Salmon Lake State Park sits on the eastern banks of Salmon Lake, the park’s main draw for visitors with an RV rental in southwestern Montana. The easiest way to access the park is via Highway 83, which runs from Kalispell to the town of Clearwater. Alternatively, make a beeline for Missoula along Interstate Route 90, before turning off along Highway 200.
Salmon Lake is one of twelve lakes that make up the Clearwater Chain of Lakes. Beginning in the Swan Mountain Range, these lakes continue for 75 miles before ending in the Blackfoot River. Together, these lakes make up one of the most popular motorhome camping destinations in the state. Known for their excellent fishing, bird watching, and boating opportunities, you’re sure to enjoy your time when you book an RV in Missoula County.
True to its name, the park’s excellent kokanee fishing attracts anglers from all over the state. Anyone camping at Salmon Lake State Park, hoping to fish from the comfort of their boat, should head to the park office, home to a handy public boat launch ramp. Here, you’ll also be able to pick up Montana fishing license, if you haven’t got one already. As well as stocking the waters annually with kokanee salmon, both novice and experienced anglers will be able to catch the likes of largemouth bass, rainbow trout, northern pike, cutthroat trout, and so much more.
If you haven’t bought your boat with you, head to Seeley Lake, part of the Flathead National Forest, where you’ll be able to pick up a rental. Whether you need a boat to assist you with your fishing, to get up to scratch with your sailing, or to simply relax with an afternoon of tranquil kayaking, you’ll be able to do it here. Even better, if the hot Montana sunshine gets a little too much, you can enjoy a dip in the lake’s refreshing waters. Jumping into the lake from your boat is permitted. However, there is a designated swimming zone and beach if you’d prefer. Just be aware that there are no lifeguards on duty here, so swimming is at your own risk.
Your Salmon Lake State Park camping trip doesn’t just have to be about the water. Enveloped by forests of fir and pine trees, you’ll want to indulge in some exploration on land too. Hiking is the most popular way to do this. While the trails that wind through the park are not particularly long or challenging, they cover most of the 42-acre park and give walkers a chance to enjoy the birdlife around them. Along your travels, you’ll spot plenty of dainty songbirds and possibly even a pair of nesting bald eagles.
Camping at Salmon Lake State Park
A convenient and relatively accommodating campground sits within Salmon Lake State Park, providing campers with prime access to the park’s facilities and the recreational lake.
Open seasonally from May through to October; campers can choose from two loops, both of which are suitable for anyone with a rental RV. The campground has 23 pitches, which are equipped with a picnic table, fire pit, and drill, but just half of which offer electrical hookups. If you don’t manage to get one of the electric sites, generators are allowed but should be turned off during quiet hours.
There are communal facilities within the campground, including modern restrooms complete with flushing toilets and coin-operated showers. If you’re planning on staying a while, it’s worth noting that, unfortunately, the nearest dump station is around seven miles north of Salmon Lake State Park.
Exploring the Area
With oodles of natural beauty surrounding it, the cultural attractions in Missoula are often overlooked by travelers. Even if you’re not up for visiting a museum or gallery, the town is full of independent cafes and coffee shops that are worth a look in.
History buffs RV camping at Salmon Lake State Park should head straight for the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula. The institution came to being in the 1970s in order to preserve the historical fort, which remains an important part of the region’s history. Housing an impressive collection of over 40,000 artifacts, along with 20 historic structures across 32 acres, it’s not hard to get lost in reminiscing of a time gone by. Alongside these permanent exhibits, the museum organizes a healthy schedule of rotating displays focusing on everything from American Indian history to the issues we face in modern times.
If you were hoping to learn a little more about the lands you’re fishing from and walking through, take a visit to the Montana Natural History Center. Focusing on native flora and fauna from The Treasure State, along with local ecosystems and the state’s glacial past, they will be something new to learn for everybody who visits. If you’re worried about the kids being occupied, don’t be! The museum hosts a range of children’s’ workshops, afternoon activities, and clubs to keep the little ones interested too.
Splash Montana is always a great option to please the whole gang on a hot summer’s day. This family-friendly water park features three exhilarating waterslides, a lazy river, and a log walk along with plenty of other water-based activities. For those who feel in need of a little exercise, why not head to the adult-only Olympic sized pool for a few laps.