Swim, Fish, Boat and More at Lake Elmo
The climate around Billings is considered to be semi-arid. That means we are borderline desert. What comes with this climate is a lot of grasslands, but very few lakes and rivers. While the climate keeps our humidity down, so the extreme hot temperatures do not feel quite as bad, it does mean that we have fewer places to swim. As the temperatures remain hot, one of these days you should head up to Lake Elmo State Park and see what it has to offer if you have never been there before. While the main attraction is to swim at the “beach,” you can also walk the nature path that wraps around the lake, or visit the Fish Wildlife and Parks office. The park is a great place to spend an entire day.
The main attraction at Lake Elmo is the beach. If you have lived in Billings long, you will know that the beach has not always been there. Several years ago the area was spruced up and many tons of sand were trucked in. The result was a fantastic place to lay your beach towel while you swim, float, sunbathe or relax. Don’t worry, bathrooms were fixed up too so you have a comfortable place to take care of business.
If swimming is not your thing, or you are visiting the park in the winter (Lake Elmo State Park is open year round from 5am to 10pm), you can walk the 1.4-mile nature path that goes around the lake. You can scope out wildlife, wander through the trees, and get some exercise. While I have never fished in Lake Elmo, you can do so. According to the Fish Wildlife and Parks the lake contains trout, perch, channel catfish, bass, crappies, sunfish, and tiger muskies.
On the east shores of the lake are the Fish Wildlife and Parks regional office. Open weekdays from 8am to 5pm. The interpretive center is full of great information on the areas around Billings, including information on all the wildlife you can find nearby. Just outside the offices is a boat dock that is open for public use. Just remember, there are no motorized boats allowed on the lake.
A recent addition to the park that I had never heard of is the fact that there is now a dog park located on the west side of the lake. It is a 200 square foot area enclosed by a fence. Here dogs that are over 4 months old can run and play. If you do take your dog, make sure he or she is on a leash anywhere else in the park, and be courteous, clean up after them.
If you have yet to check out Lake Elmo, I highly recommend it. As a Montana resident, admission to the park is free. If you have out of state license plates it is a mere $5 per car. Getting to the lake is easy; just take Main Street through the heights, and just before the junction with Roundup Road, head west on Pemberton Lane. You will bump right into the lake. For those who are visual learners, here’s a map. I recommend getting up there before the weather gets cold so you can swim, but the park does offer fun all year round.
blog comments powered by Disqus