Camping, Hiking and Traveling in Montana

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Hike Index
H=Hike   C=Camp   V=Visit     S=Ski

Livingston Area
  Elephanthead Mtn. H

Paradise Valley
  S. Fk. Deep Creek H
  Pine Creek H,C
  George Lake H
  Passage Creek Falls H
  Crow Mountain H

Big Timber Area
  Boulder River H,C,V
  Natural Bridge Falls H,C,V
  Big Timber Creek Falls  H,C,V
  West Boulder Meadows H,C
  Twin Lakes  H,C
  Prairie Dog State.Park   V

Bozeman Area
  
Chestnut Mountain H
  Goose Creek H,S
  Mystic Lake H
  Lava Lake H

Central Montana
  Little Belt Mountains H,C,V,S
  Castle Mountains H,C
  Central MT Railroading V
  Cooney Reservoir C,V
  Crystal Lake H,C,V
  Judith Mountains V
  Judith Gap Wind Farm V
  Moccasin Mountains V

The Yellowstone River
  Upper Yellowstone Floating
  Yankee Jim Canyon

Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness
  Anvil Lake H,C
  Beartooth Lake H,C,V
  Beartooth Highway V
  Island Lake H,C,V

Western Montana
  Painted Rocks Rec Area V,C
  Salmon Lake State Park V,C
  Warm Spring Ponds  V


Cooney Reservoir and State Park


        Cooney Reservoir is one of the most popular recreation destinations in south central Montana. Located within an hour of Billings, MT Cooney offers great fishing opportunities for trout and walleye and Cooney is a popular destination for ice fishing in the winter. Cooney also provides a great place for water skiers, wake boarders, jet skis and all types of water recreation. Cooney State park offers camping, picnicking and hiking. With five different campgrounds, Cooney State Park has something for almost everyone.

      Cooney Reservoir was created in 1937 when the State of Montana constructed a dam across Red Lodge Creek. The earthen dam is 2,260 ft long and stands 97 feet high. The dam was constructed to store water for irrigation and
Cooney Reservoir and State Park
     Cooney Reservoir is a very popular fishing and boating destination. The State Park the wraps around the lake features lots of camping and hiking opportunities.
the reservoir can store about 24,000 acre feet of water. Red Lodge Creek drains an area of about 200 square miles above the reservoir and 20,000 acres are irrigated with water released from Cooney. In 2013, a major upgrade was scheduled to be completed on the concrete weir that is part of the dam. These improvements will allow for more effective water management.

      Cooney Reservoir and State Park are very easy to access. The access road is a well signed road which turns west from hwy 212 south of Joliet, MT. The road is well marked and appropriate for all types of vehicles. The state park has multiple campgrounds and boat ramps. It is a good idea to check out the Cooney State Park Map before you go. The 300 acre state park stretches around Cooney Reservoir and provides access at many points.
Paddle boarder on Cooney Reservoir
     A lone stand-up paddle boarder explores the shorelines of Cooney Reservoir. Cooney is a very popular destination for all toes of water recreation..

     Cooney State Park is a fee area. For day use, there is no charge for any Montana resident. However, for non-residents there is a $5.00 fee for day use. All campers are required to pay fees which vary according to campsite type and other factors.

     Cooney Reservoir is the feature that attracts most visitors. With about 1,000 acres of surface, Cooney provides great fishing year round. While most anglers are attracted by the excellent walleye and trout fishing, the reservoir is home to perch, crappie and other fish species. Boat fishing is most popular but at times, shore angling produces great results. In winter, Cooney provides some of the best ice fishing in the area.

     While Cooney Reservoir is "towards the mountains", it is not in the mountains. The elevation is about 4,250 feet and the water warms to great swimming temperatures in the summer. Cooney is a very popular destination for all types of water re creationists. Water skiing and wake boarding are very popular as are jet skis. If you visit Cooney in the summer plan on sharing the lake with plenty of others!

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