Lake Fishing

Salmon-Lake-State-Park

Salmon Lake State Park

Salmon Lake State Park

Salmon Lake State Park

Tucked between the Mission and Swan Mountain Ranges along the Clearwater River you’ll find Salmon Lake State Park, a great park for camping and water recreation.  Salmon Lake became a state park in December of 1977.  

A memorial plaque near the park's center explains how the Salmon Lake State Park was a gift from the Champion Timberland Corps and is meant to serve as an honor to three foresters who died in a plane crash in 1976.

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Looking to visit?

Fall is one of the best times to visit the park. The reflection of colorful Western Larch trees in the lake makes for a breathtaking view! 

The forests surrounding the lake are home to many Western Larch trees which are unique as they are one of only a few species of deciduous coniferous trees, meaning that they change color and shed their foliage in the fall like broadleaf trees.  

  • Fish in Salmon Lake or Clearwater River for a variety of trout, largemouth bass, white mountain whitefish, kokanee salmon, yellow perch and northern pike. 
  • Go birdwatching and see if you can spot any red-necked grebes, great blue herons, bald eagles, waterfowl, osprey or common loons. 
  • Enjoy the gravel beach and take a dip in the lake. 
  • Take a hike along the shoreline or through the forest on one of the many trails. 
  • Enjoy the lake in a canoe, kayak or on water-skis if you’re a bit more adventurous. 
  • Plus so much more!

A beautiful forest of Western Larch, Ponderosa Pine, and Douglas-Fir surround the campsite, which includes 23 paved sites with electrical hookups.

The campsite host can provide ideas for activities and will have firewood for sale!

This campsite has become so popular in the last few years, reservations are recommended to be sure you don’t miss out!

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

"I love this park. They have a couple of camp spots that right on the water and it's gorgeous. They also have some really nice spots that are up on a hill overlooking the lake with nature trails that lead to an island! There are even a couple of hiker/biker spots for $8 a night. Seriously, this is one of my favorite camp spots in the area."

"Great campground, nice camp host, amenities were what the website stated. Will be back!"

"Great lake to swim, paddle, and boat!"

"I’ve fished this lake probably around three hundred times and I just keep coming back. I fish mostly northern pike and it’s rare that I go home empty handed. The boat launch is above average and they’ve recently added a no swimming sign to the dock which is beneficial and safer for me as a boatsmen. There is a separate swimming area. It also has a covered area for picnics, clean restrooms, and amble parking for single cars."

 

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    Park

    Off-Season

    November 1 - April 30

    Closed to all motorized traffic, walk-in only. Day-use only, no overnight camping. 

    Peak Season

    Open Summer through Late October

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    Location

    2329 Hwy. 83 N Seeley Lake, MT 59868

Placid Lake State Park

Placid Lake State Park

Placid Lake State Park

Placid Lake State Park is located outside of Missoula, MT near Seeley Lake, MT. Placid Lake State Park is open year-round with extensive outdoor recreation options in the summer months, including fishing, boating, hiking, and mountain biking – just to name a few.

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?

Lake Placid State Park is a great option if you’re looking to camp! WIth 40 campsites and recently added showers and laundry facilities, this state park provides a taste of the great outdoors without having to stray too far from the comforts of home. 

With over 40,000 visitors each summer, Placid Lake State Park is one of the busiest state parks.

 

The forest around the lake was once in logging territory and what were once roads used to haul trees and equipment are now used as hiking and mountain biking trails. You can learn more about the history of the area through the interpretive panels along the trails.

Planning to bring your boat? You can rent a boat slip on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Did you know the Montana State Parks Foundation’s specialty license plate is a painting of this state park by Missoula artist, Monte Dolack, entitled “Placid Lake Sunset”?

And that every dollar from license plate sales help to fund the Foundation's work and is available at your local DMV anywhere in the state.

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

"The lake was amazing, the surrounding area breathtaking and the road to get there was well maintained. The campgrounds were clean and so were the restrooms. I am already planning my next visit to Placid Lake."

"Pure heaven if you are looking for a place to boat, camp, hike, pick huckleberries, bike ride, or fish. Just a few ideas for an amazing getaway. The lake is beautiful, warm and not extremely large. You can pick huckleberries right off the main roads in the summer.. Go explore and visit this little gem in Montana."

"Really awesome state park campground. We'll definitely be back. Amenities are great including hot showers and clean facilities. The swim beach is great for young kids and the access to the lake is great."

"Beautiful park to kayak, picnic and swim."

 

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    Off-Season Hours

    December 1 - April 30

    Closed to all motorized traffic, walk-in only.

    Day-use only, no overnight camping.

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    Peak Season Hours

    May 22 - November 30

    7 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

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    Campground

    Open Year-Round

Wild Horse Island State Park 1

Wild Horse Island State Park

Wild Horse Island State Park

Wild Horse Island State Park

Located on Flathead Lake, Wild Horse Island is the largest island in a freshwater lake west of Minnesota.

Accessible only by boat, Wild Horse Island has six boat landing sites, but visitors are welcome to pull their boats to shore on any of the public beach sites.

While most of the island is a state park, be aware as there is still private shoreline, therefore visitors are prohibited from using the boat docks.

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Looking to hike?

Due to the variety of wildlife, Wild Horse Island does not allow camping, pets or bikes as they may spook the animals. Fires and smoking are prohibited anywhere on the island.

What can you do at Wild Horse Island? The question is, what can’t you do?! You can:
Take a hike! The island has four miles of interconnected hiking trails, but visitors are free to explore off-trail as well.

  • Try and catch your dinner! Fishing is allowed with tribal & state fishing licenses.
  • Check out the wildlife including bighorn sheep, mule deer, songbirds, waterfowl, bald eagles, falcons and wild horses.
  • Warm day? Take a dip in Flathead Lake!
  • Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy while you enjoy the views.

Wild Horse Island is said to have been used by the Salish-Kootenai Indians who would pasture their horses on the island to prevent them from being stolen by other tribes!

Wild Horse Island used to be farmed and in the 30s even hosted a lodge. Visitors can still find apple and pear orchards, so if you’re feeling peckish, grab a snack! Besides the great views and interesting wildlife, you can also find rare, endangered plant life on Wild Horse Island. The island even has a Palouse Prairie ecosystem, one of only three of these biomes in Montana!

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

"Beautifully untouched for the most part. There are 5 horses currently on island and 1 bear, that we saw neither of. Lol. However it was abundant with bald eagles, osprey, deer, and bighorn sheep. Most of which you can view from a boat offshore if you have a keen eye. If not get a guided tour. But no tours are given on island, just to and from."

"Great place to boat to and relax. Beautiful water and fun rocks to skip!"

"Beautiful island to cruise around and we caught the 5 wild horses on the Western side!"

"Island in flathead lake with a few hiking trails and animals. Worth a visit during the day, or coming over by boat closer to dusk to see the deer, sheep, and possibly horses as they come down to drink."

 

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    Park

    Open Year Round

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    Restrictions/Closures

    Fires & Smoking Prohibited
    Groups 15 and over must have a special permit.

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    Location

    Flathead Lake
    Latitude/Longitude:
    (47.84715/-114.23458)

Wayfarers State Park 2

Wayfarers State Park

Wayfarers State Park

Wayfarers State Park

Located on the northeast shore of Flathead Lake near Bigfork, you’ll find Wayfarers State Park. This park, while small, has so much to offer!

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Looking to camp?

From spring to late fall the area abounds in wildflowers. Nature walks over the rocky shoreline to the cliffs are popular with photographers for an excellent view of Flathead Lake. There are 30 campsites in the park, including a hike-bike campsite with 9 tent pads, convenient for cyclists traveling the nearby Continental Divide route.

The maximum length for RV/trailer units is 40 feet. Starting in spring and into the late fall, Wayfarers is full of wildflowers! The best part of Wayfarers State Park? Its location along the northeastern part of Flathead Lake make it one of the ideal places to watch the sunset over the lake and sink behind the mountains.

While close enough to Bigfork to walk, the mature mixed forest of Wayfarers makes it a great place for camping and picnicking. Located near the quaint resort town of Bigfork on the northeast shore of Flathead Lake, this park is 67 acres in size and is 2,923 feet in elevation. A mature mixed forest makes this site very pleasant for camping and picnicking.

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

"Really nice park with lots of room. Nice water access very close to Bigfork. Well kept."

"Great place to camp and beautiful views of the lake!"

"Great for all ages. There were tons of families but we were able to find a whole other section with rocks to jump off of. So much fun."

"When passing through Big Fork, we often make Wayfarers our lunch stop destination. A good chance to stretch the legs, gaze out over the water, and enjoy lunch. We have camped here as well. Can be very crowded mid-summer so make a reservation. Some sites are very tight."

 

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    Park

    Day use area open year-round.

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    Campground

    Closed

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    Water and Shower House

    Available May through September.

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    Dock

    Contact park for availability.
    Dock is unusable when lake level is low.
    Typically lake level is high enough mid-June through early-September.
    For Waves & Wind Forecast, check NOAA Graphical Flathead Lake Forecast

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    Location

    8600 MT. Hwy 35 Bigfork, MT 59911

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

Painted Rocks State Park

Painted Rocks State Park

Painted Rocks State Park

Named for the green, yellow and orange lichens that cover the grey and black walls of the granite and rhyolite cliffs, Painted Rocks State Park is located in the West Fork Valley of the Bitterroot Mountains.

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?

Painted Rocks State Park offers 25 campsites, a boat ramp and boat dock. Be sure if you’re bringing your trailer or RV that it’s no longer than 25 feet!

And if you like to hike, there are many trailheads near the park that offer access to national forest land. 

Painted Rocks Dam was originally planned to be constructed for agricultural use!

The Montana Water Conservation started work on Painted Rock Dam in 1939. Today, Painted Rocks Reservoir provides water for irrigation, stock water, domestic use and in-stream flows for fish. The reservoir the dam creates is the perfect location for boating or fishing!

While in the park, keep your eyes open for the diverse populations of wildlife including elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, black bear or moose! You may even catch a glimpse of bighorn sheep or peregrine falcons which were reintroduced to the area in the 1980s.

Are you or do you know an avid birdwatcher? If you happen to be in the area in the spring or fall, you’re in luck! Osprey, great blue heron, water ouzels, spotted sandpiper and kill-deer make pitstops in their migration patterns at Painted Rocks State Park.

Part of the homeland of the Salish people for many years, this area continues to be a place of great value to the Salish. The area did, and still does, provide great hunting and a place to gather traditional foods such as huckleberries, serviceberries, Bitterroot, trout as well as other fish and mountain tea. 

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

"It was beautiful! I've been here many times but this is the first time I kayaked it. Absolutely smooth as glass on the most perfect sunshiny day."

"Beautiful, peaceful, wonderful place to spend time with the family."

"What is not to love. So worth the drive."

"Lovely scenery, very peaceful. Saw my first big horn sheep in the wild here. It was amazing"

 

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    Park

    Open Year-Round

    Dawn to Dusk

    Campground

    Open Year-Round

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    Location

    8809 West Fork Road Darby, MT 59829

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Logan State Park

Logan State Park

Logan State Park

Just off Highway 2 between Libby and Kalispell, you’ll find Logan State Park, a local hotspot. 

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Looking to camp?

Logan has 37 campsites, but no tent-only sites. RVs and trailers are more than welcome as long as they are no longer than 40 feet. The RV dump station closes in early October.
You’ll even find a playset for the kids and a short nature trail here.

  • Take a dip in the lake and go swimming
  • Go for a boat ride and find some peace.
  • You and your friends or family can even play a game of horseshoes!
  • Take a chance and go water skiing!
  • More of a fisher? You’ll find loads of salmon, trout, perch, pike, bass!
  • 17 Acres

Located in the middle of the 3,000-acre Thompson Chain of Lakes, Logan is heavily forested with Western Larch, Douglas-Fir and Ponderosa Pine making for a beautiful view of the tree covered, mountainous area.

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

"Very clean great price, camp host very friendly and knowledgeable about everything."

"We camp host here. The people are fantastic. The campground is clean,quiet and right on a beautiful lake with great fishing. All sites have electric. There is water, showers and dump station available on site. Boat slips are available and there is a paved boat launch ramp. There is a playground for the kids and a grassy beach area for swimming. Great place to camp."

"Great park highly recommended. The gate attendants are great and friendly also."

"We absolutely enjoyed our stay. The camp hosts and anyone who worked at the campground were stellar. They wanted you to enjoy your stay. Fishing excellent. Thank you. Only change I'd want is not paying for showers or if you did pay it not be limited to 6 minutes."

 

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    Park

    Open Year-Round

    7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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    Campground

    Open Year-Round

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    Additional Information

    Water & Showers Available

    Until September 30

    Boat Slips Available:

    Mid-May to September 30

     

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    Location

    77518 US HWY 2 Libby, MT 59923

Lake Mary Ronan State Park

Lake Mary Ronan State Park

Lake Mary Ronan State Park

Lake Mary Ronan State Park is just seven miles west of Flathead Lake.

This park offers a quiet camping opportunity nestled among a boreal forest.

This state park is noted for its fishing and numerous trails that lead into the surrounding areas which abound in wildflowers and wildlife.

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?

Lake Mary Ronan State Park's campground offers 25 campsites, including seasonal electricity at individual campsites, a paved campground road and spurs, plus a new and improved group camping area, boat trailer parking and a boating ramp.
This state park is on 120 acres at an elevation of 3,770 ft.

Off the beaten path just 7 miles west of Flathead Lake, this park is shaded by Douglas fir and western larch.
Lake Mary Ronan provides a quiet opportunity for relaxing, camping, and fishing from either a boat or the parks boat dock. A hiking trail leads into the surrounding area which abound with wildflowers and wildlife.

Several businesses near the park offer a variety of services including food, beverages, bait, and more.

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

"One of my families favorite places to camp. Fishing is great and the campground is quiet"

"Beautiful lodge ,great amenities, extremely lovely and helpful staff. Very excited to come back for a longer stay!"

"Stopped to check out the state campground and lake, very beautiful and peaceful. Dennis, park host, very friendly and knowledgeable of the lake, fishing and surrounding areas. My husband and I are looking forward to camping there."

"Beautiful location. Friendly hosts. Always kept clean and tidy."

 

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    Park

    Open

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    Campground 

    Opening May 1.

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    Electricity

    Available through October

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    Potable water

    Available May through September

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    Dock

    Available for the season.

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    Location

    50623 Lake Mary Ronan Rd. Dayton, MT 59860

Parks That Others Are Visiting

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

Parks That Others Are Visiting

Hell Creek State Park Dock

Hell Creek State Park

Hell Creek State Park

Hell Creek State Park

About an hour outside of Jordan, MT is the most heavily fished water in Montana, Hell Creek State Park. You'll reach Hell Creek, near the end of a 25-mile-long gravel road, through the spectacular scenery of the Missouri Breaks landscape.

On the Hell Creek Arm of Fort Peck Lake, this park provides facilities for most water sports as well as excellent walleye fishing. Fort Peck boasts 1,500 miles of lake shoreline (longer than the entire California coast) and features the surrounding hills of the C. M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge and the Missouri Breaks.  

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Things to do:

Located on the Hell Creek Arm of Fort Peck Lake, you’ll find excellent facilities for water sports as well as a bounty of walleye, lake trout, northern pike, and small-mouth bass to fish. Plus, there is a fish cleaning station.

Hell Creek Marina, a private marina located within the park, offers bait, groceries, gas and other camping and fishing equipment.

The park also serves as a launching point for boat camping in the wild and scenic Missouri Breaks.

Hell Creek State Park offers 71 campsites, 44 of which have electrical hookups. A group facility is available to reserve for special events

Looking for a hike? You’ll find plenty of trails throughout Hell Creek State Park including the 1 ½ mile loop Mule Deer Trail and the Paleo Trail.

The Paleo Trail is a 3-mile roundtrip hike into the Hellcreek Formation, known for its dinosaur fossils.

Hunting enthusiasts will find their fun at Hell Creek as well! Depending on the season, you’ll find hunting for antelope, elk, mule and white-tailed deer.

  • Spend your day on the water boating, water skiing or windsurfing!
  • Summer? Fish from the shore or out on the water!
  • Winter? Go ice fishing!
  • Lounge by the lake and take swim!
  • Hike through the rugged hills surrounding the park!

Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery encountered a grizzly bear near here in 1805.

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

"One of the best places to make memories. Clint and Layne awesome people and truly know their stuff."

"This place is beautiful and refreshing. We barely saw any people around when we visited but saw a herd of deer. It was something to remember by. You can see a beautiful sunset if you go there during evening. The lake and surrounding park is mesmerizing."

"Awesome place to use as a launching pad for adventures in a very remote corner of the world."

"Always a great place to visit. Just you and nature, can't beat it. Plus boat rentals if needed. Great camp sites and a nice bathroom with showers. Clint and Deb and the others are great people and take great pride in the marina, campground, the cabins and their guests. Love to visit every year!!!"

 

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    Park

    Open Year-Round

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    Campground

    Open Year-Round​

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    Park Office

    Open May 15 - October 1

    8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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    Additional Information

    No potable water before May 15 or after October 1​