14 Best Lakes in Montana to Visit

Also often called the Treasure State, Montana is well-known for its pure magnificence, huge rolling plains, and mountainous areas. This is likely one of the most visited US states for out of doors adventures. From Glacier National Park to Logan Pass to breathtaking lakes to different pure points of interest, Montana presents countless alternatives to its guests.

Montana is house to a number of synthetic reservoirs or glacially-carved water our bodies, including to the state’s pure magnificence. Combined with a variety of leisure actions, all lakes within the state are must-visit points of interest for those who’re planning to discover Montana.

Since there are a bunch of lovely lakes in Montana, this put up has listed a number of the greatest ones that may assist you to unwind and loosen up. Let’s take a more in-depth have a look at a few of Montana’s lakes.

14 Beautiful Lakes in Montana That You Can Visit

1. Fort Peck Lake

Fort Peck Lake, Montana Sunset Scenery

Located within the jap prairie space of Montana, Fort Peck Lake is a man-made reservoir. About 134 miles in size, this lake is the biggest current water physique in Montana. This is likely one of the common vacationer points of interest of Montana, created within the Nineteen Thirties by Fort Peck Dam on the Missouri River.

Fort Peck Lake is unfold over 245,000 acres, making it the biggest lake in Montana by floor space. With greater than 1,500 miles of shoreline, this lake is known for a number of actions, together with fishing, swimming, and boating.

This lake can be surrounded by the attractive and expansive Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. Multiple again roads join this water physique to close by wilds the place guests can take pleasure in extra leisure alternatives, like climbing, tenting, and bird-watching. Rich in pure magnificence, a visit to Fort Peck Lake is a must-visit in Montana.

See Related: Best Cheap Places to Travel in the US

2. Flathead Lake

Kayakers at sunset on Flathead Lake, Montana

Spread over 197 sq. miles of floor space, Flathead Lake is a pure lake in northwest Montana. Situated alongside the mainline of the Flathead River, this is likely one of the cleanest lakes on this planet for its sort and measurement.

Flathead Lake in Montana is accessible from both Highway 35 or Highway 93. You can swim, camp, bike, and hike round this lovely lake amongst mature forests and breathtaking views of the Mission Mountains and the Swan Range. Flathead Lake can be the most effective lakes in Montana for boating and fishing.

Though there are a number of campgrounds across the lake, Flathead Lake State Park is likely one of the best camping areas. Also, communities, together with Polson and Bigfork, join the lake to close by marinas, lodging, and eating places.

On the entire, Flathead Lake is likely one of the most beautiful Montana lakes. Visit this picturesque lake with your loved ones or buddies for a lifetime expertise.

3. Canyon Ferry Lake

Frozen Canyon Ferry Lake, Montana Scenery

Canyon Ferry Lake is perhaps the place for nice lake enjoyable. Covering 33,500 acres of land, this is likely one of the giant lakes in Montana. This is a synthetic lake close to Helena and Townsend on the Missouri River.

Situated towards the Big Belt Mountains of the attractive Rocky Mountains, Canyon Ferry Lake is the third-largest lake in Montana. Built with the Canyon Ferry Dam’s building, it’s round 30 miles lengthy and 5 miles vast.

This out of doors vacation spot presents a handful of alternatives for leisure actions, together with boating, ice boating, picnicking, wildlife viewing, tenting, and climbing. Cave Ridge Trail and Little Hellgate Gulch Trail are common climbing trails close to the lake.

Stocked with numerous fish species, together with whitefish, trout, bass, yellow perch, burbot, and walleye, Canyon Ferry Lake can be good for fishing. Overall, it’s a really perfect place for a weekend getaway.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Paradise Valley, Montana

4. Whitefish Lake

Whitefish Lake Scenery, Whitefish Montana

Nestled on the fringe of Whitefish city, Whitefish Lake is a pure oligotrophic lake in Flathead County, Montana. Spread over 5.2 sq. miles of floor space, this freshwater lake is 5.8 miles prolonged, 1.4 miles vast, and 233 ft deep.

Whitefish Lake is known for numerous leisure actions, together with boating, kayaking, fishing, and water snowboarding. Nearby Whitefish Lake State Park presents alternatives for swimming and tenting with attractive mountain views.

Some areas of this scenic lake have sandy seaside stretches with common swimming spots, bordered by picnic tables and gazebos. Along the south shore of this lake is Whitefish City Beach, essentially the most visited part for swimming in the summertime.

A visit to this lake and surrounding points of interest is a must-visit for those who’re in Whitefish city.

5. Swan Lake

Swan Lake, Montana, Flathead National Forest

Swan Lake lies on the northernmost level of the picturesque Swan Valley, near the east of Flathead Lake. The lake is 1,000 meters above sea degree and is encircled by the Flathead National Forest.

The space’s main lure is out of doors recreation. Tourists come right here all yr spherical to discover the close by streams and fishing lakes of Montana, trek the paths, go boating, see some birds or different animals, and, within the winter, maybe go backcountry snowboarding within the hilly terrain.

Visit the adjoining Swan River Wildlife Refuge if you would like an distinctive bird-watching expertise. You might spot a number of birds, together with cranes, osprey, bald eagles, and geese, to say just some.

Furthermore, the Swan Mountain Range’s snow-covered, sturdy-looking peak and a big portion of the Flathead National Forest encompass the lake. The lake is round a mile vast and eight miles lengthy, making it an ideal spot for water-based actions, and it additionally has the additional benefit of a campground.

See Related: Best Things to Do in Missoula, Montana

6. Avalanche Lake

Avalanche Lake, Montana Scenery

You will discover Avalanche Lake on the western aspect of the continental divide, encircled by monumental mountains. The avalanches that tumble down the mountains within the space gave rise to the title of this breathtakingly lovely lake. These avalanches flip into waterfalls of various sizes, flowing down from the best summits within the spring and early summer time.

The wildlife within the lake’s neighborhood is in depth, and it’s fairly straightforward to identify bighorn sheep, mountain goats, grizzly bears, and deer. However, a reasonably busy route surrounds Avalanche Lake, so don’t be apprehensive about coming throughout one among these animals.

Hiking the Trail of the Cedars is likely one of the greatest methods to see the lake, and a good trek to Avalanche Lake takes virtually half a day to perform. You may even see a number of flowing waterfalls seen in your method and excessive cliffs surrounding the lake from three sides.

7. Holland Lake

Holland Lake Aerial View, Montana Scenery

The Flathead National Forest is house to the visually pleasing alpine water physique often called Holland Lake. The lake sits on 400 acres of land, and the Swan Mountains encompass the lake, including to its scenic magnificence.

One of Montana’s high hiking paths, the 3-mile-long surrounding terrain ends near the lake’s shore. When the hikers head in the direction of the spray of Holland Falls on the ends, they can’t imagine their eyes whereas witnessing this picturesque setting.

Locals trying to find journey or leisure often journey to Holland Lake. This scenic lake is common for boating and different water sports activities like water snowboarding and kayaking. It’s additionally an ideal place for fly fishing trout or salmon.

Around the lake, you’ll discover many in a single day lodging choices, together with campgrounds and exquisite lodges.

8. Hebgen Lake

Hebgen Lake, Montana Scenery

A two-hour journey will take you to the city of Bozeman in southwest Montana, which is near West Yellowstone and the man-made water physique – Hebgen Lake. Despite being affected by a reasonably sturdy earthquake in 1959, this lake has lengthy been a well-liked resort and trip spot.

Hebgen Lake is now a popular out of doors location for each guests and locals, and it may possibly accommodate a number of admirers who come for swimming, boating, fishing, and water snowboarding. You will discover boat leases, marinas, paddleboard, canoe, and kayak leases on the lake’s shore.

Compared to different lakes of Montana, Hebgen Lake’s shore isn’t very massive, but it surely presents entry to some incredible fishing spots. The regional forestry division additionally manages just a few campgrounds close to the lake.

See Related: Best Places to Visit in the US

9. Lake Mcdonald

Lake McDonald Montana Scenery, Glacier National Park scenery

This traditional lake is the biggest of all glacier lakes in Montana, located in Glacier National Park. Anyone passing by way of the world of Going-to-the-Sun Road, which follows the lake’s southern coast, should positively cease at this location to absorb the breathtaking view.

The lake Mcdonald is 10 miles lengthy, about 500 ft deep, and is located in an Ice Age glacier basin, giving it the normal fjord Montana Lake look. Apart from the western aspect, the lake is virtually coated by the Continental Divide, which not solely enhances the lake’s picturesqueness but additionally acts as a rain barrier.

The space surrounding Lake Mcdonald additionally presents some unbelievable alternatives for animal viewing, making it doable to see elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, in addition to the occasional black bear.

You can even e book an opulent Swiss-style chalet close to the lake to finish your trip and luxuriate in this magical location much more.

10. Seeley Lake

Seeley Lake, Montana Scenery

The spectacular mountain ranges of the Seeley-Swan Valley, the place Seeley Lake is located, are solely an hour’s drive from Missoula. Located in western Montana, this lake covers round 1,000 acres of land. Apart from being proper throughout from the Bob Marshall Wilderness, the encircling space of Seeley Lake serves as a gateway to Glacier National Park.

The well-known Rainy Lake, Clearwater Lake, Salmon Lake, and Placid Lake are just some of the 11 lakes that make up the Seeley Lake chain within the Clearwater River Valley.

Seeley Lake is likely one of the most picturesque areas and is a favourite spot for fishing, boating, and different water actions. On the lake, you’ll discover a number of boat leases and boat ramps. There are additionally just a few wonderful lodging near the lake.

Furthermore, the forestry service runs three completely different campsites near the water. Not simply that, you’ll discover a swimming space, a seaside, and round 30 tenting areas on the Seeley Lake Campground. However, for those who don’t really feel like pitching a tent, you may select to remain within the lodges close to the lake.

See Related: Best Things to do in Bozeman, Montana

11. Echo Lake

Echo Lake, Montana Scenery

Are you dreaming of an remoted lake space removed from civilization? We imagine Echo Lake, a small water physique within the Flathead Valley about 5 miles northeast of Bigfork, will function a pure sanctuary for you.

Even although Echo Lake is considerably extra distant and secluded, it’s undoubtedly simply as magnificent as its neighbor, the attractive and massive Flathead Lake, with its many wildlife areas and state parks. And Echo Lake generally is a higher possibility for you and your touring companions, relying in your social bandwidth and pursuits.

Beyond picture-perfect vistas, Echo Lake has its benefits regardless of being near the Swan Lake mountain vary and the breathtaking Jewel Basin climbing area. For occasion, due to the mountain runoff from the adjoining Echo Creek and groundwater, it is likely one of the warmest lakes within the Flathead Valley. This additional lets you expertise the whole vary of summertime pleasure or winter calm.

When it involves leisure actions, you may take part in a bunch of issues like biking, climbing, water sports activities, and lakeside swimming—this location is filled with journey. At Echo Lake, there’s something for everybody!

12. Saint Mary Lake

Sunset on St. Mary Lake, Montana

St. Mary Lake is one other instance of the breathtaking pure splendor of Montana. You will witness a number of the most lovely vistas anyplace round this 10-mile-long lake in Glacier National Park. It is essential to notice that in the whole national park space, St. Mary Lake ranks second in measurement.

Bighorn sheep, elk, and bears, to say just a few, will be discovered within the pine woods that encompass the bottom of the majestic and dramatic mountain peaks. Furthermore, you’ll discover a number of the greatest campgrounds in Glacier National, near the shore. And there are additionally just a few good climbing paths across the lake from the place you may discover the area.

During the summer time, boat excursions are supplied throughout St. Mary Lake. Summer is essentially the most picturesque time of yr for the lake because the wildflowers are in bloom.

See Related: Best Things to do in Gardiner, Montana

13. Quake Lake

Quake Lake, Montana

Southwest Montana is house to Quake Lake, located 30 miles northwest of West Yellowstone. It is especially situated on US Highway 287, which circles the lake and runs by way of the Gallatin National Forest. Many folks take into account it the proper place to unwind among the many aspen and fir bushes removed from the crowds of Yellowstone National Park.

As you method the lake through this route, it is possible for you to to watch some lingering results of the landslide and big earthquake that struck the area and resulted within the formation of the lake. The impacts of the earthquake are most noticeable as you journey from Ennis to West Yellowstone.

Quake Lake primarily attracts vacationers for brown trout and rainbow trout fishing, canoeing, boating, wakeboarding, jet and water snowboarding, and the Quake Lake Visitors Center. Not simply that, there’s a tonne of serene, pure magnificence on this area of Montana, just like a number of different surrounding areas.

14. Salmon Lake

Salmon Lake Montana fall foliage and winter frost

The beautiful Salmon Lake is located within the western a part of Montana’s state park. In this stretch of Montana alongside the Clearwater River, there are only a few naturally-formed lakes, together with Salmon Lake.

This is the proper location to take part in leisurely water actions like boating, fishing, and swimming. It’s additionally an excellent place to come across some wildlife.

As this lake is situated inside Salmon Lake State Park, a chosen state park space, you’ll discover loads of issues to do. For occasion, the world boasts a campground, day-use facilities, and a ship launch instantly adjoining to the lake. The park additionally supplies water, restrooms, picnic shelters, and plenty of different amenities.

In the hotter months of June by way of early August, you may take part in ranger packages through the week and weekend within the park’s amphitheater. Salmon Lake State Park is conveniently situated on Highway 83, making the world straightforward to entry. If you want the precise location, the lake is between Highways 83 and 200, roughly 7 miles north of the Clearwater Junction.

See Related: Best Things to Do in Billings, Montana

Where to Stay in Montana

Whether you’re planning to discover Montana’s lakes with your loved ones or buddies, it’s important to e book lodging earlier than visiting to make sure a snug expertise. Since there are a number of lodges, resorts, or tenting websites round these lakes in Montana, it’s best to undergo all of the obtainable choices to decide on the suitable place to remain. 

Here, now we have talked about the very best lodging close to high lakes in Montana. Let’s take a fast look. 

Accommodations Near Flathead Lake

From visitor homes to condos to villas to resorts, there are a number of properties of all ranges for spending an evening or two close to Flathead Lake. Some high choices are Lakefront HomeModern CottageWaterfront CondoFloating House, and Flathead Lake Resort

Accommodations Near Lake McDonald

Located in West Glacier, Lake McDonald presents a wide range of lodging and lodging choices to guests. Lakefront CabinApgar HouseGlacier Park CabinOn the Shores Cottage, and Great Northern Resort are just a few locations to stick with various facilities. 

Accommodations Near Whitefish Lake

You can even e book your keep close to Whitefish Lake, because it supplies lodging choices of every kind. From a fundamental condominium to an opulent lodge or a small cabin to a full-size home, you may lease anywhere as per your choice. Lodge at Whitefish LakeWhitefish CondosLakefront CondoLakeside CondoDowntown Condo, and Kandahar Lodge at Whitefish Mountain Resort are some high locations to remain in Montana. 

Accommodations Near Saint Mary Lake

Saint Mary Lake is house to a number of cottages, nation homes, cabins, villas, and different properties. When it involves reserving the suitable place to remain, there are numerous choices, together with Montana’s Duck Lake LodgeCabin Near Glacier Natl ParkDuplex, and Cottage with Glacier National Park View. Go by way of all of the obtainable properties and e book the one which meets your necessities. 


Can you swim in Montana’s Lakes?

You can at all times select from one of many many pristine and clear rivers, public lakes, and creeks in Montana to swim. Nothing beats cooling down in a lake on a sizzling day after a stroll or hiking trip, and as you may’t at all times be close to a pool, dipping in a pure lake may very well be your only option.

Are there any clear lakes in Montana?

One of the biggest freshwater and clearest lakes in Montana is Flathead Lake, situated within the Treasure State’s northwest space. It isn’t just the clearest lake in Montana however the whole world.

How many lakes are in Montana?

There are over 3000 named lakes and reservoirs all throughout Montana. These scenic water our bodies make Montana a must-visit vacation spot for household holidays or romantic getaways.

Are there any heat lakes in Montana?

Near the city of Bigfork, within the Flathead Valley, lies Echo Lake. It is one among Montana’s warmest lakes, because it receives most of its water from pure springs.

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