Milltown State Park
On the outskirts of Missoula you’ll find Montana’s newest state park MIlltown State Park. Once a Superfund river restoration project, years of hard work from multiple state and federal agencies, non-profits, businesses, and committed volunteers helped make the park what it is today.
Interpretive displays are placed both at the overlook and confluence areas to provide insight into the history of the area. The story of how people have used the park and the confluence of the Blackfoot and Clark Fork Rivers is told from multiple perspectives in these detailed and interesting displays.
Outdoor opportunities and cultural heritage merge at the restored confluence of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers at Milltown providing a unique opportunity for visitors.
The park includes 500 acres of terrain that ranges from restored river bottoms to a pine forested bluff that overlooks the confluence.
The park affords visitors a place to go hiking, biking, fishing, floating and watching for birds and wildlife. The Milltown State Park Overlook is open and features interpretive displays and picnic tables. There are nearly three miles of hiking trails that lead from the Overlook down to the Clark Fork River and its floodplain trails.
The Confluence and Gateway areas, on the north side of the river, saw construction begin in the summer of 2017. The park development include trails, an interpretive plaza and river access. The grand opening for the Confluence area was June 23, 2018.
Among the many stories from the deep past are the Glacial Lake Missoula floods that shaped the landscape thousands of years ago. The Salish and Kalispell know the confluence as the place of bull trout and consider it part of their ancestral home. In 19th century history, Meriwether Lewis made a Fourth of July passage through the confluence and decades later the Mullan Expedition spent a harsh winter there. Beginning in the 1880s, the rivers were dammed to produce power for the mills and communities but at great consequence.
The hopeful story of the Milltown Dam removal and rivers' return offers an opportunity to explore America's changing relationship to the land as well as the benefits that river restoration yields for Montana's families and communities.