Salmon Lake State Park, located in Seely Lake, Montana, operates seasonally, giving RVers and recreational enthusiasts plenty of time during the warm months to experience the pure beauty of Montana summers. Salmon Lake provides the backdrop for many of the park’s activities, while the ponderosa pine and Douglas fir trees circle the clear waters, making the park the ideal camping location.
Salmon Lake State Park is part of a series of lakes called the Clearwater Chain of Lakes, a series of twelve lakes located in the Clearwater River Valley. The Clearwater River begins in the Swan Mountain range and runs through the valley, passing through the lakes, and ending at the Blackfoot River. The scenic waterway creates not only a picturesque landscape but also produces some of the best and most diverse fishing in the area.
The Clearwater River Valley is known for more than the waterways. Migratory birds and other animals call the area home because of the forested landscape and access to plenty of water. For birdwatchers, the vicinity is home to some of the most exciting and rare birds. If animal spotting and birdwatching aren’t for you, but you love outdoor activities, there is plenty to do and see in and around the park’s property. Fishing, waterskiing, hiking, and nature photography are just a few of the activities that people enjoy doing at Salmon Lake State Park.
Salmon Lake State Park is located 45 miles northeast of Missoula and 135 miles southwest of Great Falls, Montana.
Montana state parks have a seasonal park fee schedule, and fees vary depending on the time of year. Prices also range for residents and non-residents. Please check the website for seasonal fees to determine what your entry fee might look light for the time of your visit. Non-residents may purchase a yearly pass to have unlimited entry fees for a year.
Since the park is located in bear country, all visitors must adhere to the food storage rules at all times. All food and other attractants must be stored in a closed, hard-sided container or vehicle whenever it is not in immediate use. Food lockers are available. Please see the park for storage specifics.
The campground is a pet-friendly, reservable facility that operates during the warmer months of the year. The campground has two loops. One of the loops is a basic-facility loop, while the other loop offers up to 50 amp electrical service. All spaces are either pull through or back in and accommodate RVs and campers up to 45 feet in length, and each site has a fire pit, grill and, picnic table. Please make sure if you have additional vehicles such as boats or cars, that they fit in the space provided.
There are no water hookups, but water faucets are located throughout the park for easy access to potable water. Campers who need to use a dump station will find the closest dump facility at Clearwater Junction where Highway 83 meets Highway 200. The campground offers guests flushable toilets, showers, and vault toilets. Because the campground is located in bear country, all campers must follow proper storage protocols. If you wish to use a generator, please silence them during quiet hours between 10:00 pm and 7:00 am.
During the summer, Montana State Parks hosts educational programs every Saturday night. The parks rotate hosting the events, and Salmon Lake is one of the participating parks. The events are free and open to the public. Each event is family friendly and educational. Topics change according to interest, but there are often fishing clinics, classes based on biology and ecology of the area, art classes, and even classes that teach people about dog sledding. Check with the park before your visit, or stop by the park office to see what kind of fun and informative event is taking place during your stay!
The park’s scenery is so beautiful, so why not spend your time where it is most scenic? The park’s day use area sits lakeside, so no matter what you decide to do, you will have a view of the water. If you want to sit next to the lake and warm up, and then go for a swim, the swim beach is the perfect location. The swimming area is located next to the boat ramp, and there are no lifeguards or attendants on duty, so swimmers should be mindful of what is happening around them. After spending time in the water, have lunch at the picnic area and warm back up.
Salmon Lake, surrounded by tall pine trees is the ideal backdrop for boating. Bring your boat, kayak, or canoe and launch from the boat ramp near the park office. If you don’t have a boat, there are boat rental facilities in Missoula and Seeley Lake. Aside from fishing and paddling, boaters can explore the waters of the lake and coast along the shoreline. Those looking for more adventure can try water skiing, tubing, or jet skiing. For more information on boating, contact the park.
Bring your binoculars and your birdwatching guide and head close to the water to look for some of the park’s most beautiful birds. The park is home to small songbirds and bald eagles, but people most frequently come to the area to look for the area’s best-known bird, the loon. During the summer months, birdwatchers are in for a treat if they happen to spot a loon. The loon, known for its courtship dance and exotic calls is spectacular, and always exciting to see.
If one of your favorite pastimes is fishing, then plan to spend time fishing in the tranquil waters of Salmon Lake, one of Montana’s clear, natural lakes. Bring your boat and your tackle and access the park’s boat ramp near the park office. The lake is a favorite fishing destination because it has many different fish species such as rainbow trout, brown trout, bull trout, largemouth bass, kokanee, northern pike, cutthroat trout, and many more. Don’t forget your fishing license! The state of Montana requires that all anglers over the age of 12 have and possess a valid fishing license.
The trails located throughout the park are not long hikes, but they give people who like to get outside and stretch their legs plenty of opportunities to walk outdoors and be surrounded by Montana’s beautiful scenery. The trails are all natural surface trails that allow only foot traffic. One of the paths is a bike trail that will enable people who bike to the park the ability to enter the facility and bike to the camping area. Guests who want to hike can choose from the Salmon Lake Trail, the Picnic Shelter Trail, the Campground Connector Trail, or the Biker and Hiker Camp Access Trail.