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Holland Falls, Montana

Holland Falls is located in the region of north-western Montana, near the small town of Condon off Highway 83. The 50-foot falls drain from the rather scenic 400-acre lake of the same name and provide some fabulous views of the incredible Swan Range, just to the west of the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

The falls and lake are one of the state’s lesser-known natural bodies of water and falls but are nevertheless a popular spot for locals and anyone else lucky enough to happen across them.

Even better, the falls can be accessed by heading along the Seely-Swan Scenic Drive on Highway 83 between Seeley Lake and Swan Lake.

The long stretch of highway is a beautiful drive around the lake and falls, and the entire area is very quiet and natural with decent chances of spotting wildlife.

holland falls
Image: Forest Service Northern Region

Getting to Holland Falls and other Recreation

The trailhead for the popular and easy Holland Falls National Recreation Trail starts at the parking area just east of the Bay Loop of the campground.

The 1.6-mile trail climbs 750 feet along a ridge on the side of the mountain and provides some great views of the lake below and the other surrounding mountains. The shoreline leads along to the base of Holland Falls. Here you can take in the awesome natural beauty of the cascading falls.

When you are done with the falls and any other hiking, swimming, fishing, or water activities, you may want to spend a night either at the campground near the lake.

If that doesn’t sound like your thing, alternatively you will find the intimate Holland Lake Lodge is available for reservations.

Holland Lake

holland lake
Image: Forest Service Northern Region

Holland Lake stretches 413 acres and sits right on the western edge of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. Besides offering some excellent fly fishing and scenery, the lake also provides a day-use area near the campground.

It also serves as a major trailhead for entry into the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area, although Holland Lake itself is anything but a wilderness lake.

Various residences are in fact dotted within the lake’s vicinity, although again this is far from a typical summer getaway lake like Flathead.

The lake is still incredibly popular for recreational boating and waterskiing, particularly on summer weekend days when the lake can be hectic.

Fishing the Lake

Holland Lake is not overly-used during the low season though, and if you plan on fishing the lake, always go for fall or spring weekdays. Fishing pressure itself is quite low—most use on the lake consists of pleasure boating, not fishing.

Holland Lake has some excellent fishing and anglers can look forward to catching a variety of trout including cutthroat, rainbow, and bull trout, along with whitefish and the occasional kokanee salmon.

The FWP stocks the lake on an annual basis in order to maintain decent levels.

Due to the fairly large size of the lake, and the private residences and property dotted around it, shore fishing isn’t really the approach here.

Thus boats such as canoes, motorboats, kayaks, etc, can all be employed in the search for fish, and as it turns out much of the best trout fishing is found along the shoreline, especially in the morning and evening hours.

Holland Lake is very easy to access by just a short drive up a gravel road from Highway 83.

Camping near the Holland Falls

The Holland Lake Campground is a 38-site facility set right along the lake shores in the Swan Valley. At elevations over 4,000 feet, the campground sits amidst Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir trees, in the heart of nature. Some of the sites are very close to the lake, while others are a bit higher on the bank.

This is a great campground from which to take in what the Flathead National Forest has to offer. From the campground, there are a number of options for hiking up to and around the scenic Holland Falls National Recreation Trail.

Reservations are available for 24 of the sites at this campground, with the others operating on a first-come, first-served basis.

Amenities include a boat ramp to the lake as well as trailer parking, seasonal drinking water, toilets, a group site for both tent and RV camping, and picnic tables and campfire rings with grills on all sites.

There are no electricity or sewer hookups at the campground though, but you will find a dump/fill station within a 15-minute walk of the campground. Stays are limited to 16 consecutive days, and the parking areas are largely covered in gravel, dirt, or grass.

To get to the campground from Highway 83 head east on Holland Lake Road (mileage marker #35) and keep going to the next intersection with Owl Creek Loop Road. Bear left for Holland Lake Road after that and the entrance points to all sites are just a bit further down the road.

Just half a mile away is the Owl Creek Packer Camp, a favorite with anyone indulging in a spot of horseback riding as the horses get access to water and feed bunks too. This spot also operates on a first-come, first-served basis, and is available to rent for around $20.00 per day

But for those that aren’t into camping, the nearby Holland Lake Lodge contains 6 cabins and 9 rooms. This is a rustic-looking lakeside resort that nevertheless reportedly offers a dining experience and wine list to be remembered.

Conclusion

The Holland Falls and their surrounding environment are located in a beautiful natural region of the state, where some of the most stunning scenery can be enjoyed.

Along with that, this lake is somewhat more ‘undiscovered’ than many of the larger, more well-known lakes in the area, and so offers the chance of a bit more solitude or privacy.

Whether you come here as a lover of waterfalls and other stunning natural water features or just as an outdoor type—you’ll be sure to find a wonderfully-pleasant experience at these falls and the accompanying lake with their subtle natural beauty.

 

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