Photography

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.

image2 (16)
IMG_5965

Download Campsite Map

IMG_5966

Download Park Map

IMG_5970

Watch Park Videos

IMG_5964

Download Brochure

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.

DID-YOU-KNOW-mtstateparks

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."

 

Untitled
  • pine icon

    Park

    Open 6 am to 10 pm

    Year-Round

  • pine icon

    Location

    2715 Country Club Drive Helena, MT 59601

Lost Creek State Park 6

Lost Creek State Park

Lost Creek State Park

Lost Creek State Park

Lost Creek State Park is a public recreation area and campground located six miles north of Anaconda, Montana, featuring limestone cliffs and multi-colored rock formations that rise 1,200 feet (370 m) above its canyon floor.

lost-creek-state-park
IMG_5965

Download Campsite Map

IMG_5966

Download Park Map

IMG_5970

Watch Park Videos

IMG_5964

Download Brochure

Looking to hike?

The 502 acre state park features a short walking trail to Lost Creek Falls, which plunges 50 feet. The park is open year-round for hiking, bicycling, fishing, and wildlife viewing with mountain goats and bighorn sheep commonly seen. The park is open seasonally for camping. 

Wildlife, especially mountain goats, golden eagles, and bighorn sheep are frequently seen on the cliffs above the park.  Pika are often seen and heard in the rocks and talus of the upper portion of the canyon. 

If you prefer a longer hike, US Forest Service trails just north of the falls parking area lead for miles into the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. One such trail winds for several miles along Lost Creek through forests and meadows with great views of the surrounding mountains.

Located in the Flint Creek Mountain Range, Lost Creek State Park is a must for Montanans and visitors alike. With the significant growth of Aspen throughout the park, the colors are brilliant come fall – so be sure to get this on your list!

Grey limestone cliffs rise high above the canyon along with towering 1,200 foot pink and white granite formations.

DID-YOU-KNOW-mtstateparks

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

"What an awesome ticked away location! The camping looks really quite and private, tucked in the trees along the creek. Plus the small waterfall is right outside the campsite! There's a great moderate, wide trail that you can hike until you're tired. Just past the first mile you come to the first bridge which is a good turn around, but just another quarter mile is the service bridge which has a cool tiny side stream waterfall. We hiked three miles in to the old cabin and turned around there. Love the place!"

"Clean bathrooms, quiet, nice camping spots, overflow parking, hiking trails. There is a short hike to the waterfalls or you can take the longer hike and look over the falls. Beautiful area, lots of cliffs and if you bring binoculars you can watch the mountain goats traverse the cliffs. Discovery ski area, Georgetown lake, and Granite ghost town are all nearby. The sweet shop in Phillipsburg has the biggest and best candy selection in Montana but they are closed on Saturdays. If you take a left at Porters corner and go 16 miles you can spend the day searching for Sapphires at Gem Mountain."

"Very nice drive. Scenic views. The falls were very easy to walk to."

"Stopped here for a quick hike while driving thru the area. Very nice and peaceful spot, hike was easy and path was well marked. $8 entrance fee for nonresident plates, dog-friendly. I would recommend it!"

 

Untitled
Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park 1

Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park

Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park

Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park

Located just east of Whitehall, MT, lies the Lewis and Clark Caverns. Discovered in 1892 by local hunters, these caverns went on to become Montana's first state park.

As one of the largest known limestone cavern systems in the northwest, Montanans have been exploring the caves for over 100 years!

89021591128090568
IMG_5965

Download Campsite Map

IMG_5966

Download Park Map

IMG_5970

Watch Park Videos

IMG_5964

Download Brochure

Interested in tours?

Access to the cave is by guided tours only, May through September with limited candlelight tours offered in December. Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park also features camping and a network of trails to hike or bike, a state-of-the-art visitor center, interpretive displays, a gift shop, food and beverage concessions, amphitheater, and interpretive events presented during the summer months.

Looking to camp?

The park has a large campground with 40 campsites, a tipi, and three cabins, which you can reserve online, and a group camping area, which you must contact the park to reserve. There is a $5 charge to use the dump station.

The site encompasses 3,015 acres. The entry area is at an elevation of 4,300 feet and the caverns area is at an elevation of 5,300 feet.

Cave access is only available through the guided tour. You will be asked to please wear a mask. 

Cavern Tours are now being offered. 

Special procedures for the safety of our visitors and staff:

Only Paradise tours offered at this time. The Paradise tour will guide you to the largest, most decorated rooms of the cave. Tour length is approximately 1 mile and the tour takes about 1 1/2 hours.

Pre-registration and pre-payment are required. To reserve tour tickets, learn how to prepare for your visit or discover current Park restrictions, call (406) 287-3541. Tickets are limited. We are only booking tours within a 2-week window from the date you call.

Call for tickets even if it is the day you’d like to take a tour.

Paradise Tours will be offered Friday-Monday, hourly from 9:15am-5:15pm.

Bring a face covering. Face coverings are required during cave tours.

Although optional for other areas of the park. Park disinfecting procedures involve using a bleach solution.

Visitors should consider wearing new or very clean gloves, especially in the caverns where the handrails are cleaned with bleach solution every tour.

Because of group size restrictions, tours are very limited. Park facilities that are open now are disinfected intermittently. We suggest visitors bring hand sanitizer and/or disinfecting wipes for personal use.

Paradise Tour 

Difficulty: Easy
Length: 1 mile / 90 minutes
Schedule: Beginning May 22, 2020 Friday-Monday, offered hourly, 9:15 am-5:15 pm. Cost: $15 / person, 15 years & older; $10 for seniors, persons with a disability, and youth ages 5-14 years; children 4 years & under are free.

Pre-registration and pre-payment required. To reserve tour tickets, learn how to prepare for your visit or discover current Park restrictions, call (406) 287-3541.

Tickets are limited. Call for tickets even if it is the day you’d like to take a tour. Walk a level ½ mile trail to see the Paradise Room, the largest, most active and decorated portion of the cave. Part of the tour is wheelchair accessible.

Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park features one of the largest known limestone caverns in the Northwest.

DID-YOU-KNOW-mtstateparks

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

"The caverns are amazing and the tours are fantastic. I have been through several times over the years and always loved the experience. The candlelight tours in the winter are amazing for the experience and historic aspects, but the summer tours really show off the caverns with the lights. All of the guides are passionate about their jobs and the caves, and love to teach. Great place to visit and bring friends and family."

"Absolutely beautiful! The bats are very cool to see as well! Can't wait to see it again."

"These Caverns are a jewel. The drive to the caverns winds along the Jefferson River, with cliffs adorning the sides of the road. Our party were excited to to the Caverns today, as it was the rare tour through the cave system with candles!!! This Candlelight tour is offered only at Christmas. What a treat!! The vision of the fellow participants weaving among the cave features is idyllic. It is surprising how much light the candlelight can make in the total dark. This is a best kept secret. The tour guides are top notch."

"A truly fascinating and unique experience! Amazing formations of nature. A true treasure. Outstanding tour and educational experience. Highly recommend!"

 

Untitled
  • pine icon

    Park

    Open Year-Round

  • pine icon

    Campground

    Open

  • pine icon

    Water

    Available May 2 - Sept 30.

  • pine icon

    Showers & Comfort Station

    Available May 2 - Sept 30

  • pine icon

    Visitor Center

    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.

  • pine icon

    Location

    25 Lewis and Clark Caverns Rd. Whitehall, MT 59759

Granite Ghost Town State Park 3

Granite Ghost Town State Park

Granite Ghost Town State Park

Granite Ghost Town State Park

Once a thriving 1890s silver boomtown, Granite Ghost Town State Park, is exactly what its name suggests, the remains of a mining town from the 1800s. In 1865, Hector Horton discovered silver in the area and in the autumn of 1872, the Granite mine was discovered by a prospector named Holland. The mine was relocated in 1875.

image2 (6)
IMG_5965

Download Campsite Map

IMG_5966

Download Park Map

IMG_5970

Watch Park Videos

IMG_5964

Download Brochure

To keep in mind before your visit...

Permits are required for some activities.

Prepare for a steep and windy drive to Granite from Phillipsburg. The road gains 1,280 feet in elevation and you may need to pull over for oncoming traffic, but you’ll have a beautiful view!

Only a few buildings still remain, but the main street of Granite was once bustling with saloons, a newspaper office, rooming houses, and restaurants. The state park preserves the Granite Mine Superintendent’s house and the ruins of the old miners’ Union Hall, both of which are included in the Historic American Buildings Survey. 

Be sure to take some time to hike the web of trails that lead to old homes and other ruins in the area while you’re here!

This is one of the best ghost camps in all of Montana. At one point the Granite mine was the richest silver mine on the earth, and it might never have been discovered if a telegram from the east hadn't been delayed. The mine's backers thought the venture was hopeless and ordered an end to its operation, but the last blast, on the last shift uncovered a bonanza, which yielded $40,000,000 in silver.

In the silver panic of 1893, word came to shut the mine down. The mine was deserted for three years, never again would it reach the population it once had of over 3,000 miners.
Today there is no one living in the camp. The shell of the Miners' Union Hall still stands. The roof supports have caved to the bottom floor, the third-floor dance hall, second-floor union offices, and ground-floor saloon/cafe are about to collapse together. The company hospital still stands.

DID-YOU-KNOW-mtstateparks

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

"Follow Granite Road which leads directly to the park. There is a sign on Granite Road where you need to turn that says "Granite Road, Ghost Town 4 Miles". Follow that sign and you're on the right path. The road is rough, but a car can make it if you drive carefully. Plenty of one lane areas where two vehicles can not pass.

"I really enjoy spending the day in the mountains. Seeing an old mining ghost town was a big bonus."

"Very cool late 19th century mining town. Lots of stone foundations and a couple buildings still almost intact. The inginuity of our forefathers as well as the massive amount of labor displayed around this old mine is impressive. The taling piles are gargantuan and the mill foundation looks like some old building in Europe."

"Took my hubby and dog on an adventure to this incredible piece of history! We went on a snowy, cold autumn day but it was so worth it! There are some building still standing, many that are only partial, but a lot of neat mining history, and the granite ghost walk trail is great and takes you through just about everything there is to see. The road up is a bit rough, but cars can make it. Overall, it was awesome to explore a bit of Montana history from 200 years ago and to see what is still standing."

 

Untitled
  • pine icon

    Park

    • Season 5/1 - 9/30 
    • Daylight Hours Only
    • Reservations Not Accepted

  • pine icon

    Location

    347 Granite Road Phillipsburg, MT 59858

Elkhorn State Park 3

Elkhorn State Park

Elkhorn State Park

Elkhorn State Park

Traveling along gravel secondary roads outside of Boulder, you’ll find the once thriving town of Elkhorn, now one of the smallest state parks in the state.

 

 

38861583872667137
IMG_5965

Download Campsite Map

IMG_5966

Download Park Map

IMG_5970

Watch Park Videos

IMG_5964

Download Brochure

These roads take you through a 19th-century mining landscape before you reach historic Fraternity Hall and Gillian Hall nestled within the privately-owned town of Elkhorn. Bring your camera to record these two picturesque structures from the late 1800's silver-mining ghost town, preserved as outstanding examples of frontier architecture. Each has been recorded in the Historic American Buildings Survey.

Three-quarters of a mile up the main road that runs through town (just outside of the state park property) lies the town cemetery where visitors can see the tombstone of Swiss miner Peter Wys who originally discovered the silver veins in the Elkhorn Mine!

Rich with mineral deposits (including silver), the Boulder Batholith originally drew settlers to the area and led to the establishment of Elkhorn in 1868, now a silver-mining ghost town. The 1880s and 1890s were the most populous times for Elkhorn, drawing around 2,500 residents at its peak, but after the Silver Crash of 1893, the town saw a drop of 75 percent of its population in just two months. In total, the Elkhorn Mine yielded about $14 million in silver.

DID-YOU-KNOW-mtstateparks

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

"Beautiful Town! Really neat old ghost town and mining artifacts. There are only a few buildings you can go into, but lots of history around town! The wood water tower has be repaired. I highly recommend checking out the cemetery, pretty sad story. Plenty of parking all over."

"Ghost town with sad cemetary interesting ghost town with private homes located around the buildings. There are two buildings in restored condition and other buildings scattered throughout untouched. Went further afield to the cemetery located on the hillside. Sad, unkempt and scattered tombs and plaques tell the story of the deaths of children during an epidemic."

"Lots of interesting old Stone and wood buildings give you a taste of the town that must have been grand. Check out the historic and protected Fraternity Hall. Be sure to walk up the hill to the cemetery. Monuments range from grand to crumbling wooden markers. Especially poignant are the many, many graves of children who died in the 1888-9 diphtheria epidemic."

"It still remains as one of the most well-preserved buildings in the town. Later, Elkhorn's prosperity wanted as the demand for silver decreased. When railroad service to Elkhorn was halted, most of the inhabitants left. Today, Elkhorn is a Montana State Park."

 

Untitled
  • pine icon

    Park

    Open Year-Round, Pack-In/Pack-Out

  • pine icon

    Location

    812 Elkhorn Street Elkhorn, MT

Clark's Lookout State Park 4

Clark’s Lookout State Park

Clark's Lookout State Park

Clark’s Lookout State Park

Clark's Lookout State Park is located one mile north of Dillon, above the Beaverhead River.

Established December 23, 1985, Clark's Lookout is set along the historic Lewis and Clark trail.

76621576717583048 (1)
IMG_5965

Download Campsite Map

IMG_5966

Download Park Map

IMG_5970

Watch Park Videos

IMG_5964

Download Brochure

Looking to camp?

On August 13, 1805, Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery found what is now Clark’s Lookout State Park. Having traveled from the headwaters of the Missouri River and up the Jefferson River to continue their search for a passage to the Pacific Ocean, they found instead an incredible view.

The view from the top of the hill provided Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery with a view of what lay ahead. And William Clark worked to explore and document the hill overlooking the Beaverhead River.

  • Take a walk to the monument and gaze out over the land once surveyed by William Clark.
  • Have a picnic at the perfectly located picnic area.
  • Take a hike through the rest of the 7.23 acres via hiking trails with interpretive signs.
  • Cultural and Heritage information provided on site.
  • Check out all of the local wildlife including bird watching.
  • Photographic opportunities abound.
  • Plus so many more!

Interpretive signs help to explain the navigational methods used by the Corps of Discovery.

A short hike to the top of the lookout provides an incredible view of the Beaverhead Valley.

You’ll also find a granite monument shaped like a compass which displays the three compass readings Clark took in 1805! The compass monument’s design came from a small pocket compass Clark carried during the expedition!

DID-YOU-KNOW-mtstateparks

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

"Fun! I love history. Didn't know this was there until we drove by."

"Great place to stop for a walk and see a historic sight."

"Picturesque views."

"Nice place to stop for a short walk up a path to some beautiful views."

 

Untitled
  • pine icon

    Park

    May 1 - October 31 Open 8 am to dusk

    November 1 - April 30 Winter gate closure in effect, walk-in access only.

  • pine icon

    Location

    25 Clark’s Lookout Road
    Dillon, MT 59725 Park

Parks That Others Are Visiting

Beaverhead Rock Hero

Beaverhead Rock State Park

Beaverhead Rock State Park

Beaverhead Rock State Park

Beaverhead Rock can be viewed and photographed from a distance, but cannot be directly accessed.

There are two great locations to best see the rock formation, though. The first is 14 miles south of Twin Bridges on Highway 41 where a pull-off has informational signs and an interesting bird sculpture.

The second location is from another Montana State Park, Clark’s Lookout State Park in Dillon.

Beaverhead Rock, also known as Point of Rocks, is a rock formation overlooking the Beaverhead River and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

65601581469591438
IMG_5965

Download Campsite Map

IMG_5966

Download Park Map

IMG_5970

Watch Park Videos

IMG_5964

Download Brochure

Sacagawea, a young Shoshone Indian guide traveling with the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805, recognized this rock formation and knew that she may be in the vicinity of her relatives. The sighting gave the expedition hope that they may be able to find Native peoples from which to acquire horses for their trip across the mountains to the Pacific Ocean.

Meriwether Lewis, August 8, 1805 wrote: "The Indian woman recognized the point of a high plain to our right which she informed us was not very distant from the summer retreat of her nation on a river beyond the mountains which runs to the west. This hill she says her nation calls the beaver's head from a conceived resemblance of its figure to the head of that animal. She assures us that we shall either find her people on this river or on the river immediately west of its source; which from its present size cannot be very distant."

DID-YOU-KNOW-mtstateparks

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

"It is relatively unchanged since Lewis and Clark described it, in spite of attempts to do so"

"Beautiful wetlands and good fishing nearby!"

"So much fun and it's pretty."

"Beautiful!"

 

Untitled
  • pine icon

    Park

    Open Year-Round

  • pine icon

    Location

    62 Beaverhead Rock Road Twin Bridges, MT 59754

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.

bannack-state-park
IMG_5965

Download Campsite Map

IMG_5966

Download Park Map

IMG_5970

Watch Park Videos

IMG_5964

Download Brochure

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.

DID-YOU-KNOW-mtstateparks

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."

 

Designation

"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."

Untitled
  • pine icon

    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.

  • pine icon

    Campground

    Open all year.

  • pine icon

    Potable Water

    Available summer season.

  • pine icon

    Visitor Center

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

  • pine icon

    Location

    721 Bannack Rd Dillon, MT

Parks That Others Are Visiting

Anaconda Smelter Stack State Park 1

Anaconda Smoke Stack State Park

Anaconda Smoke Stack State Park

Anaconda Smoke Stack State Park

Anaconda Smoke Stack State Park is located off of I-90, 24 miles from Butte, MT.

Situated on top on a hillside of the Anaconda Pintler Mountain Range foothills, you can see this state park from miles around.

As a monument to the nation's period of industrialism, particularly when viewed in conjunction with Butte’s Berkely Pit, it immortalizes the scale of the mining that once dominated and influenced this part of Montana.

anaconda-smoke-stack-state-park
IMG_5965

Download Campsite Map

IMG_5966

Download Park Map

IMG_5970

Watch Park Videos

IMG_5964

Download Brochure

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the smelter closed in 1980.  In 1983, the stack, the smelter, and the other buildings nearby were listed as a Superfund cleanup site.  Efforts to clean up contaminated soils, structures, and other mine debris began in the 1980s and are ongoing.  In order to protect the public and limit their liability, the Atlantic Richfield Company closed the area around the stack and public visitation is allowed only during officially organized tours or events.

Much like the smelter and other buildings that used to be located on Smelter Hill nearby, the smokestack was likely to be demolished as part of the Superfund cleanup efforts.  A group of longtime Anaconda residents formed the "Anacondans To Preserve The Stack" committee.  Their efforts led to the preservation of the big stack and they continue to work to find ways to preserve the stack and make it accessible to the public.  Today visitors can view and photograph the stack from a distance.

Interpretive signs describing the history of the stack are located in the viewing site near Goodman Park. 

Montana Public Radio produced a great story about the Anaconda Smoke Stack for its 100th anniversary in August of 2018.  You can listen to and read that story here.

 

The Anaconda Smoke Stack is taller than the Washington Monument by 30 feet. In fact, the Washington Monument would easily fit inside this smokestack.

DID-YOU-KNOW-mtstateparks

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

"Cool town to drive through. Tower is visible for miles from Highway..so we had to check it out on drive back through."

"Worth the stop. Very well done."

"Nicely done. Very interesting, worth a look and reading about the stack."

"Great History of Anaconda and Butte when Mining was heavy in this area, Learned a lot more than I knew. Definitely worth visiting Anaconda area."

 

Designation

"The very essence of what the town of Anaconda was and is! Great interpretive signs and a mock circumference of the stack showing you just how big it really is! Must see"

Parks That Others Are Visiting