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Spring Meadow Lake State Park 3

Spring Meadow Lake State Park

Spring Meadow Lake State Park

Spring Meadow Lake State Park

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

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Looking for wildlife?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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    Park

    Open 6 am to 10 pm

    Year-Round

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    Location

    2715 Country Club Drive Helena, MT 59601

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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

Yellow Bay State Park

Yellow Bay State Park

Yellow Bay State Park

One of the six state parks located on Flathead Lake, Yellow Bay is an excellent destination for tent campers!

To get there, visitors will take a drive along the beautiful, winding MT HWY 35 amidst cherry, pear and apple orchards.

As you pass through, remember to stop and explore the local orchards. They offer fresh fruit as well as guided tours!

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Looking to camp?

Regardless of the water level, boaters usually have no problems putting their boats in at Yellow Bay due to the steepness of its ramp. There are 5 tent campsites, and they are first-come, first-served, so be sure to arrive early to claim your spot!

Yellow Bay Creek flows through the park near the campsites, providing a peaceful sound of cascading water to fall asleep to.
The University of Montana has a renowned Biological station there.

They are the second oldest biological field station in the US and the oldest west of the Mississippi River. They have one of the oldest, contiguous lake data sets in the world.

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    Be on the lookout for birds and plentiful wildlife.

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    Spend a day on the open water boating, canoeing, kayaking or water skiing.

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    A joint tribal/state license will allow you to fish for lake trout.

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    Take a dip in the chilly water.

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    Take a look at what’s under the surface of the water and go scuba diving.

They are currently building an erosion-resistant beach on their portion of the property. They also offer regular community and family activities year round.

Don’t forget to grab fresh fruit from roadside stands or go picking at an orchard during the summer months!

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

"Nice small park tucked away from the heavy traffic of some of the larger parks. Spacious boat launch and a large area to let your water dogs enjoy the lake. Lots of picnic tables- sun and shade. Free day use for Montana residents."

"Clean and cute campground with a camp host and lake access. Plenty of picnic tables and a picnic shelter. Bathroom was clean and stocked with TP and soap."

"Very nice park facing south. We had sun all day. Park Host was very helpful and doing a great job of keeping up with the park. Restrooms had running water and they were clean! No showers but was a hose to wash off after swimming, a must in late summer when swimmers itches is more common. No kids toys but water, rocks, small creek, plenty to do. Enjoyed it very much!"

"Best campground at the lake's shore. Good boat ramp and plenty room to tie boats to shore."

 

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    Park

    Open Year-Round

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    Campground 

    Tent Camping Only.
    Not maintained for winter use.

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    Additional Information

    Water available mid-May to Labor Day.
    Dock available mid-March through November.
    A joint state/tribal fishing license is required at this park.

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    Location

    23861 MT HWY 35 Bigfork, MT 59911

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Whitefish Lake State Park

Whitefish Lake State Park

Whitefish Lake State Park

A quick drive, walk, or bike ride from downtown Whitefish, you’ll find Whitefish Lake State Park or just State Park as the locals call it. Part of the Whitefish hiking and biking trail system, this park has something for everyone!

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Looking to camp?

Whitefish Lake is host to 25 campsites made up of a mix of tent only, bike travel, and RV camping. You’re sure to find what you need if you plan to stay a night or two!

Many of the campsites here have a secluded feeling as they’re divided by tall trees. If you plan to bring in your RV or trailer, be aware that RV/trailer length is limited to 40 feet.

Kids love watching trains move just along the park’s edge near the campground!

A new hike and bike campsite is perfect for cyclists traveling along the Great Divide route!

The lake is rarely windy making is the perfect destination for water-skiing and other water activities!

Stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, and pedal boats are available to rent June 15-Labor Day from Sea Me Paddle Kayaking Tours, Inc. Be sure to call ahead as hours of operation vary! You can reach them at 406-249-1153.

While the shallow water at the beach isn’t known for swimming, your four-legged friend will love the designated swimming area for dogs!

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

"Clean and well organized. Park rangers enforce the law properly"

"Nice clean campground. Friendly hosts. Easy access to lake. Perfect for swimming and for the pups. Decent public restrooms"

"Great little camp ground with a dog exercise/swimming area, huge beachfront picnic area, boat launch, with spacious, semi-private campsites. The best part though was the helpful, friendly staff! We'll be back! Also, very close to the Whitefish Trail system, some of the best mountain biking/hiking in the Northwest!"

"Really nice quiet place with amazing views of big mountain."

 

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    Park

    Gates Open April - November

    Gates Closed December - April

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    Campground

    Lower Loop 

    Open through November

    Upper Loop

    Open through September

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    Location

    1615 W Lakeshore Whitefish, MT 59937

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

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Travelers’ Rest State Park

Traveler's Rest State Park

Travelers’ Rest State Park

Both a state park and a National Historic Landmark, Travelers’ Rest is filled with historical significance. In 2001 the land that Travelers’ Rest State Park resides on was donated to the State of Montana.

After an archeological investigation in 2002, it was discovered that this location was used as a campsite by Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery on two occasions, first from September 9-11 in 1805 and then again the year after from June 30-July 3 in 1806.

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Interested in the history of the park?

During the archeological investigation of the site, archeologists discovered a trench latrine tainted with mercury (a common prescription for many ailments used by the Corps of Discovery), hearths and traces of lead (used in the repair and making of firearms).

The way the camp was set up also led the archeologists to believe that this was the campsite of the Corps of Discovery. The placement of the hearths, latrines and other aspects of the camp were taken from a military manual Lewis & Clark were known to have relied on.

The trace elements in the lead found at the campsite were traced back to elements in Kentucky where Lewis & Clark would have likely gotten their lead! The items found paired with the setup of the camp allowed investigators to come to the conclusion that this was, indeed, the campsite of Lewis & Clark.

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    The park may be called Travelers’ Rest, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be active! Take a hike along Lolo Creek.

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    Learn more about Native American culture from Native storytellers who bring their history and culture to all as part of the programming at Travelers’ Rest.

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    Western Montana is a great place to fish and Travelers’ Rest is no exception! Try your hand at stream or fly fishing in Lolo Creek.

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    History buff? Spend some time in the museum where you’ll find Lewis & Clark Expedition replicas, Salish cultural exhibits, Native American handcrafts, a frontier Main Street and much more!

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    Have a large group? There is a pavilion available to rent! Simply contact the park to make a reservation. Phone: 406-273-4253 Email: [email protected]

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    Looking to enjoy the wildlife? Go bird watching to see how many of the 115 recorded species you can find!

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    Plus so much more!

Travelers’ Rest was also used by Native American tribes in the area. The Salish, Pend d’Oreille and Nez Perce used the area as a campsite and trail junction.

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

"Wonderful state park with great historical significance regarding Lewis and Clark journey of discovery and marvelous natural beauty. If you are near, do not miss this delightful park. Make time for the informatics museum and fun short hikes. I look forward to coming back."

"The kids were brought out here every year by their school, it was always fun and informative of the days gone by. They have Lewis and Clark artifacts that were found on-site for viewing and then some things, just from the era, both give you a nice perspective of how things used to be. The kids and I live close so it's always just a nice place to come hike around check out the creek. It's a great place also for taking photos. I've taken a lot of family photos in this area for people."

"If you're traveling through it's pretty cool place to stop and get educated on the Lewis and Clark travels."

"Great historical park of Lewis and Clark and native Indian camp. Go and walk their trails and learn about their camp. The exhibit at the travelers rest museum is excellent to see their tools, camp life, cooking, wild edibles, and friends. Our family was here for an afternoon and really enjoyed the experience. "

 

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    Park

    Open Year-Round Daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Closed Thanksgiving Day & December 25

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    Visitor Center 

    Winter Hours September 4 - May 1: Wednesday - Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    Closed Thanksgiving Day, November 25, December 24 & 25 and January 1

    Summer Hours May 2 - September 2: Open Daily 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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    Location

    6717 Highway 12 W Lolo, MT 59847

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

Makoshika

Makoshika State Park

Makoshika State Park

Makoshika State Park

Makoshika State Park features spectacular badland formations and the remains of the infamous Tyrannosaurus Rex, as well as other amazing dino fossils.

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Looking to dig for fossils?

The park offers special events throughout the year, including Montana Shakespeare in the Park, Friday night campfire programs and youth programs in summer, and the famous Buzzard Day festival, the second Saturday in June, featuring 10k & 5k races and a fun run, Native American singers & drummers, jumping house, food, disc golf tournament, hikes and more!

Visitors are asked not to bring metal detectors, and no digging, collecting or removal of artifacts is allowed.

Included within the park are an archery site, scenic drives, hiking trails, 28 camping sites, a group picnic area, and an outdoor amphitheater.

The visitor center at the park entrance has interpretive exhibits that are great for kids.

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

"Really cool rock features. Very easy hikes to see amazing views."

"Never a disappointment. I LOVE Makoshika park. I always stop by to visit the ranger's in the gift shop. They are all so very welcoming."

"The scenic overlooks are awesome. Some of the trails are slightly treacherous. Bring water on your walks. The staff are friendly and helpful. The visitor center has some very cool displays of the archeological finds from the area."

"We loved this park. Great views and hiking- decent privacy for spots even though there aren’t really trees to separate the sites. Lots of things to do nearby since it’s so close to town! Wish we had time to take a longer visit and hike more of the trails! Watch out for cacti!"

 

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    Park

    Open all year
    Open daily 7 am to 10 pm Water available year round

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    Campground 

    Open year round

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    Visitor Center

    Winter Hours 3rd Monday of Sept – 3rd Thursday of May: Open Wed - Sun, 10 am - 5 pm.

    Summer Hours 3rd Friday of May – 3rd Sunday of Sept:
    Open daily, 10 am - 5 pm.

    Closed all federal and state holidays except Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day.

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    Location

    1301 Snyder Avenue Glendive, MT 59330

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Lone Pine State Park

Lone Pine State Park

Lone Pine State Park

Located just outside of the city of Kalispell to the southwest, Lone Pine State Park is home to 7.5 miles of trails for hiking, biking, snowshoeing, and horseback riding.

The park also features breathtaking scenic overlooks, where you can see Flathead Lake, Big Mountain Resort, Jewel Basin, and Glacier National Park on clear days. 

Lonepine is the second oldest State Park in Montana, dating back to February of 1941.

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Looking to camp?

The recently remodeled visitor center has a gift shop and provides visitors with highlights of the wildlife and forest ecology of the park.

A great spot for meetings or social gatherings (can host up to 100 people), the visitor center has a spacious meeting room with audio/visual capabilities and wrap around decks!

7.5 miles of trails can accommodate for short or long hikes where you’ll find great views of wildflowers in the spring and summer and local wildlife throughout the year. 

Activities

Snowshoe rentals are available for $5 per person or $10 per family during the winter months.

With adult workshops, children's activities and interpretive programs throughout the year, Lone Pine State Park is an ideal stop for field trips, out of state visitors or Montana residents interested in learning more about northwestern Montana.

Lone Pine State Park provides incredible views of the Flathead Valley, as well as year-round and wide-ranging outdoor recreation activities.
Originally owned as part of a large sheep ranch by Ernest and Hazel White, in 1941 the White’s donated the land that now makes up Lone Pine State Park, for public use and education.

The Whites stipulated that the land be developed for public use and to teach an appreciation for the benefits of conservation. Lone Pine hosts extensive educational and recreation opportunities throughout the year? From interactive talks about birds of prey, backcountry horse and mule packing, to a bat box building workshop, Lone Pine has an event to interest everyone. 

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

"This a great little recreation spot. There's hiking, multiple viewing spots, a visitor center, picnic and volleyball area. Additionally one the coolest things they got there is an archery range/course. As a bow hunter I go there often!"

"Great for either short or longer hikes. Very friendly staff. Great views."

"It's very breath taking!! Enjoy the little hike I take with my brother every time I come to Montana!!"

"A great place to go for short or long hikes. Amazing views over the valley. The level of difficulty is very low on most trails, and they are all connected and easy to navigate with clearly marked signs. Will most definitely be returning for more hiking adventures with the kiddos."

 

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    Park

    Open all year
    Sunrise to sunset

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    Visitor Center

    Opens June 6, 2020
    Wednesday through Saturday 10am – 5pm.
    Sunday 12:30pm to 5pm.
    Closed Monday & Tuesday.
    Closed November 26, 27, December 24, 25, 31, January 1

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    Archery Trail

    Open for the 2020 season.

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    Location

    300 Lone Pine Rd. Kalispell, MT 59901

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