Campsite

Yellowstone River

Yellowstone River State Park

Yellowstone River State Park

Yellowstone River State Park

Yellowstone River State Park is just over 200 acres of what used to be the Circle R Ranch, which was purchased by FWP in 2008. Sandstone bluffs, pasturelands, and groves of cottonwood trees surround this unique park.

Unlike many state parks across Montana, you won't find many amenities or visitor information kiosks. This undeveloped park is adjacent to Wildlife Management Areas and BLM property, which allows users to experience solitude and quiet only miles from Montana's largest city, Billings.

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Looking for things to do?

There are many opportunities for recreation along the Yellowstone River.

Gravel along the river from Custer to Sidney often yields Montana agates (inquire locally or through the Custer Country tourism region for guide services or rockhounding tips).

Fishing and floating are two other favorite activities on the Yellowstone. Badlands scenery is abundant in Terry or Makoshika State Park (in Glendive, MT), where you can drive to view impressive rock formations.

The site contains 3,976 deeded acres and includes 5 miles of wooded Yellowstone River shoreline. The acquisition also secured for the public use of 5,450 acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and state land that had been difficult to access.

Currently undeveloped, the park provides an ideal spot for hiking the day away. Sandstone bluffs overlook the Yellowstone River while deep canyons and ponderosa pine-lined coulees dot the landscape.

The area provides habitat for mourning doves, meadowlarks, mallards, Canada geese, wild turkeys, pheasants, sage grouse, sharptailed grouse, Hungarian partridge, mule deer, whitetail deer, pronghorn antelope, and even an occasional elk.

The Yellowstone is the last free-flowing river in the lower 48 states. From its headwaters in Lake Yellowstone downstream 670 miles to the Missouri River in North Dakota, the Yellowstone River flows as it has for centuries, in its natural state, undammed and untamed.

Clear, cool, swift and challenging it offers fishermen and river runners some of the best water Montana has to offer.

To fishermen, its blue-ribbon waters are known world round for an abundance of big trout. As it flows through Montana, the big river goes through many changes - from steep-walled canyons where boulders churn its green waters to the eastern part of the state where the river broadens to take a lazy path through fertile farm country.

There are many opportunities for recreation along the Yellowstone River.

 

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

"Beautiful, spacious, peaceful and fun!"

"It's beautiful here & I heard the fishing is good."

"The only state park in the middle of MT. Nice cottonwoods surround good size lake. Camp spots on the far side are more private and shaded in the afternoon. Beautiful prairie views."

 

"It is a fun place to hang out for the weekend. Great for fishing year-round."

 

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    Park

    Open Year-Round

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    Location

    989 Ackley Lake Road Hobson, MT 59452

Smith River State Park

Smith River State Park

Smith River State Park

Smith River State Park

The Smith River is mostly known for being a wonderful 59-mile long river full of natural beauty, with great boating, fishing, and photographic opportunities.

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Looking to float?

Permits to float the river are highly sought after and distributed through a lottery system similar to hunting licenses for certain big game species in Montana.
The due date for permit applications is February 13th! Its the perfect Valentine's day gift for that river loving partner of yours!

If you weren't lucky enough to win a permit during the annual lottery system, you can still enjoy the Smith River by visiting Camp Baker west of White Sulphur Springs or Eden Bridge 59 miles downriver and just short drive south of Great Falls.

At Camp Baker, you'll find a campground with primitive campsites, latrine facilities, and a busy boat ramp for the lucky folks who won launch permits.

After the floating parties have launched for the day Camp Baker becomes quiet for a few hours and visitors will enjoy great access for fishing, birdwatching, and even swimming in the summer months.

At the other end of the park is Eden Bridge, the normal take out for Smith River float trips. Eden Bridge is a minimally developed day-use site with latrine facilities, a boat ramp, and day-use access to the river.

While there are few amenities at Eden Bridge, it does make for a nice day trip destination from Great Falls where visitors have a chance to spend time on the banks of one of Montana's most iconic waterways. The float season varies widely depending on snow-pack, rainfall and the amount and timing of irrigation.

The “typical” float season runs from mid-April through mid-July, with occasional floating opportunities in September and October.

Many find Smith River State Park a place of peace because a permit is required to float the Smith River. This permit requirement means visitors can expect to have a quality, multi-day float with relative solitude and excellent trout fishing opportunities.

Of course, you don't need a permit to access the campground and enjoy all the natural splendor of the area.

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

"Lots of fun things to see and imagine. Have fun exploring, we did."

"My favorite vacation to date."

"The trip was absolutely perfect for our honeymoon! Protect the Smith!"

"Luckily we can still do this, best therapy around!"

 

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    Park

    Open Year-Round

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    Location

    791 Clear Range Road White Sulpher Springs, MT 59645

Thompson Chain of Lakes State Park

Thompson Chain of Lakes State Park

Thompson Chain of Lakes State Park

Thompson Chain of Lakes State Park

Thompson Chain of Lakes State Park covers approximately 3,000 acres and stretches over 20 miles along Highway 2, halfway between Kalispell and Libby.

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

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Looking for water access?

This extensive park includes shoreline access to 18 lakes including McGregor Lake, Little McGregor Lake, Lower Thompson Lake, Middle Thompson Lake, Upper Thompson Lake, Horseshoe Lake and Loon Lake.

There are 83 standard campsites and 8 group campsites, all of which require a fee for overnight camping. Sites are rustic; there is no drinking water available.  Please remember, these campgrounds are currently closed and will reopen when health officials have determined it is safe to do so.

Concrete boat ramps are located at Little McGregor Lake, Boisverts on McGregor Lake, the Peninsula on Lower Thompson Lake, Upper Thompson Lake, Horseshoe Lake and Loon Lake.

Roads are primitive and not recommended for motor homes and large trailers.

However, the 37 developed campsites at Logan State Park, located on Middle Thompson Lake, are suitable for large camping units.

Visitors enjoy swimming, boating, camping, and water skiing, and the lakes are especially noted for great fishing.

Local fish include black crappie, brook trout, lake trout, northern pike, rainbow trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, kokanee salmon, westslope cutthroat trout and yellow perch.

Thompson Chain of Lakes State Park also offers some of the most outstanding opportunities for wildlife viewing in northwest Montana.

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

"It's an amazingly beautiful place to be out in the water. So clear you can see the bottom."

"Very pretty and fun to explore on a kayak!"

"Love the nice small lakes, great for paddle board or kayak. Did not camp but would be great place to do that. Area is well maintained."

"These lakes are renown for fishing, swimming and water sports. There are plenty of camp sites around the lakes, including Logan State Park - which has a boat launch and public beach perfect for picnic lunches and swimming for even young kids."

 

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    Park

    Open Year-Round

    Roads are not maintained during winter months.

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    Camping 

    Gates for campsite pods at Lower, Middle and Upper Thompson are closed 11/30/19 and tentatively reopen 4/26/20.

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    Location

    78854 US Hwy 2 Libby, MT 59923

West Shore State Park 2

West Shore State Park

West Shore State Park

West Shore State Park

West Shore State Park is located just outside of Lakeside, MT and is open year-round!

There, you will find glacially-carved rock outcrops within the park where you’ll have incredible views of Flathead Lake and the Mission and Swan Mountains Ranges.

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Looking to hike?

All of the hiking trails at the park are single-track dirt trails that range from steep and laborious to gradual, contoured and easy-going. Pets are welcome on a leash.

West Shore has a dock so long that boats can use it year-round (including winter!) when the lake is low. Experience the tranquil atmosphere while camping in a forest of fir, pine and larch above Flathead Lake.

There are 31 campsites available with seven being tent only. If you plan to bring your RV or trailer, make sure it’s no more than 40 feet.

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    Take in the unique topography of West Shore State Park on 4 miles of hiking trails along the rocky shoreline.

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    Bring your joint state/tribal fishing license and take your shot at catching dinner from the lake!

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    Spend a day on the lake and rent a kayak or canoe from Sea Me Paddle in Lakeside or at the Park during the summer.

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    Enjoy the beach and then cool off with a dip in chilly Flathead Lake.

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    Check out the local wildlife, including great birdwatching!

West Shore has a dock so long that boats can use it year-round (including winter!) when the lake is low. Experience the tranquil atmosphere while camping in a forest of fir, pine and larch above Flathead Lake.

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

"We just stopped here to relax a bit. The park is in a nice forest with lake access. There is also a small trail inside the park which leads to a nice vista point."

"This Lake brings back so many childhood memories there is a single spot of this like that I don't love!"

"Good trails. Beautiful shore line. Camping spots look good, not too close together."

"SO pretty!!! I just want to LIVE here!"

 

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    Park

    Open Year-Round

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    Campground 

    Open May-October

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    Additional Information 

    Electricity at Campsites Until 11/1
    Potable Water Available Until 10/1

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    Location

    17768 MT Hwy 93 Lakeside, MT 59922

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

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

Finley Point State Park 1

Finley Point State Park

Finley Point State Park

Finley Point State Park

Located on a narrow point on the south side of Flathead Lake, Finley Point is an ideal park for boaters and RV campers.

Finley Point is one of Montana's oldest state parks and has been open to the public since July 12th, 1965. The park is known as an excellent fishing location for Lake Trout and Kokanee Salmon. Anglers should note that state and tribal fishing licenses are required for fishing in the area.

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Looking to boat?

Boaters can rent a slip in the marina, some of which offer electric and water hookups for those camping on their boats. Along with the camping slips, the marina also offers 12 boat slips without electricity.

Camping, boating, and other visitor facilities at Finley Point State Park were recently rebuilt or expanded by WGM Group of Missoula, MT.

The new park layout and expanded facilities allow for more visitors to enjoy the park without feeling crowded and reducing impacts on sensitive lakeshore habitat.

Thinking of camping? Finley Point offers 18 RV campsites, seven tent sites and four boat camping slips. Maximum RV length will vary by campsite, so be sure to check out the ReserveAmerica website for additional details. 

MT State Parks Rangers frequently host interpretive storytelling and other special events at the park.  These programs usually take place in the evening and are free to registered campers at the park.  

While in close proximity to Polson and very busy during the summer months, Finley Point’s mature conifer forest helps the campground feel secluded. 

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

"One simple word “AMAZING!” We love Finely Point!!"

"Beautiful scenic area, even if it's for a quick stop on your road trip. There was also an amazing massive field of pinkish flowers just on the north end of it when we were there!"

"The site was amazing!! It had amazing views right on the shore."

"Nice sites and many close to the water. Trees, nice base for tents. Dogs ok"

 

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    Park

    Open May 1 to September 30

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    Campground

    Open May 1 to September 30

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    Location

    31453 S. Finley Point Rd. Finley Pt., MT 59806

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

Big Arm State Park

Big Arm State Park

Big Arm State Park

Big Arm State Park is located on the western shore of Flathead Lake and less than 20 minutes outside of Polson, MT.

Flathead is the largest natural freshwater lake in the western United States. Twenty-eight miles long and 15 miles wide, Flathead Lake is renowned for its beauty.

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?

The park has both flush and vault toilets, tent/RV sites, bear-resistant storage lockers, boat trailer parking, sheltered picnic tables, drinking water, grills/fire rings, firewood, picnic tables, trash cans, and coin-operated showers. RV/trailer size is limited to 30 feet in the 41 site campground. 

There are also seven tent-only campsites available. Big Arm has also added two yurts, including one that is entirely ADA accessible. Plans for more yurts, cabins, and other accommodations are in the works. 

You will need a joint state/tribal for fishing license or fishing at this park and campers may stay only 14 days during a 30-day period. Pets are required to be on leashes. Fees are charged for day use and camping.

  • Lounge on the long pebble beach or take a dip in the lake to cool off.
  • Come prepared with your joint state/tribal fishing license if you want to try and catch a big one!
  • Take a scenic hike on the trail, which provides outstanding views of the mountains.
  • Catch a glimpse of wildlife including birds, deer, and even a bear from time to time
  • Spend a day on the lake boating, skiing or wakeboarding
  • Experience a feeling of tranquility while camping under a collection of mature ponderosa pine and juniper trees
  • Plus so many more!
  • Open April through October
  • Day-Use Area Open Year-Round
  • 217 acres
  • ADA Accessible 
  • Pets Allowed
  • Toilets (Vault & Flush)
  • Water
  • Yurt 
  • Firewood for Sale 
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Boat Launch

On Flathead Lake's Big Arm Bay, this park is a popular destination for camping, swimming, fishing, picnicking, and as a jump-off point to Wild Horse Island.

Big Arm's pebble beach is a popular place to get your feet wet or take a swim in the lake.

Mature pine and fir trees surround the campsites at the park. Other activities at the park include fishing for lake trout, boating, fishing, swimming, camping, picnicking, bicycling, hiking the park trails, wildlife viewing, scuba diving, and water-skiing.

The water in Ackley Lake comes from the Judith River and is stockpiled for irrigation use!

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

"Wonderful camp grounds. Nice hosts, clean restrooms - overall well run and managed. It's a fantastic place to camp and play on the lake."

"Camped here with our boat. It was perfect! Great roomy sites and lots of shade. Yurt was very clean and bathrooms were better than most campsites we've been too."

"Big Arm campsite is super nice for fishing and swimming. Would 100% recommend it!"

"Beautiful place. Clear lake. Friendly people"

 

Parks That Others Are Visiting

Ackley Lake State Park 2

Ackley Lake State Park

Ackley Lake State Park

Ackley Lake State Park

Just southwest of Hobson, you’ll find Ackley Lake State Park. Surrounded by the Little Belt and Snowy Mountains, Ackley Lake is an incredibly beautiful destination.

Ackley Lake is nestled right in the heart of Montana's Big Sky Country. One glimpse and you'll easily understand how the beautiful views of the surrounding Little Belt and Snowy Mountains and rich agricultural land captured the heart of the legendary Western artist, Charlie Russell, a hundred years ago.

Today, the diverse water recreation opportunities at this 290-acre park include fishing, boating, picnicking and camping.

Stocked with rainbow trout, the lake is often good angling for 10 to 15-inch fish. Ackley Lake has 15 first-come-first-served campsites (cannot be reserved), and two boat launches.

On a warm summer day, enjoy the cool waters of Ackley Lake on Montana's open plains!

If you visit Ackley State Park in the winter, you’ll find a small village of ice huts filled with ice fishers!

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Looking to camp?

Ackley Lake has 15 sites all of which have fire rings and picnic tables, 12 sites also have shelters covering the picnic tables!

New campsites will be opening very soon!

The Ackley Lake Fishing Club in Lewistown is very active in the park. Check them out on their Facebook page.

Yogo Sapphire mine is nearby in Little Belt Mountains. The Yogo Sapphire is a beautiful blue sapphire that maintains it's brilliance even under artificial light. You can find out more about them on Wikipedia.

Visiting the area? The Oxen Yoke Inn, in nearby Utica serves one of the best burgers in the state. Read more about it here!

The water in Ackley Lake comes from the Judith River and is stockpiled for irrigation use!

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

"Beautiful, spacious, peaceful and fun!"

"It's beautiful here & I heard the fishing is good."

"The only state park in the middle of MT. Nice cottonwoods surround good size lake. Camp spots on the far side are more private and shaded in the afternoon. Beautiful prairie views."

 

"It is a fun place to hang out for the weekend. Great for fishing year-round."

 

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    Park

    Open Year-Round

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    Location

    989 Ackley Lake Road Hobson, MT 59452