Frenchtown Pond State Park
Looking to fish?
A variety of fish including; sunfish, bass, and bullhead provide fair catches throughout the year. Frenchtown Pond State Park is also a favorite place for visitors to practice stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing, and snorkeling.
Frenchtown Pond became a state park in 1972. They often host local events for youth and families.
The Frenchtown area was settled by French-Canadian settlers in 1858 after being pushed out of their original settlements by political unrest in the west.
The area was given the name by American (USA) settlers based on the ethnicity and language of the settlers. Currently, fewer than 2000 people reside in the area (US Census, 2010).
The area is home to many scattered ghost towns which fell when the local mining boom cooled off. Most notable of these ghost towns is Hellgate. The first major settlement. The land was rich with gold and fur. The valley lined with timber.
The area flourished and is considered to be the home of the first (state-legal) wedding of white-American settlers in the state of Montana (1862) and the birthplace of the first white-American "Montanan" earlier that same year. Before this, the area was predominately French-Canadian and Native American, which frequently intermarried and settled in the area north of Frenchtown in what is now the Flathead Indian reservation, home to the Bitterroot Salish, Kootenai, and Pend d'Oreilles tribes (also known as the "Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation").
Hellgate became a rough and tumble kind of place and was frequently ravaged by the infamous Henry Plummer Gang. Vigilantes roamed wild dispensing sudden and violent "justice" whenever they felt it necessary.
The area became so notorious that when a scuffle with some of the Pend d'Oreilles tribe led to the death of a prospector, the tribe forced the chief to surrender his son (who led the group involved in the scuffle). After a very brief trial, the boy was hung in town.
As the area prospered, trade moved southeast towards what is now Missoula, MT. Camels were often used to transport goods between the two places.
The town fell to ruin almost overnight as people packed up and moved south to the more economically stable Missoula, which acquired the county seat from Hellgate in 1865 a mere ten years after its official settlement and only five short years from when Hellgate was granted the title.
Curious what other visitors have had to say about the park?
Day use only
October 1 through April 30: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 pm.
May 1 through August 31: 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
September 1 through September 30: 9:00 a.m. – 7 p.m.
18401 Frenchtown Frontage Road Frenchtown, MT 59834