This 14,500 acre area is a unique prairie wetland complex, consisting of a shallow lakebed and several smaller potholes, all formed by retreating glaciers. The lakebed is surrounded by native short-grass prairie and is important feeding, nesting and brood rearing habitat for migratory waterfowl and shorebirds. The shallow nature of the lake allows it to slowly draw down during the summer, often drying completely by fall, to be filled again by spring runoff. This wet and dry cycle allows aquatic vegetation to rejuvenate and provide food for wildlife, including aquatic insects which, in turn, provide and important food source for wetland birds and other wildlife. During wet springs, this area can hold one of the highest concentrations of migrating shorebirds in north central Montana. Wildlife viewers can enjoy a variety of ducks, shorebirds, upland birds such as burrowing owls and McCowan’s longspur, pronghorns, coyotes, badgers among other species.
The lakebed is also surrounded by hundreds of stone circles or “tipi rings.” These tipi rings are evidence of centuries of use by Native Americans. Please respect and help preserve this historic legacy by avoiding disturbance and reporting vandalism.
Activities: Wildlife viewing, hunting, primitive camping and photography
Location/Access: From US HWY 87, turn west on MT HWY 432 at Big Sandy. Drive approximately 4 miles and turn right (north) on the graveled county road. Drive about 5.5 miles and turn left (west) onto an undeveloped trail. The edge of the Lonesome Lake is about 0.4 miles down this trail. This trail may become impassable when wet.
Maps: The site is on the BLM Lonesome Lake 1:100,000 topographic map.
Havre Field Office
3990 Highway 2 West
Havre, MT 59501