Placid Lake State Park in Montana

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Placid Lake State Park

Placid Lake State Park, located in western Montana, is an outdoor playground for recreational fun with swimming, fishing, and boating all available on the beautiful and tranquil, Placid Lake. Read More

  • Go boating on the smooth waters of Placid Lake.
  • Just an hour and a half northeast of Missoula.
  • Placid Lake State Park is an outdoor playground full of recreational fun.
  • Cool off with a dip in the lake.
  • Interpretive signs teach you about the areas ugly history.


Placid Lake State Park is one of the most popular summer destinations in Montana. This picturesque park, known for its good trout fishing and smooth water, sits along a branch of the Clearwater River.

This 32-acre park was recently renovated, making the camping facilities and overall usage a bit more plush. Located on Placid Lake, this park is popular with boaters, fisherman, and swimmers, but there are also volleyball courts, horseshoes, and picnic areas.

Whether you are staying the week or staying the night, a day spent at Placid Lake State Park is one you won't forget.


Placid Lake State Park, in western Montana is just an hour and a half northeast of Missoula. From Missoula, take I-90 east to Hwy 200 east, turn north on Hwy 83. Take County Road 69 west for 3 miles, from there you will see the sign.

Placid Lake State Park just got a facelift. Among the new amenities they have added a coin-operated laundry, hot showers, and 16 permanent boat slots. To control usage, a shower will cost 25 cents for four and a half minutes.

In addition to these upgrades, the park offers 41 camping sites, volleyball courts, a horseshoe pit, flush and vault toilets, public phones, picnic area, trash cans, drinking water, grills/fire-rings, and firewood. RV/Trailers are welcome but size is limited to 25 feet.

For more information about Placid Lake State Park contact the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.

Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks
Placid Lake State Park
3201 Spurgin Road
Missoula, MT 59804
Phone: 406-542-5500, 406-667-6804
Fax: 406-542-5529


Open year round

Some amenities are not offered in the off-season (Oct.1st to April 30th).


  • Camping Fee: $28.00/night
  • Off-Season (Oct.1st to April 30th): $24.00/night
  • Electricity: $6.00
  • Vehicle (non-resident day use): $6.00
  • Walk/Bike (non-resident day use): $4.00/person


Placid Lake State Park offers swimming and boating on the calm and tranquil Placid Lake. Unfortunately, the park is not a place to find solitude as the masses merge on the park during summer weekends. But with all these people starting a volleyball match shouldn't be too difficult.

Day-Use Only
Don't have all weekend, stop in for the day. Drive a mile and a half past the campground on North Shore Road for the day-use only area which includes picnic tables, fire grates, restrooms and a boat dock. Day-use users are also welcomed in the campground area located on the east side of the lake.

With Placid Lake stretched out in front of you, jump in and go for a swim. Swimming access is particularly good at the day-use site on the northeast side of the lake.

16 permanent boat slips were just added to the park. No more hauling your boat in night after night. Placid Lake, surrounded by dense coniferous forests, is a beautiful place to spend the day cruising along the water. Motorized and non-motorized boats are both allowed at this site. Proper registration required.

Placid Lake is known for its fishing. Located along a branch of Clearwater River, the lake is home to rainbow, cutthroat, brown and bull trout, along with whitefish, kokanee salmon, and perch. Before you hook yourself a fine, make sure to obtain a fishing license. Available at local fly and gear shops or through the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.

Placid Lake State Park offers 41 campsites to choose from, all with a picnic table and fire grate, some offer more shade then others. Campsites are first come, first served basis and almost always full on weekends throughout the summer. Two sites are fully accessible to people with disabilities.

There isn't too much roughing it going on here, with the new showers and laundry facilities. RV/trailers cannot be more then 25 feet in length.

Directly near the lake there are only short trails, but for amazing views and a bit of exercise, hike or bike the old logging roads that circle the lake. The roads open up to amazing vistas of the snow capped Mission Mountains. The entire loop is 14 miles long, but turn back early for a shorter excursion.

Interpretive Hikes
Placid Lake State Park didn't use to be a heavily forested recreational oasis, it used to be damaged and over logged. Interpretive panels give accounts of these early days of logging. If you find it hard to imagine the area void of most trees, just look at the massive stumps of the western larch that are still found in the area.

Other Recreation
When you tire of the water head to the volleyball courts and the horseshoe pit. You are sure to find an eager competitor among the crowds.

Wildlife Viewing
Placid Lake State Park is just that, placid, creating a perfect environment for wildlife. Birds particularly enjoy the lake. Keep your eyes and camera focused for sightings of osprey, the common loon, necked grebes, and waterfowl.