The 14 Best State Parks in Montana

Montana State Parks

Wendy Altschuler

From the state's rugged Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains expanse, Montana is a nature lovers' haven. Known as "the last frontier" or "the last best place," it's here that you'll find wide-open spaces with wild adventures around every corner. You'll likely encounter quite a bit of wildlife as you explore the trails and green spaces in big sky country.

Montana's two national parks, Yellowstone and Glacier National Park, draw millions of visitors annually; however, the 55 diverse state parks offer more solitude and serenity. If you fancy yourself an outdoors person, then hiking, mountain biking, fishing, kayaking, camping, horseback riding, and open-air winter fun in Montana's state parks will keep you busy all year. Keep reading to learn about the best state parks in Montana and what you can do, see, and explore while there.

01 of 14

Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park

cave system

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Address
25 Lewis & Clark Caverns Road, Whitehall, MT 59759, USA
Phone +1 406-287-3541

One of the most popular limestone caverns in America, Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park stands out as one of the best in Montana. Holiday candlelight tours are available in December, but other than that, the cave tours, where you can see stalactites and stalagmites, are closed during the winter months. Classic and Paradise Tours are available at this park in Whitehall, Montana, which must be purchased on-site the day of your visit. The summer is the best time to visit the park and enjoy the cave tours and the surrounding area hikes and mountain bike trails. Special events, concessions, and a visitor center are accessible during the warmer months. For extra fun, book a stay at the campground, where you’ll find 40 campsites, a tipi, and three cabins.

02 of 14

Pictograph Cave State Park

Pictograph Cave State Park

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Address
3401 Coburn Rd, Billings, MT 59101-6420, USA
Phone +1 406-254-7342

Prehistoric hunters called this cave system home, where visitors today can see over 100 rock paintings, also known as pictographs, throughout the grounds in Billings, Montana. The oldest drawing in the cave is over 2,000 years old. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964, Pictograph Cave State Park has long been an essential destination for archaeologists. Explore three main caves in this state park: Pictograph (the deepest), Middle, and Ghost. Thirty thousand artifacts have been found in and around the caves. Be sure to spend time in the Visitor’s Center, where you’ll find interpretive displays and maps, and bring along binoculars to get a better view while exploring.

03 of 14

Flathead Lake State Park

Flathead Lake State Park

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Address
8600 Montana Hwy 35, Bigfork, MT 59911-3708, USA
Phone +1 406-837-3041

By surface area, Flathead Lake State Park is the largest freshwater lake in the western U.S., and it's touted as one of the cleanest. At 15 miles wide and 28 miles long, it's easy to see why folks love visiting for outdoor activities all year round. The park is divided into six different units, each with special viewpoints and exciting outdoor opportunities: Big Arm, Finley Point, Wayfarers, West Shore, Wild Horse Island, and Yellow Bay. You'll find plenty to do, from swimming, camping, hiking, wildlife viewing, kayaking, standup paddle boarding, fishing, boating, biking, and picnicking at this massive park system in northwest Montana.

04 of 14

Lost Creek State Park

Lost Creek State Park

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Address
5750 Lost Creek Rd, Anaconda, MT 59711, USA
Phone +1 406-287-3541

The biggest draw at Lost Creek State Park, located in Anaconda, is Lost Creek Falls, which can be reached via a short hiking trail. This is the place to camp if you’re looking for a bit of solitude, as the sites are spread out and located in the forest. You’ll see rugged limestone and granite rock formations and plenty of wildlife like golden eagles and bighorn sheep, and if you really listen, you’ll hear the squeaky bark of the woodland pika. At 502 acres, you’ll have plenty of space to spread out and enjoy the natural landscape.

Continue to 5 of 14 below.
05 of 14

Black Sandy State Park

Black Sandy State Park

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Address
6563 Hauser Dam Rd, Helena, MT 59602-8003, USA
Phone +1 406-495-3270

This is an active state park, meaning that a lot is going on, with many families enjoying a plethora of water activities on the shores of Hauser Reservoir. From fishing to boating to water skiing, this is the park to go to with friends and family in tow. Located in Helena, this park is easy to find and even easier to enjoy. Black Sandy State Park is best visited during the warmer months when you can participate in all the lake activities.  

06 of 14

Tongue River Reservoir State Park

Tongue River Reservoir

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Address
292 Campers Pt Rd, Decker, MT 59025, USA
Phone +1 406-757-2298

This 12-mile-long reservoir draws visitors from all over the state to enjoy a weekend away, or a fun extended vacation, no matter what time of year it is. Spend the day fishing, camping, and boating at Tongue River Reservoir State Park, located in Decker, Montana, and enjoy the expansive prairie landscape in the state's southeastern part. Keep your eyes and ears out for a diverse range of wildlife, from osprey to deer to antelope. Eighty-one campsites are available for reservation, and there's a small beach for swimming and sunbathing. Ice fishing is a popular sport in the winter, and 11 camps have electrical hookups for use.

07 of 14

Logan State Park and Thompson Chain of Lakes State Park

Logan State Park

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Address
U.S. Hwy 2 W, Kalispell, MT 59901, USA
Phone +1 406-752-5501

Located in Libby, Montana, Logan State Park is heavily forested and fun for intrepid visitors who seek access to a channel that includes the Upper Lake, which connects to Middle and Lower Thompson Lakes. Logan State Park is planted in the middle of the 3,000-acre Thompson Chain of Lakes State Park. Swimming, boating, camping (37 sites are available), fishing, and water activities are spread out over 17 acres at this peaceful and serene state park.

08 of 14

Giant Springs State Park

Giant Springs

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Address
4803 Giant Springs Rd, Great Falls, MT 59405, USA
Phone +1 406-727-1212

You’ll want to bring along a map when you visit Giant Springs State Park, one of the largest freshwater springs in the country. Explore nearly 14 miles of Missouri River shoreline as you hike, bike, picnic, fish, or enjoy wildlife viewing (bring binoculars) with your family in tow. Giant Springs is the big draw—it produces over 156 million gallons of water daily. Visit year-round, and don’t forget to stop by the Giant Springs Fish Hatchery. Pop in the Visitor Center to learn about the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The River’s Edge Trail System encompasses nearly 60 miles of trails around the Great Falls area.

Continue to 9 of 14 below.
09 of 14

Bannack State Park

Bannack State Park

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Address
4200 Bannack Rd, Dillon, MT 59725, USA
Phone +1 406-834-3413

Step back in time to Bannack State Park, Montana's first territorial capital, located in the small town of Dillon. This ghost town, with 50 of its old buildings and sites intact, is fun to explore, especially with kids in tow. Sign up for a guided tour at the Visitor Center to provide context and get a better picture of the area's history. Designated as a National Historic Landmark and the actual site of Montana's first significant gold discovery, visitors can camp here year-round.

10 of 14

Sluice Boxes State Park

Sluice Boxes

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Address
38 Evans Riceville Rd, Belt, MT 59412, USA
Phone +1 406-454-5840

Hikers and outdoor lovers will really benefit from a vacation at Sluice Boxes State Park, where mines, a railroad, and old cabins flank Belt Creek. Beyond the place's rich history, enjoy backcountry camping, river rafting, fishing, wildlife viewing, and picnicking. This is the park to visit to find peace and solitude, as you’re unlikely to bump elbows with many other visitors, even in the summer months when tourism is at its peak.

11 of 14

Lone Pine State Park

Lone Pine State Park

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Address
300 Lone Pine Rd, Kalispell, MT 59901, USA
Phone +1 406-755-2706

Lone Pine State Park, located in Kalispell, Montana, has an excellent Visitor’s Center, with interpretive displays, maps, hands-on activities, and a gift shop for souvenirs. Hike on nearly eight miles of trails and, in the winter, go snowshoeing with your own snowshoes or rent a pair. Be sure to bring along a map on your adventures, and always be bear aware. Archery trails are also available for extra fun in the summer months.

12 of 14

Makoshika State Park

Makoshika State Park

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Address
Glendive, MT 59330, USA

For a dark sky party, where the Milky Way is in full view, visit Makoshika State Park in Glendive, Montana. Badlands are also interesting features at this park, the state’s largest, where the fossil remains of Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops, and other prehistoric creatures were discovered. An informative Visitor’s Center is a great place to start to get a lay of the land, ask questions and make purchases at the gift shop. Hiking, camping, picnicking, and entertainment in the park’s amphitheater are all highlights. Year-round special events include Shakespeare in the Park, family-friendly Friday night campfire programs, and the Buzzard Day Festival featuring races, a bounce house, food, guided hikes, and a disc golf tournament.

Continue to 13 of 14 below.
13 of 14

Whitefish Lake State Park

Whitefish Lake State Park

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Address
1615 W Lakeshore Dr, Whitefish, MT 59937, USA
Phone +1 406-862-3991

Close to the charming mountain town of Whitefish, Whitefish Lake State Park is a lovely little place to visit for water activities in the summer months, spread out over ten acres. Camping (25 sites are available), boating, fishing, and picnicking are available, and should you need to rent something, kayaks, bikes, and paddle boards are available. An extensive hiking and biking trail system will keep you occupied and immersed in nature, breathing the fresh air and practicing your ability to discern between shades of green.

14 of 14

Travelers’ Rest State Park

Travelers' Rest State Park

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Address
6717 US-12, Lolo, MT 59847, USA
Phone +1 406-273-4253

Located in Lolo, Montana, Travelers’ Rest State Park is the only archaeologically verified campsite of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the nation. History buffs will love staying here where these famous explorers and indigenous peoples rested long ago. Designated a National Historic Landmark, this park is also home to a diverse species of birds and wildlife. Begin your adventure at the Visitor’s Center and Museum, where you can learn more about the Lewis and Clark Expedition, see replicas, and marvel at Native American handmade crafts.

Back to List

The 14 Best State Parks in Montana