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Fort Owen State Park

Visit the site of many "firsts" in Montana history, including home to Montana's first Catholic Church.

Alerts & Closures

Stage II Fire Restrictions for Ravalli County in the Missoula Fire Restriction Area.

The following acts are prohibited until further notice:

  1.  Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire.
  2. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.

The following acts are prohibited from 1:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.:

  1. Operating any internal combustion engine.
  2. Welding, or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame.
  3. Using an explosive. (A patrol is required for two hours following cessation of all activities as identified in #3 above.)
  4. Operating motorized vehicles off designated roads and trails.

Exemptions to the fire restrictions:

  1. Persons with a written permit that specifically authorizes the otherwise prohibited act.
  2. Persons using a device fueled solely by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off.
  3. Operating motorized vehicles on designated roads and trails.
  4. Emergency repair of public utilities and railroads as per attached conditions.
  5. Persons conducting activities in those designated areas where the activity is specifically authorized by written posted notice.
  6. Any Federal, State, or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.
  7. All land within a city boundary is exempted.

About the Park

Fort Owen State Park is the site of many "firsts" in Montana history and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It was home to Montana's first Catholic church founded by Father DeSmet in 1841, and the state's first permanent white settlement. Also located here was Montana's first sawmill, first grist mill, first agricultural development, first water right, and the first school for settlers.

Major John Owen arrived in the Bitterroot Valley in 1850 and established the fort and began trading with the Indians and the growing number of immigrants.

Period furnishings and artifacts are displayed in the restored rooms of the east barracks. Take your time to browse the interpretive signs and exhibits that detail the state park's history.

Fort Owen State Park is 1.9 acres in size and sits at an elevation of 3,398 feet.

Activities

  • Cultural
  • Exhibit
  • Heritage
  • History
  • Photography
  • Picnicking

Amenities

Some amenities are seasonal. Check with the park for availability.

  • Interpretive Display
  • Pets Allowed
  • Pack-in/Pack-out
  • Toilets (Vault)

Seasons & Hours

Hours listed below are normal operating hours and may not apply when there is a special restriction or closure. Check Alerts and Closures in the tab below.


Park

Hours:  9 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily

Park Rules

Volunteer

Contact the park manager for open volunteer positions at Fort Owen State Park.

For complete position descriptions, application forms, and details about Montana State Parks volunteer programs, visit the Volunteers page.

Fees

Montana Residents

  • Day use entrance is free*

 

Nonresidents

  • Day use entrance fee with a vehicle: $8
  • Day use entrance fee as a walk-in, bicycle or bus passenger: $4
  • With a Nonresident Entrance Pass: Free

 

* Montana residents who pay the $9 state parks fee with their annual vehicle registration have no daily entrance fees to state parks. For residents who don't include this in their vehicle registration, non-resident day use fees apply.

Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Fort Owen State Park
PO Box 995
Lolo, MT 59847

Phone: 406-273-4253
Email: Maci.MacPherson@mt.gov

Recreate Responsibly

Tips to stay safe while getting outdoors

To keep our state parks safe and accessible to all, make sure you know before you go, practice physical distancing, plan ahead, play it safe, explore locally, leave no trace, respect wildlife, and do your part to build an inclusive outdoors. 

Visit the Recreate Responsibly page for more information 

Fort Owen State Park

Address

99 Fort Owen Ranch Rd.
Stevensville, MT 59870
Latitude/Longitude:
(46.51948 / -114.09705)

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Meet The Park Manager

Maci MacPherson

Maci MacPherson manages Travelers’ Rest, Fort Owen and Painted Rocks state parks. Maci grew up going to state parks in Montana and Oregon, which strongly influenced her career choices. Before joining Montana State Parks, Maci worked at a number of National Parks around the West, gaining extensive experience in interpretation, tribal relations, and community partnerships. She has a B.S in Fish & Wildlife Management from Montana State University and a M.S. in Science Education from Oregon State University.

CONTACT INFO
Mailing Address:
Painted Rocks State Park
PO Box 995
Lolo, MT 59847

Phone: 406-273-4253
Email: Maci.MacPherson@mt.gov

Photo of Park Manager Maci MacPherson