Gibson Reservoir

Quick Facts

Gibson Reservoir

Montana

(406) 791-7700

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Gibson Dam, the principal structure of the Sun River Project, is on the Sun River, 70 miles west of Great Falls, Montana. It is a concrete arch dam and contains 167,500 cubic yards of concrete. The reservoir, with 1,296 surface acres and 15 miles of shoreline, offers fair fishing for rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and brown trout. A hiking runs along the shoreline of Gibson Reservoir, then follows the South Fork of the Sun River into the wilderness to reach Pretty Prairie. In 1870, Colonel John Gibbons marched the Seventh U.S. Infantry into the Sun River Valley and took station at Fort Shaw, which had been established to protect the freighters, travelers, and miners against the Indians. Soon after Colonel Gibbons` command settled down to routine garrison duty, company gardens were established. The post adjutant was directed to survey and build a ditch from Sun River to irrigate the post gardens located on the bench southwest of the fort. Thus began the first irrigation district, then considered a marvel in the engineering field and thought to be the largest ditch in the country. The capacity was about 15 cubic feet per second.

Map of Gibson Reservoir

Latitude, Longitude: 47.611098, -112.807629

READ MORE

Activities

  • Boating

    The reservoir provides excellent boating opportunities for motorized and non-motorized boats. Two launch ramps are available for visitors to use.

  • Camping

    There are two campgrounds with 43 sites and potable water.

  • Fishing

    The reservoir offers fair fishing for rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and brown trout.

  • Hiking

    A hiking trail is a major route into the Sun River Basin. It runs along the shoreline of Gibson Reservoir, then follows the South Fork of the Sun River into the wilderness to reach Pretty Prairie. Because the route follows a reservoir that receives a fair amount of boat traffic, its early reaches lack the wilderness quality that is found on neighboring trails. The trail receives heavy horse use, and portions of the route tend to be muddy in wet weather. Although Pretty Prairie is the logical endpoint of the trek, there are dozens of equally scenic meadows along the South Fork of the Sun where campers have a better chance of finding solitude.

Directions

Driving

I-15 west of Great Falls to State Highway 21 to Augusta. County road to dam.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(406) 791-7700

Links