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Wild Horse Island

Old growth Ponderosa pine forest, incredible trails and wildlife viewing opportunities abound on the largest island in Flathead Lake. If you’re lucky you will see the handful of wild horses that still inhabit this park, which is only accessible by boat.

About the Park

Wild Horse Island has been a landmark since the Kootenai Indians were reported to have used it to pasture horses to keep them from being stolen by other tribes.

The park is noted for its wildlife including bighorn sheep, mule deer, songbirds, waterfowl, bald eagles, and falcons, as well as five wild horses. To protect wildlife viewing opportunities, pets are not permitted on the island. This is bear country and bears do frequent the island. Please store food properly on your boat or carry with you; there are no food storage lockers on the island.

Rare and endangered plant species have also been found on its Palouse-like Prairie grasslands. The island's scenic shoreline is a favorite of hikers, boaters, swimmers and sailboat enthusiasts.

Boat access is required to reach the island. The park does not provide transportation to Wild Horse Island. This is a day-use only park; camping is prohibited. Visitors are asked to protect and respect the park to ensure conservation of its natural character. A tribal fishing license is required at this site due to the location of the Flathead Indian Reservation.

Please respect private properties along parts of the perimeter of the island. Visitors are asked not to utilize private docks. There is no public dock on Wild Horse Island. Visitors are encouraged to use one of the six designated landing sites. See map for locations.

Wild Horse Island is managed as primitive area. Groups over 15 must have a permit. Permits will only be issued for activities related to educational, interpretive or administrative activities. Contact the Park Manager for further information.

Park size: 2,160 acres. Elevation: 2,900 feet.

Activities

  • Bird Watching
  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Lake Fishing
  • Motor Boating
  • Nature
  • Photography
  • Picnicking
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Wildlife Viewing

Amenities

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

  • Pack-in/Pack-out
  • Toilets (Vault)
  • Trails

Seasons & Hours

Park
Open all year
Day use only. No camping.
For Waves & Wind Forecast, check NOAA Graphical Flathead Lake Forecast

Park Rules

Volunteer

Contact the park manager for open volunteer positions at Flathead Lake State Park.

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

Fees

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.

 

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

Alerts & Closures

Groups of over 15 people must obtain a special use permit. Contact the Park Manager to discuss special use permit requirements.


It is a violation of park regulations to feed, pet or intentionally approach within 100 feet any wildlife including wild horses.


To protect wildlife viewing opportunities, pets are not allowed in the park.

Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Wild Horse Island / Flathead Lake State Park
Flathead Lake Ranger Station
8600 MT Hwy 35
Bigfork, MT 59911

Phone: Flathead Lake Ranger Station 406-837-3041
Email: wildhorseisland@mt.gov

 

Take a Look Around

Enjoy this aerial tour of the Wild Horse Island Unit of Flathead Lake State Park

Wild Horse Island has been a landmark since the Kootenai Indians were reported to have used it to pasture horses to keep them from being stolen by other tribes. The park is noted for its wildlife including bighorn sheep, mule deer, songbirds, waterfowl, bald eagles, and falcons, as well as five wild horses.

Flathead Lake State Park - Wild Horse Island

Address

Latitude/Longitude:
(47.84715 / -114.23458)

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Park map

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Meet The Park Manager

Amy Grout

Amy Grout began her career in Montana State Parks in 2004 as an intern at Lone Pine State Park, later becoming the Northwest District Park Ranger. Amy manages Flathead Lake State Park - Finley Point, Big Arm, Yellow Bay, Wayfarers and Wild Horse Island. She has a B.A. in Parks and Protected Area Management from Colorado State University at Fort Collins. Speaking about her love of the outdoors, Amy said, “Most of my childhood was spent outside of Anchorage, Alaska and so that is the one place I consider my hometown and where my love for the outdoors really began. “

CONTACT INFO
Mailing Address:
Flathead Lake State Park
Ranger Station
8600 MT Hwy 35
Bigfork, MT 59911

Phone: 
Flathead Lake State Park Ranger Station 406-837-3041
Email: agrout@mt.gov

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