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Head to Cooney State Park, a reservoir 40 minutes south of Billings to boat, play in the water, camp and fish. This is the most popular recreation area serving south-central Montana, and it's always a busy place in the summer.
Cooney has been a state park since October of 1970 and new visitor amenities have been added over time. The 97-foot tall earthen dam on Red Lodge Creek that forms the reservoir was constructed in 1937 as part of a larger irrigation project for nearby farmers and ranchers.
Not only does the park have a gorgeous reservoir, but it has great views of the Beartooth Mountains in the background.
Regardless of the season you’ll find excellent fishing for walleye and rainbow trout. And don’t forget, the Red Lodge Arm has a fish cleaning station.
Planning to bring your boat along? You shouldn’t have any issues finding a place to drop in with three boat docks and ramps surrounding the lake.
During the winter, some people enjoy kite-skiing across the lake.
Camping is plentiful at Cooney State Park with five campgrounds and 82 campsites, 19 of which have electricity. While the electricity in the campgrounds is on year-round, be aware the water is shut off during the winter months.
There are also three day-use group areas available around the lake.
The Montana State Parks Foundation helps fund work at parks, for more information log on to www.montanastateparksfoundation.org.