Goose Bay is an area along Canyon Ferry Lake, at its eastern shore, about 30 minutes east of Helena, Montana.
There’s actually two campgrounds at Goose Bay, this one, the dispersed area, and a fully developed campground, Goose Bay Marina & Campground.
Depending on your point of view, the dispersed area is a far better place to camp just because you can set up your RV right on the shore and enjoy some of the best views of Canyon Ferry Lake. Meanwhile at the Marina & Campground, you may not get any view of the lake.
Canyon Ferry Lake is the domain of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The lake was created in 1954 when construction of Canyon Ferry Dam was completed along a narrow canyon of the Missouri River.
The Bureau has since gone on to create 12 campgrounds along Canyon Ferry Lake. Two of these campgrounds are reachable only by foot or boat (Mahogany Cove and Fish Hawk).
Goose Bay Dispersed Area was not originally one of these 12. It was created when Goose Bay Marina & Campground became too full, and campers simply set up outside of campground boundaries. Over the years, it became unofficially established. Since then, the Bureau has gone on to add some development to the Dispersed Area with a pit toilet and even a handicapped campsite (next to the pit toilet). They have also erected signs posting camping rules and limitations.
But for those RVers who prefer beautiful views over level pads and hookups, Goose Bay Dispersed Area is perhaps the best campground all around Canyon Ferry Lake. You get large, wide campsites, plenty of space between neighboring campers, and camping right along the water’s edge. These sites are large enough to accommodate the longest fifth-wheel trailers.
Access Road into Goose Bay Dispersed Area
The road leading into the Dispersed Area is firm-packed dirt & gravel, lightly washboarded, but othewise smooth. You could easily tow a trailer at 30 MPH with no worry of bumps. There’s a light hill coming into the area, but poses no problem for 2WD vehicles or heavy RVs.
Roads leading into individual campsites can be bumpy and rocky, but still easily driveable, and doesn’t pose problems for RVs and trailers with low ground clearance.
RV Dump and other Amenities
There’s an RV dump station at Goose Bay Marina & Campground. The dump station has rinse water only. There is potable water, but not at the dump station. The potable water station is located in the parking lot. However, the faucets at the potable water station is not threaded, hence you cannot connect to a water hose. However, there is a threaded faucet next to the pit toilet adjacent to the potable water station.
Goose Bay Marina & Campground also has propane tank refills, a gasoline pump, USPS mailbox, firewood, and even a camp store. You can launch your boat at the boat ramp there too, then anchor it to the shore next to your campsite.
Best Time to Arrive
Get to the Dispersed Area by Thursday evening. Locals from Helena, Bozeman, and Great Falls come down Thursday to claim a spot here, then hold it until the rest of their friends and family can arrive by Friday and Saturday. During the weekend, it’s completely full.
By Sunday afternoon, most campers leave. During the rest of the week, about half of the campsites in the dispersed area are filled, usually those with the tree coverage.
Verizon 4G Signal
Verizon 4G coverage comes in fairly well here. I was able to get 3-4 bars of signal strength the entire week I was there.
I did note, however, that while I was getting 3-4 bars of signal strength, my download and upload speeds were not that great. Still, I was able to work fine on my website development projects.
Goose Bay Dispersed Area Details
Maximum Length of Stay: 14 days
Campfires: Allowed, no restrictions