The campground at Lake Frances in Valier attracts both tourists and area families and offers a plethora of affordable outdoor fun and recreation for people of all ages.

Lake Frances Camp-ground is fast becoming a popular weekend retreat. The campground has been running close to capacity most weekends. After being confined to their homes for several weeks, people are enjoying the freedom to get out, even if they only travel a few miles from home.

Valier area resident Jennie Becker and her family attempted to camp at Tiber Dam last weekend. “The website said they were open. We drove all the way out there and found it closed, so we turned around and came back to Lake Frances, which is just 15 miles away from our home.”

Camping with friends, they were hopeful for sites close together, but none were available when they arrived. They were still happy to have a place to park.

Camp host, Jerry Yeager, soon found them ideal campsites and allowed them to move so they could be apart, but together.

The restrooms are closed and will remain that way through Montana’s Phase II of reopening after COVID-19’s shelter in place order. the Town of Valier, however, is providing four portable toilets. The two they had last week were busy. 

“Those things were almost overflowing,” Jerry said. “There were lines in front all weekend!”

Another amenity that is “out of order” at present is the floating dock by the boat ramp. It was damaged over the weekend and nobody knows how it happened. Apparently, it snapped in half. The recent high winds may be to blame.

Despite these inconveniences, Lake Frances Campground is still a fun place for recreation. The two coves allow easy access for personal water devices like float tubes, kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards. The boat ramp is also easily accessible.

“It was so much fun! Our kids played and rode their bikes and we felt very safe,” explained Jennie. “It is so nice to have something close enough to home that you can go check on the farm or whatever you need, but still get away from things.”

When asked about the fishing, Jerry would only comment on how much fishing is happening. “There’s a lot of fishing going on.”

The fish cleaning station is also open for use. No guarantees on the catch!

If you go, here are some good thinks to know.

The campground is a first come, first serve facility and sites begin filling up around 3 p.m. on Fridays.

Dry tent sites are $12/night, electrical hookups are $24/night, and full hookups are $40/ night. Fees are paid via the camp host with cash or check. No credit or debit cards are accepted.

Find your site and Jerry will come collect. Jerry is a “farm kid from Choteau” and fun to visit with.

If you run out of supplies, One Stop Cenex and Curry’s Market are only a mile away. If you get tired of fixing your own camp food, The Panther Café and Froggies Bar & Grill are also nearby.

One more thing, be sure to bring your camera. The skies can serve up some amazing sunsets.

As we like to say in Valier, “Come for the views. Stay for the fun!”

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