This lesser-known lake in Montana, Holland Lake, is a highly popular destination with locals.
The beautiful location of the lake is perfect for a relaxing day. The lake and picnic area, waterfall, and trails are easily accessible from Highway 83 near Cordon, Montana.
Holland Lake is backdropped by the Swan Range, a gorgeous portion of the Kootenay Mountains, bordering the Mission Mountains. The lake itself lies on the western edge of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area.
There is lots to do at the lake with hiking, swimming, fishing, paddling, and camping, plus other nearby amenities and activities the whole family can enjoy.
Holland Lake Stats
Holland Lake is a 400-acre lake with fabulous views of the incredible Swan Range.
Hike out on an easy trail of 1.6 miles from the parking and have a relaxing day on the lake, have a weekend enjoying the campgrounds (parking closer, of course!), or hike in from the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area.
- Size: 413 acres
- Season: Lake open Year-round
- Campsites open from Mid-May to late September
- Number of campsites, RV parks: 41 campsites
Holland Lake has a large collection of activities both at the lake and nearby.
With boating, hiking, fly fishing, waterskiing, swimming, and more, Holland Lake makes for the perfect spot for outdoor activities for the whole family.
If you want to take a boat out on the lake, there’s access to Holland Lake near the Holland Lake Campground. The primitive boat launch area is accessible from sunrise to sunset.
If you want to rent a boat – motorized or manual – there are plenty of choices around. Grab a canoe, speedboat, kayak, pontoon boat, or others from the companies nearby.
The 400-acre lake is a great spot for swimming – either for day visitors or overnight guests at the campgrounds.
The lake offers beautiful views of the Swan Range, so splashing around in the water isn’t just about exercise – it’s about beauty.
The water can be cooler but it’s not as frigid as glacier-fed lakes in the area.
Right at the lake, there’s a 41-site tent or RV campground at the Holland Lake Campground. Some of the sites are on a first-come-first-serve basis, while others are reservable.
The campsites are equipped with campfire rings with grills, tables, and parking areas, all located within walking distance of shared bathroom spaces.
Note that there are no sewer or electricity hookups though there is a dump station about 1/4 mile from the campground.
Galleries and Museums
In the vicinity, you’ll find museums, art galleries, and other fun, educational experiences and venues. Most are located within about an hour and 20 minutes of the lake, though the Grizzly Claw Trading Company is in the next town over.
- The Forest Service Museum
- 4 Ravens Gallery
- Montana Museum of Art and Culture
- Missoula Artist’s Gallery & Shop
- Zootown Arts Community Center
- Upper Swan Valley Historical Society
- Montana Natural History Center
- Missoula Art Museum
- Miracle of America Museum
- Seeley Lake Historical Museum and Visitor Center
Scenic Drives and Vistas
The long stretch of highway is a beautiful drive around the lake and surrounding forest area where you’ll likely spot wildlife, birds, and, of course, the stunning vistas and mountain ranges in the area.
As you hike, bike, or drive through the area, you’ll have the opportunity to see a variety of wildlife and birds – both large game and small animals, well-known bird species, and lesser-known.
Large game (particularly predators) are least likely to be spotted, but there’s always a chance. Some of the most likely critters to spot out on the trails and meadows include
- Mountain goats
- Bighorn sheep
- Mountain lions
- Black bear
- Grizzly bear
Birds you might spot while out hiking include
- Bald eagles
- Northern hawk owls
- Common loons
- Clark’s nutcrackers
- Harlequin ducks
- American dippers
Holland Lake is well-known to locals and visitors as a great fishing spot. You’ll find cutthroat trout, whitefish, rainbow trout, and bull trout regularly. The occasional kokanee salmon can also be found while on the lake.
The Montana Forest Wildlife and Parks regularly stocks the lake with the salmon and cutthroat trout to keep the population up and growing.
Trails throughout the Flathead National Forest provide off-road cyclists with plenty of opportunities to get in some miles while near Lake Holland.
Be sure to bring proper safety gear, wear bright colors, and have fully charged lights in case darkness falls while you’re out or clouds darken too much for clarity while you ride.
There’s also plenty of hiking throughout the area. One of the most popular trails is the family-friendly hike to Holland Falls. See below for detailed information on the best trails close by.
While you’re near Holland Lake, pop over to Seeley Lake for shopping. You’ll find gift shops, boutiques, bookstores, galleries, and more for all your shopping needs. Or head over to other cities in the area for even more shopping.
Other Water Sports
On Holland Lake, you can try out a variety of other water sports, including waterskiing, paddle boarding, wakeboarding, kneeboarding, or kiteboarding. For most sports, if you don’t have the equipment, you will find rentals with nearby companies.
Some companies offering rentals include
If you’re planning to visit the area when swimming and water sports wouldn’t be so great (brr!), the winter sports in the area are highly praised. The trails are well-maintained in the National Forest for great opportunities.
Some of the most popular winter sports include cross-country skiing, ice skating, ice fishing, and snowshoeing.
What trip to Montana could be complete without some horseback riding adventures? Near Holland Lake, there are plenty of ranches to take tours with for a guided, safe time – no matter your skill or experience level.
Some of the most popular companies to ride with include
There are multiple trails at varying skill levels in and around Lake Holland and Flathead National Forest.
Holland Lake and Falls Trail
Holland Lake and Falls Trail is a 3.3-mile out-and-back hike that leads from parking to Holland Lake and Holland Falls. It’s an easy route that takes most people 1 hour and 30 to 40 minutes to accomplish there and back.
The trail is popular among day visitors, hikers, campers, fishers, and dog walkers. Be aware that dogs must be on a leash.
The best times to visit are from May to October.
- Distance: 3.3 miles
- Difficulty: Easy
- Elevation gain: 485 ft
- Route Type: Out and back
Holland Peak Trail
For hikers with a bit more experience and time on their hands, the Holland Peak Trail at 9.1 miles is a great option. It’s considered a challenging or difficult route and takes most folks about 7 and a half hours to complete.
The trail is an out-and-back trek that hikers and nature lovers enjoy.
No dogs are allowed on this trail, so leave them at home!
Do prepare properly for the hike, as well, with plenty of water, some snacks, and standard safety gear like reflective wear and emergency kits.
- Distance: 9.1 miles
- Difficulty: Difficult
- Elevation gain: 5,633 ft
- Route Type: Out and back
Holland Falls National Recreation Trail #416
Perhaps the busiest trail in the Swan Range, the Holland Falls National Recreation Trail #416 starts just east of the Holland Lake Lodge. The attractive trail incorporates several terrains and a bridge, leading the way to the waterfall.
Much of the Holland Falls Trail #416 follows the shoreline of the lake, climbing only slightly. The trail is easy and most folks can enjoy it.
Dogs are welcome but must be leashed. It’s a family-friendly trail though not stroller friendly. There are some roots and obstacles that kids can navigate but not all-terrain wheels.
- Distance: 1.6 miles
- Difficulty: Easy
- Elevation gain: 750 ft
- Route Type: Out and back