Camping at the Tongue River Reservoir

18 07 2011
Lake Glendo, WY

Lake Glendo, WY

Last weekend found us at the Tongue River Reservoir in southern Montana.  About an 8 hour drive, we opted to take off late Wednesday night and travel part-way, spending a short overnight at Lake Glendo.  Arriving at Glendo about 10pm we found our favorite cliff-side site on the small loop, just in time for a big thunderstorm.  After setting in the truck for about 40 minutes while it poured, we leveled the camper while a friend set-up his tent while trying to avoid puddles, had a quick beer on the cliff and went to bed.  The next morning we were up early, checked email and headed north.  We arrived in Sheridan about 4pm, just in time to do a last minute email check before heading into the “weak-at-best” cellular coverage around the Reservoir.  As it turns out, CDMA cellular is spotty, but available.  T-Mobile didn’t work at all except just a few miles from I-90.  Verizon was available in various spots, with enough for text, phone conversations and very slow data transfer at our campsite. 

The Tongue River, with headwaters in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming, winds its way north before meeting the Yellowstone River at Miles City, MT.  The river’s name is believed to come from Native American languages, although its exact meaning isn’t clear.  One theory holds that the meandering of the river was like a white man’s crooked tongue.  Another says that the river was called “talking river” and later interpreted incorrectly as “tongue river”.  Still another account tells of tongue-shaped formation of trees and rocks on a hillside at the headwaters of the river.  Whatever is the true meaning, the river and reservoir just north of Decker, MT is great for camping and a beautiful lake for boating and fishing. 

Tongue River Reservoir

Tongue River Reservoir

We arrived at the reservoir around 3pm to meet family and friends that had set-up at the end of North Pee Wee campground.  We had 4 sites around a small loop, all with great views of the reservoir and lots of privacy, away from other campers.  Each of the individual sites have a picnic table and a fire ring.  Nearby were very clean pit toilets.  In the center of the campground was a fresh water tap.  A marina was also available for ice, those “forgotten” food items, plenty of fishing supplies and a boat ramp. 

Tongue River Reservoir

Tongue River Reservoir

Much of our weekend was spend on (or in) the lake.  The water temperature was near 80 degrees, the warmest that we’ve experienced this summer.  Lazy afternoons were enjoyed hanging out in quiet coves on the pontoon boat and exploring the lake on jet skis (thanks D&R!).  Early mornings and late evenings were allocated to the dedicated fisherman, which didn’t have much luck on this particular weekend.  We had a great time with friends and family until it was time to pack up on Sunday morning.  It was a long drive home – about 8 hours.  Whew…it’s a long drive, but a great, fun, beautiful place to camp and boat!

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