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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

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

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!

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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. 

The park offers two tours: The Classic Tour which visits the majority of the developed cave but is physically challenging, and The Paradise tour that 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.

The tours are first come, first served.

Tickets are limited.

Get in touch with the park for more information. 

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.

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

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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!"

 

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    Park

    Open Year-Round

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    Campground

    Open

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    Water

    Available May 2 - Sept 30.

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    Showers & Comfort Station

    Available May 2 - Sept 30

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    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.

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    Location

    25 Lewis and Clark Caverns Rd. Whitehall, MT 59759

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

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​

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

Brush Lake State Park

Brush Lake State Park

Brush Lake State Park

Brush Lake State Park

Brush Lake State Park is the only state park in the northeast corner of Montana.

Brush Lake is a deep lake (65 feet) in a closed basin and the site of National Science Foundation research on climate change. The lake boasts 45 feet of sediments showcasing 10,000 years of pollen and mineral depositing helping to tell the story of climate, and its changes, since the Ice Age.

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Looking to camp?

Brush Lake State Park is 280-acres and its water quality is theorized to be more ocean-like than freshwater like - making it an ideal swimming location in the summer months. Both deep and incredibly clear, Brush Lake’s beaches are surrounded by grass fields and spring wheat during the summer.

  • Hoping to camp? You can do so in one of the 12 campsites!
  • Take a hike and go bird watching along the shore.
  • Public swimming access is on the northeast part of the lake where the day-use area is also located.
  • Utilize the boat launch and take your boat, canoe or kayak out for a day on the water.
  • Have a picnic on the beach!
  • Plus so much more!

Due to its close proximity to Canada, during Prohibition liquor was easy to come by and kept the Brush Lake Summer Resort in business. There was also a dance hall! After the Prohibition era, church and scout groups used the lake, but in the years before it became a state park, Brush Lake wasn’t the popular destination it once had been. Today the area where the dance hall once stood on the south side of the lake, is now privately held.

In Eastern Montana, it is not uncommon to see the Aurora Borealis during solar events, especially during the fall and winter. Brush Lake's northern latitude and remote location make it a "stellar" destination for your next stargazing or northern lights viewing adventure. As a dark sky location, Brush Lake is guaranteed to bring some of the best night sky views in the area.

Because of the high alkali content, Brush Lake does not support a significant fish population. But in contrast, it showcases a distinctive aquamarine blue color. The lake attracts many varieties of birds including various species of ducks, gulls, and many others. Brush Lake has become a great location for bird watchers worldwide.

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

"Just on weekdays enjoy the beauty of this lake! I liked when you reach there no network service so really enjoy your time , clean water nice for swimming and have fun with kids."

"Lake was nice and clean."

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    Day Use

    7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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    Campground

    Open May 1 - November 1

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    Location

    1733 Brush Lake Road
    Dagmar, MT 59219

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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