Hauser Lake, Montana

Hauser Lake is a lake in Montana near the outskirts of Helena, Montana. This lake was produced by the Hauser Dam on the Missouri River, which created formed a reservoir. The lake is an extremely popular site for fishing, boating, and water skiing.

The reservoir is 3,200 acres and the lake is far from shallow with the deepest area reaching 70 feet. There are several campgrounds nearby where visitors can stay well visiting the lake.

The lake is also near several recreational areas including the Black Sandy State Park.

Hauser Lake is open all seasons, but there are certainly times when it is more enjoyable. The most popular times to visit the lake are generally the summer because the temperatures are warmer and so more activities such as water skiing are available to do.

However, the lake can also get quite crowded during the summer months. Generally, the best time to visit Hauser Lake is in late May or early June, because the temperatures are still warm, but the crowds aren’t as bad yet.

If you’re into ice fishing, winter also isn’t a bad time to visit as the lake is considered decent for the activity.

This is a good-sized lake that is less well known, making it a good spot to go for various recreational activities such as water skiing and fishing.

hauser lake
Image: James St. John

Getting to Hauser Lake

Hauser Lake is closest to the city of Helena, so it’s likely you’ll be heading from there. The lake is not easy to get to by bike or foot unless you are staying at one of the campgrounds nearby, so it’s best to plan on driving.

It’s about 7 miles from the city and the journey takes about 24 minutes.

You’ll want to drive east on York Road from Helena to Sands Road. This will take about twenty minutes. Then you’ll turn right onto Sands Road and you should arrive at Hauser Lake shortly after.

Assuming you’re coming from Helena, this is not too bad of a drive.

Camping at Hauser Lake

camping at hauser lake
Image: James St. John

Hauser Lake has a few campsites new to it, making it an ideal place for those who want to stay overnight.

There are four campsites near Hauser Lake: White Sandy Campground, Devil’s Elbow Recreation Site, Grey Sandy Campground, and Black Sandy State Park.

Each one offers its own unique benefits. All are relatively close to Hauser Lake as well.

White Sandy Campground

White Sandy Campground is on the west side of Hauser Lake. At the campsite, you can see Eldorado Bar and the Big Belt mountains.

This campsite has 32 campsites and is available for RVs, travel trailers, and tents. This site provides only non-electric campsites for RV owners.

There is a large boat launch with a courtesy dock and vault toilets. The campsite also offers potable water and garbage dumpsters.

Each campsite is on flat ground and has a fire ring and grill gate. The campsite also has several picnic tables. It’s right by Hauser Lake so won’t have to walk far to fish, swim, or water ski.

Devil’s Elbow Recreation Site

Devil’s Elbow is a 48-site campground in a shrub-steppe landscape, surrounded by sagebrush.

You get a nice view of the lake and mountains well staying here. There are five campsites available only for tents, but the rest are open to RVs and camper trailers as well. No campsites offer electricity.

Devil’s Elbow features a boat launch with a courtesy dock and overnight dock slips. These docks are first-come, first served. T

here are vault toilets across the campsite, potable water, and dumpsters. There is a fire ring and grill gate, and a picnic table at every campsite. Fishers will also enjoy the fish cleaning station that this campsite offers.

Grey Sandy Campground

Grey Sandy Campground is a private campground with several tents and RV campsites.

The campsite is about a block away from Hauser Lake. This campground offers both full and partial hookups for RV owners. There are also three dry cabins guests can stay in. It costs roughly $60 a night to stay here.

Grey Sandy Campground has quite a few amenities. There is a community gas fire pit that guests can enjoy, renovated laundry and private bath/showers, and some spots feature a pergola for shade.

Most sites also feature a fire pit and picnic table.

Black Sandy State Park

Black Sandy State Park is a recreational area and campground offering 29 campsites. The majority of them offer electricity, with only six that do not.

These campgrounds are available for both tents and RVs. Many people enjoy the activities offered at the park, which include hiking and wildlife viewing. But it’s also great for activities at the lake, as it’s right by Hauser Lake.

The campsite has a boat launch and boat slips on a first come, first served basis. The campsite has water, both flush and vault toilets, and dumpsters. There are firepits at the campsite and picnic tables as well. 

Hauser Lake Activities

hauser lake activities

Hauser Lake has several fun activities guests can enjoy. You can do various recreational activities here, including hiking, fishing, swimming, and boating.


Hauser Lake has some good hiking trails with great views of the mountains and the lake. Black Sandy State Park is a good place to stay if you are interested in hiking because it offers a nice easy trail around the lake.

The Missouri River Walk is a popular trail that is about 1.5 miles. The trail is out of the back and quite easy to complete. It’s a great way to see some good views of the lake and to spot wildlife.


Hauser Lake is a popular place to swim. A good place to swim is at the Lakeside Bar, Restaurant, and Marina.

This bar offers a swimming area and a small beach. There is no lifeguard on duty, so you’ll want to make sure you’re an experienced and confident swimmer.


Hauser Lake is a great place to go boating water skiing, and jet skiing. Most campsites offer boat launches that you are allowed to launch from with a motorized boat.

Additionally, there are several boat rental shops in the city of Helena nearby.


Fishing is perhaps one of the most popular activities at Hauser Lake. The lake has rainbow trout, brown trout, walleye, and perch.

The lake is considered decent for catching fish and is considered to be less heavily fished than more popular lakes.

Hauser Lake–Conclusion

Hauser Lake is overall a great place to go, especially if you’re staying overnight as there are several campsites, each with different amenities and benefits.

There are many recreational activities you can enjoy here including fishing, boating, swimming, and more.

The lake is also close to Helena, so it’s easy to find shops and restaurants nearby if you get sick of camping. Less popular than some other lakes in Montana, Hauser Lake is also slightly less crowded, even in the summer.

Easy to get to and relatively affordable, it is a good choice for anyone interested in boating or similar activities.

This lake is definitely worth looking into if you want to cool off in the summer and enjoy fun outdoor activities at a less well-known location. 

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