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smoke rising off the water at dawn in a state park near bozeman montanaWhen it comes to exploring Mother Nature, many visitors to Montana head straight to Glacier National Park, and the northern tip of Yellowstone National Park.

But did you know Montana is also blessed with 46 State Parks that showcase some truly amazing landscapes of their own?

Incorporating everything from imperious mountain peaks, gorgeous iceberg lakes and deep underground caverns, to abandoned ghost towns, wild meadows of pretty wildflowers and powerful, rampaging rivers, its not difficult to see why Montana is known as the ‘Last Best Place’ on earth.

Montana’s state parks are terrific places to visit as they tend to be less crowded than the big two, but no less appealing or enriching.

They also represent fantastic places to partake in outdoor recreational activities like hiking, swimming, fishing, boating and camping, all year round.

If you live in, or are currently based around Bozeman, there are plenty of places you can visit to get your fix of nature in the Big Sky state.

Outlined below is a list of 5 of the best state parks near Bozeman we recommend you check out.

Map of State Parks Near Bozeman MT

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

List of State Parks Near Bozeman

All five of these state parks near Bozeman can be reached in a maximum of just over three hours. So they make excellent day trip destinations.

In addition, they all possess a range of camping and other overnight accommodation options too, for those who want to spend a bit more time venturing around the area.

1. Missouri Headwaters State Park

river flowing through a state park near bozeman montanaLocation: 1585 Trident Rd, Three Forks, MT 59752

Nestled at the confluence of the Madison, Jefferson, and Gallatin Rivers, the Missouri Headwaters State Park gives you the opportunity to camp where Lewis and Clark did all the way back in 1805!

At just a short 30 minute drive northwest of Bozeman, it shouldn’t take you as long to get there as it did them. But on arrival, you will witness a landscape that has changed little since their time.

Encompassing 535 acres that resides at an elevation of 4,045, the park provides plenty of opportunities for hiking, bicycling, fishing, hunting and an abundance of fun, water-related activities.

It also has numerous interpretive displays and points of interest that convey the region’s natural and cultural history.

All up, there are 17 campsites available here for RV and tent camping. In addition, there are also flush toilets, grills and fire rings and picnic shelters too.

2. Spring Meadow Lake State Park

Location: 2715 Country Club Ave, Helena, MT 59620

Situated just west of the state capital of Helena, the Spring Meadow Lake State Park used to be a gravel factory and pit. But now it is a popular recreation area for families which is based around a spring-fed, man-made lake.

Covering some 61 acres, the park is about an hour and 45 minute drive north of Bozeman. Predominantly an urban day-use park, it does have 30 campsites with electric hookups for those who want to stay overnight.

During the summer, the lake is a lovely place for swimming, scuba diving, non-motorized boating and fishing. It also has a splendid beach area as well as a self-guided nature trail that encircles it.

When winter hits, it is also possible to ice skate or ice fish on the lake too.

3. Black Sandy State Park

Location: 6563 Hauser Dam Rd, Helena, MT 59602

The Black Sandy State Park is another public recreational area that lies on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

Located about an hour and 45 minute drive north from Bozeman, it enjoys a scenic setting on Hauser Lake reservoir’s western shore.

An impoundment of the Missouri River, the park is a haven for those who enjoy water-skiing, canoeing, kayaking and other related activities.

It is also a very popular spot for anglers to catch trout and walleye, while photographers will find plenty of inspiration here too.

The park accommodates 29 campsites with electricity, as well as 6 campsites without electricity. It covers 43 acres that sits at an elevation of 3,835 feet.

4. Beavertail Hill State Park

Location: 29895 Bonita Station Rd, Clinton, MT 59825

If you are into stargazing, the Beavertail Hill State Park is a terrific place to take it all in.

Situated some 2.5 hours northwest of Bozeman, the park is located on the Clark Fork River and covers 65 acres at an elevation of 3,615 feet.

The river provides good options for kayaking, canoeing and fishing, whilst ramblers will enjoy the nature trail which will lead them on a one-hour walk through a dense canopy of cottonwood trees.

Overall there are 24 campsites here that come with electricity, as well as 2 Sioux-style tipi rentals which can comfortably sleep between 6-8 people. You will also find flush toilets, grills and fire rings as well as firewood for sale.

The pet friendly park has an impressive amphitheater, as well as a number of picnic areas. It is also a fabulous place to spot a wide range of native wildlife species too.

5. Placid Lake State Park

Location: 5001 N Placid Lake Rd, Seeley Lake, MT 59868

A 3 hour and 15 minute drive northwest, the Placid Lake State Park is the furthest of all state parks on this list from Bozeman.

Nestled upon a tributary of the Clearwater River, the park is known for its outstanding natural beauty. It also offers fabulous waters for fishing, as well as a range of aquatic activities like swimming, canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding.

Encompassing just 31 acres, the park lies at an elevation of 4,134 feet. It boasts 40 campsites, including 17 that have electricity, as well as a hike-bike camping site which can accommodate 9 tents.

Equipped with food lockers that are bear resistant, these sites also have fire rings, potable water and a covered shelter that houses picnic tables and electrical outlets.

You will also find bicycle racks, flush toilets and a boat launch ramp there too.