Lake Elmo State Park
Inside the city limits of Billings is Lake Elmo State Park. A large 64-acre reservoir, Lake Elmo is the perfect place to swim, paddle, fish, picnic, bird watch, or hike the 1.4-mile nature trail. The Lake, originally known as Holling Lake Reservoir, was constructed to provide water to irrigated farmland as part of the Carey Land Act of 1894. The water that fills the man-made lake is diverted from the Yellowstone River near Laurel, MT, and flows through 63 miles of gravity-fed canals before reaching the lake.
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Prior to becoming a State Park in 1983, Lake Elmo was once the site of a two-story restaurant and night club known for dancing, big band music, and two-inch thick T-bone steaks. Nearby property owners created beaches for swimming and even cleared snow from the lake in the winter to host ice skating. At once point a thriving boat club was formed by local water skiing and motor boating enthusiasts.
The Regional Office for Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks is now located in the park. The Regional Office houses an impressive collection of taxidermied birds, fish, and wildlife. You can also purchase conservation licenses and apply for permits at the office which is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A special feature of Lake Elmo is its Dog Park. The 200-square-foot fenced-in area includes a water area and is located on the west side of the lake. Each visitor is allowed a maximum of two dogs in this special area. Dogs must be 4 months or older. Dogs must be on a leash in all other areas of Lake Elmo State Park.
In the 1930s and 1940s, the Lake Elmo Supper Club drew people for dining, dancing, and watching water skiers just out the back door. The Supper Club burned down in 1946, but Lake Elmo continues to be a popular place today.
The reservoir was constructed in 1906 and serves as the storage basin for the Billings Bench Water Association.
Your four-legged friends will love Lake Elmo State Park as much as you! The dog park at Lake Elmo is a 200-square-foot fenced area that includes access to the water located on the west side of the lake. You and two of your furry friends are allowed to run off-leash in this area, but must be on a leash in all other parts of the park.
During the summer, the lake is stocked with fish regularly and Roger’s Pier is an excellent fishing spot on the south shore of the lake. And although a popular place to cool off in the summer, the lake can be accessed from many points which means these parks never feel too overcrowded.
Only non-motorized boating is allowed on the lake though, so you won’t find any water skiing here like you could in the 30s and 40s!
Curious what other visitors have had to say about the park?
Day Use Only - no camping
Open daily all year
5am - 10pm
2300 Lake Elmo Drive Billings, MT 59105