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Painted Rocks State Park

Enjoy the remote pine-forest setting, a great get-away for a weekend of camping, fishing and relaxation.

About the Park

Located in the West Fork Valley of the Bitterroot Mountains, Painted Rocks Reservoir offers boating, camping, and fishing in a scenic, western pine forest setting.

Painted Rocks received its name from the green, yellow and orange lichens which cover the grey and black rock walls of the granite and rhyolite cliffs along the West Fork Road.

The park offers 25 campsites, a boat ramp and a dock. There are 6 reservable campsites, available for reservation from Memorial Day through Labor Day, Thursday-Sunday only. The rest of the sites are first come, first served. There are 2 sites that can fit RV/trailers up to 35 feet in length and 23 sites limited to 25 feet in length. There is no potable water available.

Wildlife abounds in the area around Painted Rocks. Elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, black bear, and moose can be found here. In the 1980s, bighorn mountain sheep as well as peregrine falcons were reintroduced to the area. The reservoir is used as a stopping ground for waterfowl during spring and autumn migrations. Don't be surprised if you see Osprey, Great Blue Heron, Spotted Sandpiper or Bald Eagles.

In 1939, the Montana Water Conservation Board began construction on Painted Rocks Dam. Originally constructed for agricultural use, the Painted Rocks Reservoir now provides water for irrigation, stockwater, domestic use, and in-stream flows for fish.

By the 1820s, the West Fork of the Bitterroot had become an important corridor for American and English fur companies as well as the "mountain men" of the era.

The West Fork of the Bitterroot, like the rest of the Bitterroot Valley and much of western Montana, has been part of the homeland of the Salish people for countless millennia. It was always a place of importance to the Salish as a particularly good hunting area, as well as a place rich in other important traditional foods, including huckleberries, serviceberries, bitterroot, trout and other fish and mountain tea.

Park size: 23 acres. Elevation: 4,724 feet.


  • Bird Watching

  • Boating

  • Camping

  • Canoeing

  • Fishing

  • Hiking

  • Lake Fishing

  • Motor Boating

  • Nature

  • Photography

  • Picnicking

  • RV Camping

  • Sightseeing

  • Swimming

  • Tent Camping

  • Wildlife Viewing


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

  • ADA Accessible

  • Boat Launch

  • Campsite

  • Dock

  • Established Fire Pits

  • Grills/Fire Rings

  • Group Use Rentals

  • Pets Allowed

  • Picnic Shelter

  • Picnic Tables

  • Pack-in/Pack-out

  • Public Restroom

  • 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.


Open daily all year
Dawn to dusk

Park Rules


Contact the park manager for open volunteer positions at Painted Rocks State Park.

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


Montana Residents

  • 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.



  • 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



  • Campsite fees range from $4-$34 per night, depending on season and available amenities.

Visit Reserve America to check fees and reserve a campsite at Painted Rocks State Park.

Montana State Parks offers hike/bike, rustic, tent, rv, and boatslip campsites.

Alerts & Closures

Beginning Aug. 1, 2023

Due to dropping levels in Painted Rocks Reservoir, it is recommended that the boat ramp at Painted Rocks State Park be utilized for hand launching only (no trailers or motor boats). Damage to equipment may occur. Boat trailer access is still available at the US Forest Service launch site at Little Boulder.


Restrictions and Closures

See a current list of Restrictions and Closures on State Parks and other FWP lands that may be affected by floods, fire, drought or major maintenance activities.

Contact Information

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

Phone: 406-273-4253 is located at Travelers' Rest State Park - mention you are referencing Painted Rocks

Aquatic Invasive Species

Help protect Montana's waters

AIS can be easily spread from one waterbody to the other. Anglers, boaters, construction workers, pond owners, gardeners, seaplane pilots, field workers - virtually anyone who works or plays in or around water can unknowingly transport these pests on their boats and equipment. It takes only one mistake to potentially infest a new water body.

Prevent the spread of AIS 

Painted Rocks State Park


8809 West Fork Road
Darby, MT 59829
(45.68128 / -114.30100)

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Park map

View the park map to learn more about amenities, parking and camping details

View Park Map 
Park fees

Learn about fees and regulations for all Montana State Parks

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Meet The Park Manager

Ben Dickinson

Benjamin Dickinson began his career with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks in 2013 as a Conservation Aid on the Alberton Gorge white water recreation corridor. In 2014, he became a seasonal Park Ranger for Missoula, MT-based state parks, receiving full-time employment in 2019. Ben received his B.S. in Parks Tourism and Recreation Management from the University of Montana in Missoula. Originally from Spokane, Washington, the outdoors have always been a part of Ben's life. Working with people in an outdoor setting has always been a passion, and he is excited to work in the Bitterroot Valley with its cultural and environmental resources.

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

Phone: 406-273-4253

Photo of Park Manager Ben Dickinson