When anyone mentions the word park in the same sentence as Montana, it’s usually in relation to the ‘Big Sky’ state’s vast and impressive national or even state park regions. But what if we considered for a moment the more regular, local-style parks?
Aside from the national and state parks in Montana, there are also regional and local parks that can be equally as impressive as some of the larger areas.
When you consider the landscape and terrain of Montana on the whole it’s not that surprising that pretty much all of the surrounding areas of any populated region are going to be on the natural and scenic side of things, whatever particular designation it may have.
The bonus feature of any smaller park though, especially for those with children, is that there is more likelihood of other features that will help to keep the youngsters occupied for a while.
This could be a kids’ playground area, tennis courts, or a skate park, and it is going to work out much better for many parents than trying to encourage the unwilling little ones along a hike in a national park that may be a little on the taxing side for their tender age.
So let’s have a closer look at some of the smaller, regional and local parks in Montana that form part of the towns and cities across the state.
Ten Parks in Montana
- Elk’s Riverside Park
- Mount Helena City Park
- Story Mill Park
- Zimmerman Park
- Greenough Park
- Gallatin County Regional Park
- Riverfront Park
- Big Sky Community Park
- Lewis and Clark Park
- Sacagawea Park
1. Elk’s Riverside Park, Great Falls
This Montana Park is located in Great Falls and stretches along the Missouri River, which borders the park. This is a great area for enjoying the outdoors in Great Falls without having to travel too far out of the way. This is a nice open space that connects to the River’s Edge Trail just in case you do want to go a bit further.
Here you’ll find a variety of activities to indulge in including Tennis Courts, Horseshoe pits, and a skate park. There is also a picnic area and restroom facilities, so you’ll never feel too far out of your way in this local Montana Park.
2. Mount Helena City Park, Helena
If you are staying in the Montana capital city and fancy a break from the urban areas for a while without heading off to another region entirely, this park is ideal. Mount Helena City Park has many trails that can easily keep you occupied for the whole day. The trails have various names and are suitable for various levels.
The 1906 Trail is the easiest route to the top of the mountain, and the Prairie Trail includes slightly more challenging terrain lined with prairie wildflowers.
The Backside Trail takes you through an open woodland area, and the Hogback Trail comprises somewhat more rugged terrain. The Prospector Trail includes a variety of scenery, and the West End Trail is the furthest and most remote section of the park and is an ideal place to get a bit of quiet relaxation for an afternoon.
There is a parking lot and an information kiosk located at the trailhead, and this park is a great way to explore the local vicinity and take in some great views without going too far from the city.
3. Story Mill Park, Bozeman
The 60-acre Story Mill Community Park is quite a recent addition to Bozeman, and it is actually the largest park in the town. There is a range of activities to suit everyone in this park, including four miles of trails, an adventure playground for kids complete with treehouses, and a boulder for climbing on.
The park has an enclosed area for dogs, and there are various pavilions that can apparently be rented out for certain events or occasions.
To top that there is a 40-acre nature sanctuary with 15-acres of wetlands rich with birds and other wildlife. There is also a mile or more of restored river frontage along the East Gallatin River, and fishing is allowed here.
4. Zimmerman Park, Billings
Zimmerman Park is an impressive county park located on the Rim rocks and is something of a haven for hiking, mountain biking, and climbing routes, not to mention spectacular city views.
The Rim rocks are natural geological formations of sandstone that run through the city of Billings. The impressive views of the city and the variety of outdoor recreation opportunities at Zimmerman Park make it a top choice as far as local Montana parks go.
In addition, the park is a great way to get up and out of the city regions for an afternoon or a day, and lose yourself in the natural expanse of the landscape surrounding Billings.
5. Greenough Park, Missoula
This Montana Park in Missoula is the most natural one that you are likely to find within the vicinity of the city. It was apparently a gift to the city by a family going by the name of Greenough, who generously donated the 42 acres of land.
The park is located close to Rattlesnake Creek and features paved and natural trails through forested park areas, as well as various footbridges and picnic tables and shelters. There is a playground, various play equipment for kids, a volleyball court, a jogging trail, and fishing opportunities.
The park has restrooms and you’ll also find a spot of local public art in the park by way of a glass mosaic on a rock.
6. Gallatin County Regional Park, Bozeman
To the west side of Bozeman and between Oak and Baxter, Gallatin County Regional Park is an easily accessible park with some great trails that shouldn’t be missed if you are in the area. This is almost 90-acres of natural, wide-open park area with endless opportunities for various outdoor pursuits.
The main attraction for many is hiking the 6-odd miles of trails designed in a figure-eight loop around the ponds in the park. Aside from that, there is ponds for fishing, bike trails, picnic areas, and an attached 13-acre dog park. This park is also a popular sledding spot in wintertime.
7. Riverfront Park, Billings
Another of Billings’ many local parks, Riverfront Park provides some great views of the U.S.’ longest free-flowing river by way of the Yellowstone River. The park has a decent trail system running through it which is a great way to take in the impressive natural scenery of the area.
This is another dog-friendly park, so your pet can enjoy the natural open trails as well. As you would expect in any decent park in Montana, there are also a variety of fishing, picnicking and bird watching opportunities going on.
The views here are especially photogenic at sunset, and you can imagine the kind of autumn colors that are likely to come with the fall season.
8. Big Sky Community Park, Big Sky
This local Montana Park covers more than 40 acres of land that is owned and operated by the Big Sky Community Organization. With help from the Trust for Public Land, the organization developed the park with more space and added amenities, right in the heart of Big Sky.
The park is designed to provide recreation for visitors of all ages, and the expanded area attracts both the young and the not-so-young. You can access 3 different trails from the park, and the amenities include restrooms, a playground, softball fields, picnic pavilions, basketball and volleyball courts, tennis & pickleball courts, a skate park, a golf course, fishing access, and climbing boulders.
Camp Big Sky on the eastern side of the park is accessible year-round, and the park is open every day from sunrise until 10 pm daily.
9. Lewis and Clark Park, Belgrade
Belgrade is a small town surrounded by scenic backdrops, but it is also fortunate in that it has its own local park. The Lewis & Clark Park comprises a large playground area, a picnic area with shelter, and lots of wide-open space with grass and trees.
This local outdoor playground is a great place for both families and anyone looking to get some space and quiet time. The park’s amenities include a water park, as well as a recently-opened skate park. The park is also close to a gas station and restaurant in case any supplies are necessary.
10. Sacagawea Park, Livingston
Sacajawea Park is a fair-sized park on a spot that is part of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. The local park region of the trail in Livingston has an abundance of trees and it includes soccer fields, tennis courts, playgrounds, swings, and other structures.
There are also plenty of picnic tables and shelters with great views of the open, grassy areas, as well as restrooms and a few historical statues. The park is open year-round.