Trails

Thompson Falls State Park

Thompson Falls State Park

Thompson Falls State Park

Located along the Clark Fork River between Thompson Falls Dam and Noxon Dam, Thompson Falls State Park is surrounded by a mature and a mixed conifer forest making for a tranquil and quiet destination.

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Looking to hike or fish?

Ready to hike away your day? Thompson Falls Trail runs along the Clark Fork River and connects to the Montana Highway 200 into the town of Thompson Falls where you’ll find the Thompson Falls Community Trails network.

Pike and bass are the most common species fished out of Thompson Falls State Park, but you may find a surprise species if you’re lucky!

While fishing and hiking are popular in Thompson Falls, this state park is used mostly for camping and picnicking. Host to 18 sites and a group picnic area, this riverside campground is great for tent or RV camping, but make sure your trailer is no more than 30 feet!

Things To Do

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    Camping Site

  • Bird Watching
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Fishing
  • Group Camping
  • Hiking
  • Motor Boating
  • Photography
  • Picnicking
  • River Fishing
  • RV Camping
  • Swimming
  • Tent Camping
  • Wildlife Viewing

Features

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    Park Amenities

  • 36 Acres
  • ADA Accessible
  • Pets Allowed
  • Water
  • Toilets (Vault)
  • Boat Launch
  • Camp Host
  • Firewood for Sale
  • Maps
  • Plus, much more!

The Thompson Chain of Lakes includes 18 lakes and stretches 20 miles! Families will love the improved fishing pond which includes an accessible fishing pier, picnic shelter, bathroom and improved parking.

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

"Nice place to camp along Clark Fork River. Beautiful view from the back of our site along the river. Camp was quiet and bathrooms were clean."

"Plenty of camping and picnic spots, along with a boat launch. Long stretches of Sandy Beach along the river for swimming. We enjoyed kayaking, as well! We come every year for a big family campout!"

"This place is so beautiful! The trail is right on the river. My children absolutely loved it! My 5 year especially loved the lake with all the turtles. This is a great place to eat lunch and go for a short hike."

"A great place to camp!! Will definitely go back."

 

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    Park

    Open Year-Round

    Gates Open

    April 27 - September 30

    Gates Closed

    October 2 - April 26

    Campground

    Open Year-Round

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    Location

    2220 Blue Slide Rd. Thompson Falls, MT 59873

Thompson Falls State Park

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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.

Things To Do

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    Camping Site

  • Bird Watching
  • Canoeing
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Education
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Ice Fishing
  • Ice Skating
  • Kayaking
  • Nature
  • Photography
  • Picnicking
  • Rowing
  • Swimming

Features

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    Park Amenities

  • 60 Acres
  • ADA Accessible
  • Toilets (Flush & Vault)
  • Water
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Trash Removal
  • Plus, much more!

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

Spring Meadow Lake State Park

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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.  

Things To Do

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    Camping Site

  • 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!

Features

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    Park Amenities

  • Open May through September
  • Open Year-Round
  • 42 Acres
  • ADA Accessible
  • Pets Allowed
  • Toilets (Flush & Vault)
  • Shower
  • RV Dump Station
  • Electricity
  • RV Hookups
  • Water
  • Maps
  • Interpretive Display
  • Boat Launch
  • Plus, 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

Salmon Lake State Park

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Wild Horse Island State Park

Wild Horse Island State Park

Wild Horse Island State Park

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

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

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

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Looking to hike?

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

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

Things To Do

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    Camping Site

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

Features

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    Park Amenities

  • 2,160 Acres
  • Boat Access
  • No Pets Allowed
  • Toilets (Vault)
  • Wild Horses
  • Bighorn Sheep
  • Plus so many more!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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    Park

    Open Year Round

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

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    Location

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

Wild Horse Island State Park

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Milltown State Park

Milltown State Park

Milltown State Park

On the outskirts of Missoula you’ll find Montana’s newest state park Milltown State Park. Once a Superfund river restoration project, years of hard work from multiple state and federal agencies, non-profits, businesses, and committed volunteers helped make the park what it is today.

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Things to do:

Interpretive displays are placed both at the overlook and confluence areas to provide insight into the history of the area. The story of how people have used the park and the confluence of the Blackfoot and Clark Fork Rivers is told from multiple perspectives in these detailed and interesting displays.

Outdoor opportunities and cultural heritage merge at the restored confluence of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers at Milltown providing a unique opportunity for visitors.
The park includes 500 acres of terrain that ranges from restored river bottoms to a pine forested bluff that overlooks the confluence.

The park affords visitors a place to go hiking, biking, fishing, floating and watching for birds and wildlife. The Milltown State Park Overlook is open and features interpretive displays and picnic tables. There are nearly three miles of hiking trails that lead from the Overlook down to the Clark Fork River and its floodplain trails. 

Things To Do

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    Camping Site

  • Bird Watching
  • Exhibit
  • Fishing
  • Heritage
  • Hiking
  • History
  • Lewis And Clark
  • Nature Tours
  • Photography
  • Picnicking
  • River Overlooks
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Plus, so much more!

Features

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    Park Amenities

  • ADA Accessible
  • Pets Allowed
  • Toilets (Vault)
  • Plus, much more!

The Confluence and Gateway areas, on the north side of the river, saw construction begin in the summer of 2017. The park development include trails, an interpretive plaza and river access. The grand opening for the Confluence area was June 23, 2018

Among the many stories from the deep past are the Glacial Lake Missoula floods that shaped the landscape thousands of years ago. The Salish and Kalispell know the confluence as the place of bull trout and consider it part of their ancestral home. In 19th century history, Meriwether Lewis made a Fourth of July passage through the confluence and decades later the Mullan Expedition spent a harsh winter there. Beginning in the 1880s, the rivers were dammed to produce power for the mills and communities but at great consequence.

The hopeful story of the Milltown Dam removal and rivers' return offers an opportunity to explore America's changing relationship to the land as well as the benefits that river restoration yields for Montana's families and communities.

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

"Super pretty day with blue skies. Easy walks for kids and grandparents."

"The State really did a beautiful job on this park it is awe inspiring and a photo in any direction of incredible landscaping."

"Good view, pretty wildflowers, walking trail, picnic table, quiet"

"Great place to relax"

 

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    Park

    Confluence Area Open 

    May 1 to September 30

    9 am to 9 pm

    October 1 to April 30

    9am to 5pm

    Overlook Area Open

    Sunrise to sunset

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    Location

    Confluence Area

    7363 Juniper Drive

    Missoula, MT 

    Overlook Area

    1353 Deer Creek Road

    Missoula, MT

Milltown State Park

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Council Grove State Park

Council Grove State Park

Council Grove State Park

Council Grove State Park marks the site of the 1855 council between Superintendent of Indian Affairs and Territorial Governor of Washington, Isaac Stevens and members of the Flathead, Kootenai, and Pend d'Oreille Nations.

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The park is designated as a primitive park meaning that further development is prohibited. There is no visitor center, camping or staff at this location.

Vehicle size is limited to passenger vehicles.

Things To Do

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    Camping Site

  • Open Year-Round
  • Daylight Hours 
  • 187 Acres

Features

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    Park Amenities

  • ADA Accessible
  • Pets Allowed
  • Toilets (Vault)
  • Water
  • Bird Watching
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Photography
  • Picnicking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Plus so many more!

It was at this site that Chief Victor of the Bitterroot Salish eventually marked an "X" on the treaty documents prepared by Stevens and his contingent. The Bitterroot Salish and their leader believed that they would not be required to leave the Bitterroot Valley as a result of the treaty signed at the 1855 Council. It would be 15 years before agents from the US government came to enforce provisions of the treaty requiring the Bitterroot Salish to relocate to the Mission Valley.

The area is now a quiet, serene state park. It is large enough at 187 acres for a nice walk or to find a quiet place next to the river for a picnic. The park is limited to day-use only activities with a handful of on-site amenities including vault toilets, picnic tables, drinking water, hiking trails, and ADA accessible facilities.

This park contains large, old-growth ponderosa pines, grassy meadows by the park picnic area, and large cottonwoods along the Clark Fork. There's also an aspen grove fed by a vernal pool (a shallow depression in clay-like soil that fills with water seasonally) and make great breeding habitat for frogs and salamanders.

The Hellgate Treaty between the United States government and the Salish, Kootenai and Pend d’Oreille Native Americans which created the Flathead Reservation was signed here on July 16, 1855. A monument in the park marks the location where the treaty was signed. 

Council Grove allows you to experience a feeling of solitude amongst the large, old-growth ponderosa pines, grassy fields, and cottonwood trees along the Clark Fork River. Many people come to the park for biking and hiking and even as a great place to fish, swim, and hunt in the right season. 

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

"Beautiful park & very family friendly! Dogs are also aloud on leash. There is room for everyone to enjoy on the rocky/beachy area. Must check out if visiting Missoula Montana."

"Nice place for an easy stroll along the Clark Fork amongst the ponderosa pine."

"Clean and quiet. Nice to walk with my dogs."

"Good birdwatching; I osprey, hummingbirds, owls, occasionally see hawks and eagles."

 

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    Park

    Open Year-Round

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    Location

    11249 Mullan Road
    Missoula, MT 59808

Council Grove State Park

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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.

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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.

Things To Do

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    Camping Site

  • 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!

Features

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    Park Amenities

  • 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

Big Arm State Park

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