The Best Swimming Holes In Montana

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Updated: June 3, 2023
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The brief summers in Montana can get rather warm. Nothing compares to a trip to the lake or a cooling dip in one of Montana’s best swimming holes. There is no shortage of aquatic bodies to dive into when you need to cool off, from neighborhood ponds to picturesque alpine lakes.

We’ve rounded up a handful of our top swimming holes in Montana for you to check out this summer!

Bozeman Beach

Bozeman Beach offers a small sandy paradise along Glen Lake with a landscape of the Bridger mountains. It is situated near Glen Lake Rotary Park on the city’s north side. Additionally, there are beach volleyball courts and convenient kayaking and paddleboarding opportunities. 

The lake is surrounded by trails, and the pier is the ideal place to jump in. It could get a little busy on a hot summer day, but you can generally find a place to set up your beach chair and go for a dip. Most likely, this is the area’s most convenient swimming area. Additionally, it is next to MAP Brewing, one of the most well-known breweries in town, with a view of the lake.

Hyalite Reservoir 

A beautiful landscape of the Hyalite reservoir in Montana

A beautiful landscape of the Hyalite reservoir in Montana.

©Wirestock Creators/

Swimming is only one of the many outdoor activities available at Hyalite Canyon Recreation Area. The mountain runoff water can be quite chilly, so you might want to postpone until later in the season for this one. 

In this stunning location, bordered by mountain ranges, it’s worthwhile to simply laze around in the sun and dive into the water when you start to feel overheated. It feels like a whole new world, even though it is only 30 minutes up Hyalite Canyon Road from downtown Bozeman. 

Bring your pets, kayak or paddleboard, and fishing gear as well. At Hyalite, there are countless trails that surround the lake, taking you through cascades and up to neighboring peaks.

You can hang out at the primary boat launch at the reservoir’s base or drive around the lake to check if a campsite along the reservoir’s edge has a spot open.

Graves Bay

At the base of Graves Creek is a wonderful swimming hole called Graves Bay Swimming Hole. This hole is outstanding due to several factors. You can relax on the rocks surrounding the hole with or without going into the water. 

The hole is suitable for diving, and the water temperature is usually pleasant. Surrounding by high cliffs, If you were to dive from one of the stones, it might be considered cliff jumping. A wonderful beach with stunning mountain views is right next to the swimming hole.

Although Graves Creek flows beautifully into the swimming hole, the water is cooler than it is in the bay. We advise remaining close to the lake to avoid the temperature drop near the creek.

Waterton Lake

Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada. It borders Glacier National Park in Montana in the United States.

Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada. It borders Glacier National Park in Montana in the United States.

©Steve Allen/

After spending the day on the east side, do you fancy Glacier’s Goat Haunt region or crossing the border at Chief Mountain? Don’t miss Canada’s stunning Waterton Lake. 

The lake spans the US/Canada border from north to south. After a long forest walk, you can cool off in complete isolation at the lake’s southern edge. Explore the town of Waterton while canoeing, swimming, or paddle boarding from the northern Canadian side.

Now take our word for it: treat yourself to a stay at the opulent Prince of Wales Hotel for an after-swim splurge.

McDonald Creek Float

Among the best daytime activities in Montana is river floating. Nothing beats packing a small cooler and jumping on a floater tube in the sun for a few hours. This is the perfect way to kick back and relax on a warm summer day. 

The Apgar Village Lodge and Cabins at the base of Lake McDonald are the ideal location from which to launch the McDonald Creek float. Immediately before the Middle Fork of the Flathead River junction, you can exit at the Quarter Circle Bridge.

Johnsrud Park

Johnsrud is a state fishing access point on the Blackfoot River in west-central Montana. Water and facilities are available. The river offers boating and fishing opportunities. There is a boat launch available just for carry-in launches. 

This is a great option for those looking for a more private place to cool off. It’s mostly filled with fishermen hoping to catch fresh dinner. The water will be yours to enjoy in peace as you please! 

The Blackfoot River and its tributaries only allow non-motorized vessels. This location has a baseball diamond, volleyball court, horseshoe pits, and day-use shelter. Please be advised that glass bottles or containers are not allowed.

Summary of the Best Swimming Holes In Montana

RankSwimming Hole
1Bozeman Beach
2Hyalite Reservoir 
3Graves Bay
4Waterton Lake
5McDonald Creek Float
6Johnsrud Park

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Patti Bell/

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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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