Without a doubt, Montana has some of the most beautiful scenery in the United States. From its snow-capped mountain peaks to its expansive plains; from Yellowstone Park to Glacier National Park, there is an incredible amount of beautiful landscapes to see and things to do. I’m sure everyone has heard of Yellowstone and Glacier National Park, but there are many lesser-known, but just as beautiful, state parks you may have never heard of. This article highlights 8 of these parks.
1. Medicine Rocks State Park
This park, located in Elkalaka, was once a gathering place for Native American hunting parties. Its unusual limestone formations have been created by years of erosion. The park is a popular place for camping, picnicking, hiking, photography and wildlife watching. Dogs are allowed, but be sure to visit the park’s website for more information and news.
2. Bannack State Park
Bannack State Park is a historic park in Dillon, MT. Founded in 1862 after John White struck gold there, but later abandoned, 60 of the original town’s structures remain standing. Most of these structures are open to the public, but be warned…it’s said to be haunted. You can find more information about the park on their website.
3. Anaconda Smoke Stack State Park
This state park located in Anaconda, MT was once home to the Anaconda Copper Company. The company’s smelter stack remains standing as a landmark of this once thriving company. The smelter stack was completed in 1919 and, at 585 feet high, is one of the tallest free-standing brick structures on Earth. It’s even taller than the Washington Monument which stands 555 feet tall. Visit the park’s website to learn more.
4. Hell Creek State Park
Hell Creek State Park covers 337 acres near Jordan, MT. Located on the Hell Creek Arm of Fort Peck Lake, the park is a favorite for boating, fishing and other water activities. You can even ice skate and ice fish in the winter. Click here for more information.
5. Lake Mary Ronan State Park
This state park is located near Dayton, MT. This beautiful park is 120 acres of hiking trails, wildlife, wildflowers and beautiful landscapes. It’s also great for fishing, especially for yellow perch, small mouth bass and kokanee salmon. This park is a quiet haven surrounded by boreal forest. For more information, visit their website.
6. Beaverhead Rock State Park
Located near Twin Bridges, MT, this park is open year round. It’s named for the famous rock formation, Beaverhead Rock. Native American guide Sacagawea is said to have likened the rock as looking like the head of a swimming beaver when she saw it while traveling with the Lewis and Clark Expedition. This park is perfect for nature photography and wildlife viewing. Visit this site for more information.
7. Milltown State Park
If you love cultural heritage and outdoor activities, this park near Missoula, MT is definitely for you! The park is an expansive 500 acres of fishing, hiking, and bird-watching. Swimming and floating are also popular activities on the confluence of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers in the park. For more information, visit their website.
8. Big Arm State Park
Also called Flathead Lake State Park, this park is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in the state! Its main attraction is Flathead Lake, the largest naturally-formed fresh water lake in the Western U.S. The outdoor activities at this park are too numerous to mention and the wildlife viewing here is out of this world! It’s located near Big Arm, MT and is open year round, but limited to day use at certain parts of the year. Click here for more information.