are able to bring you valuable information about this amazing state park thanks to the support of:

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Looking to camp?

81 reservable campsites with electric hookups and 27 of those are double occupancy with two electric hook-ups. There are also 80 non-reservable, non-electric sites!

At 12 miles long, the reservoir makes for excellent fishing any time of year! You’ll find crappie, walleye, bass and northern pike here. You can also fly fish below the dam and there is a fish cleaning station located within the park.

Forgot anything or just need additional supplies? The marina at Campers Point has firewood, ice, fishing and boating supplies, boat rentals, boat and RV storage, bait, groceries, snacks, drinks, gasoline, souvenirs, fishing, and hunting licenses, and non-resident park passes.

While summertime may be the most popular time to visit the park, Tongue River Reservoir State Park also features amazing ice fishing and year-round campsites that support just that.

  • Take the boat out on the water! There are two boat ramps with docks, one at Campers Point and one at Pee Wee North.
  • Go for a swim! Sand Point has a small beach area for swimming.
  • Keep your eyes open for wildlife! You may see osprey, blue herons, deer, antelope, or bald eagles.
  • Bring your picnic! The designated day-use area has picnic tables at Campers Point and Sand Point.

Tongue River Reservoir has some of the best ice fishing in Montana.

Just ask Chris Jairell of Sheridan, WY who landed a massive 42-inch, 15-pound Tiger Muskie while ice fishing last year.

Tongue River Reservoir boasts miles and miles of ice to test your skill and get you out this winter.

You can also check The Marina's Facebook page to keep tabs on the water and weather conditions. They post regular updates as well as provide an opportunity to share your big fish stories. Just be prepared to provide photographic evidence when you do.

The Marina is also a great place to learn about what you can fish for, ice conditions, and travel tips. You can also call them at (406) 757-2225

Tongue River Reservoir State Park Currently holds two state records for the weight of fish caught, including a 37.5 pound Northern Pike?

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Curious what other visitors have had to say about the park?

"My most favorite places to go camping and fishing."

"Catch Walleye, Pike, Crappie, Bass, Cats, and MORE!"

"Great place to recreate with shore-side camping, most with electrical hookups available."

"Tongue River Reservoir has the best fishing - they have a wide variety of fish to choose from when They hit they hit you hard. Everything from walleye to catfish to a bluegill sunfish, bass, pike, crappie etc."

 

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    Park

    Open Year-Round

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    Campground

    Open Year-Round

    11 campsites have electricity year-round

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    Location

    290 Campers Point Decker, MT 59025

Lake Elmo State Park

Lake Elmo State Park

Lake Elmo State Park

Inside the city limits of Billings is Lake Elmo State Park. A large 64-acre reservoir, Lake Elmo is the perfect place to swim, paddle, fish, picnic, bird watch, or hike the 1.4-mile nature trail.  The Lake, originally known as Holling Lake Reservoir, was constructed to provide water to irrigated farmland as part of the Carey Land Act of 1894.  The water that fills the man-made lake is diverted from the Yellowstone River near Laurel, MT, and flows through 63 miles of gravity-fed canals before reaching the lake.

We are able to bring you valuable information about this amazing state park thanks to the support of:

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Things to do:

Prior to becoming a State Park in 1983, Lake Elmo was once the site of a two-story restaurant and night club known for dancing, big band music, and two-inch thick T-bone steaks.  Nearby property owners created beaches for swimming and even cleared snow from the lake in the winter to host ice skating.  At once point a thriving boat club was formed by local water skiing and motor boating enthusiasts.

The Regional Office for Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks is now located in the park.  The Regional Office houses an impressive collection of taxidermied birds, fish, and wildlife.  You can also purchase conservation licenses and apply for permits at the office which is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A special feature of Lake Elmo is its Dog Park. The 200-square-foot fenced-in area includes a water area and is located on the west side of the lake. Each visitor is allowed a maximum of two dogs in this special area. Dogs must be 4 months or older. Dogs must be on a leash in all other areas of Lake Elmo State Park.

In the 1930s and 1940s, the Lake Elmo Supper Club drew people for dining, dancing, and watching water skiers just out the back door. The Supper Club burned down in 1946, but Lake Elmo continues to be a popular place today.

The reservoir was constructed in 1906 and serves as the storage basin for the Billings Bench Water Association. 

Your four-legged friends will love Lake Elmo State Park as much as you! The dog park at Lake Elmo is a 200-square-foot fenced area that includes access to the water located on the west side of the lake. You and two of your furry friends are allowed to run off-leash in this area, but must be on a leash in all other parts of the park. 

During the summer, the lake is stocked with fish regularly and Roger’s Pier is an excellent fishing spot on the south shore of the lake. And although a popular place to cool off in the summer, the lake can be accessed from many points which means these parks never feel too overcrowded. 

Only non-motorized boating is allowed on the lake though, so you won’t find any water skiing here like you could in the 30s and 40s!

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Curious what other visitors have had to say about the park?

"It's basically on the outskirts of town. Fair sized, man made lake with stocked, variety of fish. No motorized craft allowed on the lake. There are picnic shelters, kids play ground, paved parking and restrooms. The water's edge is a work in progress with some beach areas and a boat ramp. No overnight camping. A great day trip."

"I really like this lake, not only is it large enough to explore it has great picknick areas, walking trails. It's very clean and well taken care of."

"Great family place. Canoeing, swimming, and just fun in the sun with people you care about."

"A beautiful lake right in town and watching the sunset there was breathtaking."

 

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    Park

    Open Year-Round

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    Location

    2300 Lake Elmo Drive Billings, MT 59105

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Cooney State Park

Cooney State Park

Cooney State Park

Head to Cooney State Park, a reservoir 40 minutes south of Billings, to go boating, play in the water, camp, and fish. This is the most popular recreation area serving south-central Montana, and it's always a busy place in the summer!

We are able to bring you valuable information about this amazing state park thanks to the support of:

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Looking to fish?

Cooney has been a state park since October of 1970 and new visitor amenities have been added slowly over time. The 97 ft tall earthen dam on Red Lodge Creek that forms the reservoir was constructed in 1937 as part of a larger irrigation project for nearby farmers and ranchers.

Not only does the park have a gorgeous reservoir, but it has great views of the Beartooth Mountain Range in the background.

Regardless of the season, you’ll find excellent fishing for walleye and rainbow trout. And don’t forget, the Red Lodge Arm has a fish cleaning station!

Planning to bring your boat along? You shouldn’t have any issues finding a place to drop in with three boat docks and ramps surrounding the lake!

During the winter, some people enjoy kite-skiing across the lake! 

Camping is plentiful at Cooney State Park with five campgrounds and 82 campsites, 19 of which have electricity! While the electricity in the campgrounds is on year-round, be aware the water is shut off during the winter months. 

There are also three day-use group areas available around the lake. 

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Curious what other visitors have had to say about the park?

"Moon coming out on a beautiful night on Cooney, fireworks northeast, south Red Lodge mountain still snow on the runs, people laughing in the distance having fun, winds died so this sailboat not going anywhere, on the hook south of Red lodge camping area wow it really doesn't get any better than this!"

"Park Ranger and the camp host were both really great with answering all our questions and giving directions to camp and nearest local convenience store! The campground is clean and beautiful, right on the lake, but not much shade so come prepared!"

"Every day of fishing is a good day. Mostly with scenery like this."

"It's an awesome place! Boat ramps, fishing, boating swimming, fires and camping! And you can rent kayaks and paddle boards."

 

"Just a little piece of heaven."

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    Park

    Open Year-Round

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    Campground

    Open Year-Round

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    Location

    86 Lake Shore Road

    Roberts, MT 59070

Black Sandy State Park 1

Black Sandy State Park

Black Sandy State Park

Black Sandy State Park

Black Sandy State Park is an extremely popular weekend boating, fishing, camping, and water skiing location.

You can make reservations up to one day in advance of your arrival date. For same-day availability, try the park office 406-458-3221 to check if any sites are available for that night. There are also boat slips for rent on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Looking to camp?

Black Sandy State Park has 29 campsites with electricity that you can reserve, and 6 campsites without electricity that are first come-first served.
The maximum trailer length is 35 ft.

There is NO lifeguard on duty at Black Sandy State Park.

The dam that forms Hauser reservoir, was built in the early 1900s and named after former governor Samuel Thomas Hauser. The park lies along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. The Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through the area in 1805.

Prior to 1980, Montana Power Company owned the land and operated the park as a recreation area. In 1980, Montana Power turned over management of the park to Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP). In 1982, it was designated a state recreation area. Later on, the land was also turned over to FWP. (via wiki)

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Curious what other visitors have had to say about the park?

"Went overnight for tent camping. Nice spot right next to the water. There are 6 tent spots, none of which are bad. RV pads look nice right next to the water."

"Very nice areas, usually less crowded than Canyon Ferry. Make sure you stock up before you go, there aren't any stores close by. Some nice hikes and chances to see some wildlife."

"One of the most beautiful, peaceful places on earth. We only planned to stay one nite but extended for another nite because it was so peacefully and relaxing here."

"This is an excellent location for outdoor recreation. Plus, the staff are super friendly and the facilities are always maintained; very clean! "

 

"Close to helena, well kept but busy most of the time. All kinds of camping, close to a convenience store. State owned therefore inexpensive, and family friendly."

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    Park

    Open 24 hours/day all year for day use and camping.

    May 1- Nov 30: electrical hookups available

    Dec 1 - May 1: Limited facilities available

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    Normal Hours

    Winter hours, October 7 - April 13: Open Wed - Sun, 10 am - 4 pm.
    Summer hours: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm daily; Open until 6:30pm in mid-summer.

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    Location

    6563 Hauser Dam Road
    Helena, MT 59602

Black Sandy State Park

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Bannack State Park 2

Bannack State Park

Bannack State Park

Bannack State Park

Bannack State Park is the location of Montana's first major gold discovery, founded in 1862 this historic ghost town still has over 50 standing buildings!

Find out more about the history of the park down below.

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Tours are conducted from the visitor center, which is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Bannack Days, with historic displays, re-enactors, and activities, are held the 3rd weekend annually in July (Bannack days has been cancelled for 2020).

The campground has 28 sites, including a rental tipi located along Grasshopper Creek, a hike-in/bike-in campsite, with four tent pads, and a group picnic site.

Bannack State Park is a National Historic Landmark and the site of Montana's first major gold discovery on July 28, 1862. This strike set off a massive gold rush that swelled Bannack's population to over 3,000 by 1863.

As the value of gold steadily dwindled, Bannack's bustling population was slowly lost. Over 50 buildings line Main Street; their historic log and frame structures recall Montana's formative years.

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Curious what other visitors have had to say about the park?

"This was a great Ghost town. So many buildings to explore and go into. Well worth the drive and a day trip."

"Very interesting!! Crazy these buildings are still standing. Would have paid for a guided tour to explain everything."

"One of the best ghost towns I've been to. Most buildings are open and you can go in them."

"Didn't find any ghosts, but had a great, informative evening tour. Fun, well-preserved town with interesting stories of the wild west and life in a gold boom town. And when it gets dark, the starry sky is mesmerizing."

 

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"Bannack is a beautiful area that holds so much Montana history. I always find it fascinating to see how people lived in that era, how much we take for granted, and just how tough and hardy they had to be back then."

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    Park

    Open all year.

    Summer Hours: June 8 - Sept 30, 2020 8 am - 9 pm. Winter Hours: Oct 1, 2019 - June 7, 2020 8 am - 5 pm.

    Closed December 24 & 25.

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    Campground

    Open all year.

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    Potable Water

    Available summer season.

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    Visitor Center

    Open June 3, 2020 - Labor Day. 10 am - 6 pm.

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    Location

    721 Bannack Rd Dillon, MT

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