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Camping at Cooney State Park

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Location and Basic Info

Cooney State Park is a popular recreation area located in south central Montana, which offers some of the state's best walleye and rainbow trout fishing. It's situated approximately 22 miles south of Laurel on US Highway 212, then west 7.5 miles on county road.

Camping Facilities

The park provides several options for camping:

  • Campgrounds: There are multiple campgrounds within Cooney State Park with sites available for tent camping as well as RVs. These campgrounds typically include amenities like picnic tables, fire rings, and nearby access to toilet facilities.

  • RV Camping: Some of the campsites are equipped to accommodate recreational vehicles, with or without electrical hookups.

  • Group Use Area: There's also an area designated for larger groups that can be reserved, perfect for family reunions or larger gatherings.

Reservations and Fees

  • Reservations: While some campsites may be available on a first-come, first-served basis, reservations are highly recommended, especially during the peak season. Reservations can typically be made up to 12 months in advance.

  • Fees: There are fees for camping, which vary depending on the type of campsite and amenities you require. Day-use fees are also applicable if you're not staying overnight.


Alongside the outstanding fishing opportunities, Cooney State Park offers a variety of recreational activities:

  • Boating: There's a concrete boat ramp for launching watercraft and the park is a favorite for boaters and water skiers.

  • Swimming: Visitors enjoy swimming though there may not be a designated swim beach or lifeguards, so swimming is at your own risk.

  • Hiking and Wildlife Viewing: There are hikes around the park and plenty of wildlife to observe.

  • Winter Activities: In the winter months, the park becomes a destination for ice fishing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.

Park and Campsite Regulations

  • Fire Restrictions: Depending on the current fire danger, the park may have restrictions on campfires.

  • Pets: Pets are allowed in the park but must be kept on leashes.

  • Quiet Hours: Most parks enforce quiet hours typically from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Weather Considerations

The weather in Montana can be unpredictable. Before heading out, check the local weather forecast and be prepared with appropriate clothing and gear. Cooney State Park experiences cold winters with snow, while summers can be warm and sunny.

Safety Tips

  • Wildlife: Store food and garbage in a way that does not attract wildlife.

  • Water Safety: Always be cautious when on or near the water. Montana's waters can be very cold, even in summer, increasing the risk of hypothermia.

  • Weather Preparedness: Be ready for sudden weather changes by carrying layers, rain gear, and sun protection.

Contact Information and Resources

Before you go, it’s wise to check the latest conditions and regulations. Contact information for the park can typically be found on Montana's Fish, Wildlife & Parks website or by contacting the regional office directly.

Keep in mind that specific details about camping at Cooney State Park—including fees, regulations, and services—may change. Always check the most current information to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Map of Campgrounds in Cooney State Park
Campgrounds in Cooney State Park
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