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Sacajawea Hotel Blog

Cool Down with a Swim: Local Lakes and Places to Relax in the Water

Posted by Sacajawea Hotel on Jul 25, 2019, 9:00:00 AM


When the weather warms up, it’s time to start finding ways to cool down. When you’re out in Montana, where we go big for river miles, you sometimes need a break with a refreshing lake swim. Here are our favorite places to go for a dip near Three Forks.

Three Forks Ponds

The Three Forks Ponds are an obvious choice since they’re so conveniently located. You can borrow one of the Sacajawea’s classic beach cruisers and pedal your way through neighborhood streets to get to the dock. You have three ponds to choose from, but we’d recommend the middle one for some water time. That’s where you’ll find the dock and grassy park to spread out a picnic blanket and dip your toes in.

Harrison Lake

Harrison Lake is only about 45 minutes out of town, and the mountain views are unrivaled. This is a big spot for boaters and folks fishing, but there’s a big sandy beach where you can access the water easily, or you can swim off of the boat launch. It’s the perfect spot to bring your SUP—just remember that Montana requires you clean, drain and dry your watercraft to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Canyon Ferry Reservoir

Weighing in as Montana’s third-largest body of water at 35,181 acres with 76 miles of shoreline, Canyon Ferry leaves you plenty of places to play. Just south of Helena, this is one of the top areas in Montana to get out on the water. Lewis and Clark passed through long before the dam created this expanse of open water, but you’re still paddling in their footsteps when you head out for some aqua fun.

Ennis Lake

Make your way south to Ennis Lake and go for a dip in the clear water. It’s best known for unparalleled fishing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a little swim in. Formed by a dam built on the Madison River in Bear Trap Canyon, Ennis Lake may be man-made, but its beauty is all-natural. Since it’s so shallow (it has an average water depth of eight feet), don’t expect icy refreshing temps on a hot day, but it’s a good bet for an early-season swim since it’ll be warmer than most other lakes around.

Places more designed for splashing around

For Whether you want to have some easy fun for the kiddos or just get your feet wet and relax, here are a couple smaller scale options...


Whitehall Pool

If you want your swimming to come with a little chlorine, the Whitehall outdoor pool is only 30 minutes away. This community pool is on for open swim most afternoons, so you can get a workout in and then enjoy some lounging arou.

Fishing Access Sites

Okay, you’re not going to be able to do laps in the river, but there are so many options for splashing around when you add in all the fishing access sites. With three rivers (you know, since we’re in Three Forks), you have plenty of spots to choose from. Just out of town you’ll find the Drouillard and Milwaukee river accesses, with more in store down at Missouri Headwaters State Park.

Summers in the Three Forks area have loads to do and weeks of good times that come along with them. Let us know how we can help accommodate your summer getaway. 

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Topics: Insider, Montana Vacation, Weekend Getaway, Swim and Soak, Headwaters Insider, For Families, For Couples


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Your Guide to Three Forks, the Headwaters, and the Surrounding Area

Our blog offers a variety of helpful information to inspire your stay at the Sacajawea Hotel. Come for relaxation or take the opportunity to explore an area filled with indoor and outdoor activities, historical adventures, exciting events and much more. Whether you are looking for a luxurious getaway or a little excitement, we're here to help make your trip an unforgettable experience.


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