Park Lake Campground

Clancy, Montana

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Nestled among lodgepole pine and Engelman spruce, this five-acre mountain lake appears as a thoughtful gift from Mother Nature. In reality, it is man-made, part of a late-1800s mountain reservoir system built to provide water for mining operations farther down the mountain. Unlike the mines in nearby Butte, the treasure here was silver, not copper, and the ore mined from this area was so rich that taking it to Fort Benton and shipping it to Swansea, Wales, still created a significant profit for the mining companies. Millions of dollars worth of silver was extracted in the 1890s alone, and reminders of mining history are prevalent for those who take the time to explore. Park Lake, with its clear blue water shimmering against the lushly forested mountains, proves that not every remnant of placer mining is a blight on the landscape. Keep this setting in mind to soften the hammering you’ll encounter on the access road’s washboard sections on the climb into the Boulder Mountains. Always a popular escape for Helena Valley residents, this area may be a bit too noisy for those seeking a quiet weekend getaway. But, come Monday, the area returns to its placid mountain splendor.
Best Tent Camping: Montana

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Best Tent Camping: Montana

by Jan and Christina Nesset (Menasha Ridge Press)

Nestled among lodgepole pine and Engelman spruce, this five-acre mountain lake appears as a thoughtful gift from Mother Nature. In reality, it is man-made, part of a late-1800s mountain reservoir system built to provide water for mining operations farther down the mountain. Unlike the mines in nearby Butte, the treasure here was silver, not copper, and the ore mined from this area was so rich that taking it to Fort Benton and shipping it to Swansea, Wales, still created a significant profit for the mining companies. Millions of dollars worth of silver was extracted in the 1890s alone, and reminders of mining history are prevalent for those who take the time to explore.

Park Lake, with its clear blue water shimmering against the lushly forested mountains, proves that not every remnant of placer mining is a blight on the landscape. Keep this setting in mind to soften the hammering you’ll encounter on the access road’s washboard sections on the climb into the Boulder Mountains. Always a popular escape for Helena Valley residents, this area may be a bit too noisy for those seeking a quiet weekend getaway. But, come Monday, the area returns to its placid mountain splendor.

© 2017 Jan and Christina Nesset/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Campgrounds
Nearby City: Clancy
Campsites: 22 Sites
Season: May-November
Additional Use: Boat Launch, Swimming, Tubing, Boating, Fishing, Camping
Features: Wildflowers
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: Helena National Forest. 406-449-5201, www.fs.usda.gov/helena
Fees per Night: $8
Facilities: Water spigots, vault toilets, boat launch.
Driving Directions: Directions to Park Lake Campground

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Apr 2018