Enjoy the Yellowstone at Sportsman’s Park
The Yellowstone River gets its start deep in the heart of Yellowstone National Park. It starts as a small stream and works its way through a good portion of Montana. By the time it gets to the Billings area it has grown to be quite large and moving a significant amount of water. This river is not only important to our ecosystem and well-being; it is also a great place to recreate. There are many fish species that make the Yellowstone their home, and one of the places to catch those fish is at Sportsman’s Park between Laurel and Park City.
Sportsman’s Park, also called Buffalo Mirage fishing access, is just a little closer to Park City than it is to Laurel. The actual park is only about 16 acres, but the access to the river here is amazing. Driving into the park looks like driving up to any other fishing site. But instead of a parking area, there is access to drive right down to the water. In fact there is a huge river rock “beach” that is great for playing on.
Just because most people go to the area to fish does not mean that is all that you can do there. You can drive down to the water and launch your boat (yes, the Yellowstone is in fact big enough for a boat, something most people do not realize). Recently while at Sportsman’s I saw at least one person racing around on a four-wheeler. In the past I have used the area to duck hunt (make sure you go far away from the more popular areas of the park if you are going to be bird hunting there). But probably the most fun at the area is during the heat of the summer. Spending a hot day swimming and floating in the river is a great relaxing activity. If none of those things sound like fun, just spend the afternoon in the shade of the cottonwood trees enjoying a picnic and the scenery.
Many of the areas that I write about are easy to get to. This one is not too difficult, but it does take a little more planning that just driving down the road (here is a map). The easiest way to Sportsman’s Park is to go into Laurel and just before going under the train tracks, head west on West Railroad Street. This road will take you by the pond, under the interstate and wrap you through the farmland. The road changes names a few times, but just keep going on the main road. You will end up on S. Park City Road, and after just over a mile you will see the sign for Buffalo Mirage fishing access pointing you down Sportsman’s Park Road. Take the road all the way until it turns to gravel and then keep going until it dead ends at the river.
If you do go to enjoy the area, use your common sense. The river looks calm, but it is still moving quickly. Respect the area and clean up after yourself. Other than that, get out there and have some fun on this amazing river that runs through our backyard.