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Fort Peck Lake, Fort Peck

#53 of 124 in Nature in Montana
Fort Peck Lake, or Lake Fort Peck, is a major reservoir in Montana, formed by the Fort Peck Dam on the Missouri River. The lake lies in the eastern prairie region of Montana approximately 140mi east of Great Falls and 120mi north of Billings, reaching into portions of six counties.
The dam and reservoir were built in the 1930s to enhance navigation on the Missouri River, and supply enough water to provide a 9-foot deep channel from Sioux City, Iowa, to the mouth of the Missouri just above St. Louis. Following severe flooding along the Missouri River in 1943, which hampered the economic development of the Missouri River Valley and damaged production of military supplies for then-ongoing World War II, five additional dams were added when the federal government adopted the Pick-Sloan Plan, calling for a series of dams and reservoirs to be built along the Missouri and its tributaries. Fort Peck Dam was built from 1933 to 1940 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; water impoundment began in 1937 and the reservoir was first filled to capacity in 1947.
With a volume of 18700000acre.ft when full, Fort Peck is the fifth largest artificial lake in the United States. It extends 134mi through central Montana, and its twisting, inlet-studded shoreline has a total length of some 1520mi. Along with the Missouri River, smaller tributaries such as the Musselshell River, Fourchette Creek, Timber Creek, Hell Creek and Dry Creek feed the reservoir; the latter forms the longest side arm of the reservoir, which reaches some 30mi southwards. The lake covers an area of 245000acre, making it the largest in Montana by surface area, although Flathead Lake has a larger volume due to its greater depth.
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Fort Peck Lake Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
52 reviews
  • This is a different kind of place than your typical large concrete dam. At over 2 miles long it is the largest earth dam in the country (and maybe the world). We visited off of US2 so it is about a 10...  more »
  • Visit Fort Peck Reservoir is a real treat. Tons of things to see and do. Swimming, fishing, dining, boating, great theater, and a cool museum.  more »
  • October is a great time to visit if you want the entire place to yourself.
  • Fun place and full of history

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