Tally Lake Recreation Area

A Popular Montana Vacation Spot

Tally Lake is nestled back in the Salish Mountains west of Whitefish. This clear water recreation area is a popular boating, swimming, and fishing area. Day use fees are $3. It is also a popular Montana camping destination.

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Tally Lake is believed to be the deepest Montana lake, with a depth of approximately 492 feet. At 1211 acres, it is also a fairly good sized body of water. Because of its relatively low elevation of 3398 feet, the water warms up nicely in the summer, adding to the popularity of the site.

Swimming and Boating Access

Swimming at Tally Lake
Tally Lake Swimming Area
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A beach area with picnic tables, barbeque pits, and a wildlife viewing telescope make this a family favorite. Loons, eagles, osprey, and red-tail hawks can often be spotted.

A roped off swimming area has abundant room for swimmers, small rafts, tubes, and other float toys. Spacious grassy areas and horseshoe pits are located between the water and the campground. As a result, this area is a popular site for local summer weddings.

A boat launch area is conveniently located next to the common grounds, with separate vehicle access and parking. The water is excellent for fishing and recreational boats, waterskiing, canoeing, and kayaking.


Although fishing is not spectacular, the water hosts a variety of species, including brook, rainbow, lake, and bull trout, Kokanee salmon, and northern pike.

Pavilion & Group Activity Area

On the other side of the common grounds, a footbridge spans Logan Creek, which flows through the campground, and separates the main public grounds from a more private pavilion area. This area can be reserved for group use, and includes barbecue grills, restrooms, and a volleyball area. Private access to a small beach area is available by following a trail through the brush.

Montana Camping - Easy Access

Tally Lake Campground, located within the recreation area, has 40 sites, two of which can be reserved. Other sites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Sites have barbecue pits, and restrooms and potable water is available, except in the Northshore Loop.

Other Activities

Logan Creek at Tally Lake
Logan Creek at Tally Lake
Photo Use Guidelines

Floaters can sometimes be spotted on tubes on Logan Creek, although during mid-summer, low water levels and exposed rocks may create hazards. Spring runoff can also cause hazardous conditions - float at your own risk!

Along the north shore is a cliff area where jumpers can often be spotted. The cliffs can be accessed by canoe or kayak, or by driving along Star Meadow Road, turning on Logan Creek Rd, and hiking in at the dead-end. Once you arrive at the cliffs, you’ll likely have the place to yourself, except for the curious passer-by on boat. There is a tiny beach area next to the cliffs. Be aware that cliff jumping can result in serious injuries!

Getting Here

To access the Tally Lake Recreation Area, follow Farm To Market Road out of either Whitefish, or Kalispell. A sign clearly marks the recreation area turnoff onto a gravel road. Follow the road 9 miles. Be aware that this is a dusty, semi-bumpy road, with a speed limit of 25 mph.

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