(Last Updated On: August 29, 2022)

sunset over a river through a state park near billings montana

Montana is well known for being the home of Glacier National Park, as well as the northern gateway to Yellowstone National Park.

But it is also blessed with 55 State Parks that are well worth checking out too.

Showcasing everything from stunning mountain ranges and picturesque meadows replete with gorgeous wildflowers, to mysterious underground caverns and spectacular iceberg lakes, it is very easy to see why Montana is often referred to as the ‘Last Best Place’ on earth.

Terrific places to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, Montana’s state parks provide lots of opportunities to enjoy outdoor recreational pursuits like swimming, fishing, hiking, boating, hunting and camping, all throughout the year.

For those who live in, or very near the city of Billings, there are several places you can head to in the Big Sky State, for a little fix of nature.

Showcased below is a selection of 5 of the best state parks near Billings we recommend you pay a visit to.

Map of State Parks Near Billings MT

Here is a map of the state parks in Montana covered in this post:

List of State Parks Near Billings

The five state parks near Billings outlined below can all be reached within a four hour drive of the city.

Between them, they also all offer a several camping options for those who want to spend a few days in the area.

1. Cooney State Park

Location: 86 Lake Shore Rd, Roberts, MT 59070

Spread across 309 acres, Cooney State Park faces three sides of a reservoir. So it is the perfect spot to go if you love fishing, kayaking, boating, water-skiing, windsurfing and canoeing.

Reached via a 45 minute drive south west of Billings, this place is always busy in the summer with anglers particularly attracted to the plentiful rainbow trout and walleye they can catch.

All up the park features five campgrounds, offering a total of 82 campsites, of which 19 have electricity. It also has three group use areas that are available on a daily basis, around the fringes of the lake.

As well as a trio of boat ramps that come with docks, the park offers plenty of opportunities for hiking, bicycling, bird watching, picnicking and photography in the summer. While cross-country skiing, ice skating and snowshoeing are popular in the winter.

Amenities at the park include flush and vault toilets, showers, drinking water, a public restroom and a playground. As well as established fire pits and trash removal.

2. Ackley Lake State Park

Location: 989 Ackley Lake Rd, Hobson, MT 59452

Nestled right in the bosom of Big Sky Country, Ackley Lake State Park can be reached after a 2 hour and 15 minute drive north from Billings.

Offering stunning views of the Snowy Mountains and the Little Belt, this 290-acre park enables a diverse range of recreational activities including swimming, boating, fishing, picnicking, birdwatching and camping.

The park has 26 rustic campsites for tents and RVs that are available on a first come, first served basis. None of these sites have electricity, water or dumping services, so are best suited for self-sufficient campers.

Pets are allowed here, while the park also offers vault toilets, a boat launch, grills and fire rings and various picnic shelters as well.

3. Missouri Headwaters State Park

Location: 1585 Trident Rd, Three Forks, MT 59752

Situated a 2 hours 30 minute drive east of Billings, the Missouri Headwaters State Park enjoys a stunning setting where the Gallatin, Jefferson and Madison Rivers meet.

Providing you with a unique opportunity to camp in the same area where Lewis and Clark did way back in 1805, the landscape hasn’t changed much since their day. So you can immerse yourself in a living part of history during your time here.

Incorporating some 535-acres, the park sits 4045 feet above sea level and gives visitors lots of chances to hike, fishing, hunt and bicycle within its spectacular confines.

Given its proximity to three rivers, it also is a fabulous destination for water based activities like canoeing, kayaking and SUP.

Altogether the park has 17 campsites which are suitable for tents or RVs. By way of amenities, it also has flush toilets, as well as fire rings and grills, and picnic shelters.

4. Spring Meadow Lake State Park

Location: 2715 Country Club Ave, Helena, MT 59620

At 3 hours and 40 minutes northwest of the city, the Spring Meadow Lake State Park lies a bit further away from Billings than the previous State parks.

Not far from Montana’s state capital of Helena, this public recreation space was once a gravel pit and factory. However, it has now been transformed into a popular spot for families to visit.

Constructed around a man-made, spring fed lake, this 61 acre park acts mainly as a suburban day-use park. Although it does offer 30 campsites, all of which have electric hookups for people wanting to stay for an extended period.

Over the summer months, the lake is a terrific spot for swimming, fishing, canoeing, SUP, kayaking and even scuba diving.

There is also a lovely beach area to relax on, as well as a nature trail that is nice to explore.

5. Black Sandy State Park

Location: 6563 Hauser Dam Rd, Helena, MT 59602

Around the same distance from Billings, as Spring Meadow Lake State Park is, but in a slightly different northwesterly direction, lies the 43-acre Black Sandy State Park.

Another interesting public recreational space that resides on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, this park holds a picturesque setting on the western shore of Hauser Lake reservoir.

As an impoundment for the Missouri River, the park attracts plenty of people who love water-related pastimes like SUP, kayaking, water-skiing and canoeing.

It is also a renowned spot for fishing, with walleye and trout being plentiful, while there are lots of scenic picnic spots here too.

Sitting at an elevation of 3,835 feet, this enchanting state park has 29 campsites with electricity for guests to use. In addition, there are also 6 campsites, which are more suited to self-sufficient campers, as they do not have electricity.