The Loch Leven fishing access site and campground are located on the east bank of the Yellowstone River in the middle of Paradise Valley. The site is located on Hwy 541 (East River Road) 14 miles south of Livingston. There are 17 campsites in an open field along the river. Loch Leven is a popular site for floaters and fly fishers.
|Number of sites||17 campsites|
|2021 camping Fee||$5.00 – $18.00|
|Amenities||Vault Toilets, Picnic tables, Fire rings|
|Accessible||Some sites and all latrines|
|Attractions||Fly fishing, river floating, nearby hiking, scenic views|
|Nearest City||Livingston, MT – 15 miles|
Directions to Loch Leven Campground
Loch Leven is at the end of a 1.5-mile gravel road that intersects with Hwy 541 (East River Road) 14 miles south of Livingston. Visitors coming from Yellowstone Park or Gardiner can take US 89 north to the Mill Creek road and connect to 541 just across the Yellowstone River. Take 541 north for 3 1/4 miles to the Loch Leven road.
The road leading into the campground travels straight for about a half-mile where it makes a sharp turn to the left and continues on to end at a boat ramp area and the camping area.
There are 17 campsites at Loch Leven. All are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There are no reservations! The campsites are rather sparse with a table and fire ring in each site. There are vault toilets but no water or trash removal.
While there are unmarked spots where it looks like you could camp, camping is only allowed in designated sites. If you are unable to find a campsite here you might try Mallard’s Rest Fishing Access Site which is a couple of miles downstream on the opposite side of the river. The Dan Bailey Access is just a few miles south on Hwy 541 but, with only 4 campsites, it’s very small.
Fees and Payments
There is a nightly camping fee that must be paid on-site. There is no option for credit card payment – cash only! Come with cash – the nearest ATM is a long way away.
Loch Leven sits on the riverbanks and there is a row of mature cottonwood trees lining the river. However, these trees don’t extend inland and the campground area is open and bare. The campsites are in a large field that is usually dry.
Although most of the campsites are rather stark, there are excellent views of the Absaroka Mountains that form the eastern edge of Paradise Valley.
The Yellowstone River is a world-class trout stream. While it’s possible to fish right in the access site, most anglers seek out easier sections to wade. The Loch Leven Picnic Area (see below) is a mile and a half downstream and a better place to fish.
The Loch Leven boat ramp is a popular spot for float fishers to put in or take out their boat. Many fly fishing float trips start or finish here.
Rafts, kayaks, paddleboards, and even inner tubes are used for floating this section of the Yellowstone. With lots of river accesses to chose from it’s easy to plan a great float. Inquire at Dan Baileys in Livingston for more information.
Loch Leven Picnic Area
The picnic area is part of the Loch Leven Fishing Access. It’s about 1 1/2 miles downstream from the campground. The picnic area is reached from the access road into the campground. At the point where the road turns sharply to the left for the campground, it also turns to the right to lead to the picnic area.
The picnic area is day-use only. No camping is allowed. There are picnic tables and a vault toilet. This is one of the better places for swimming in the river. there is a sandy-type beach on a gentler stretch of the river. However, there is still a strong current so always take care. Be especially attentive to children who should never be allowed to play in the river without wearing a floatation device.
Hiking near Loch Leven
Loch Leven is situated between the Mill Creek and Pine Creek drainages which are two of the best hiking areas in Paradise Valley. For a short hike try the Pine Creek Falls trail, a 2 1/2 mile round trip to a beautiful waterfall. For a little longer hike on an easy trail, Passage Creek Falls is a popular choice.