PAINTED ROCKS STATE 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.