Lesson Cornerstone Curriculum Content Standards: Science
Site Description Trails and Terrain
Wildlife Present On-Site Educational Programs
Seasons Access
Parking & Entrance to Site Google Earth Driving Directions Link
Group Size Limits Fees
Restrictions Site Services
Contact Information For Additional Site & Lesson Plan Information

Lesson Cornerstone:

Aquatic habitat; fish identification; fishery management

Curriculum Content Standards: Science

(3) Students, through the inquiry process, demonstrate knowledge of characteristics, structures and function Creston National Fish Hatcheryof living things, the process and diversity of life, and how living organisms interact with each other and their environment.
(5) Students, through the inquiry process, understand how scientific
knowledge and technological developments impact communities, cultures and societies.

Site Description:

Established in 1939, Creston National Fish Hatchery originally provided fingerling trout for stocking waters in Glacier National Park. Today, the hatchery provides trout for the seven tribal reservations in Montana; stocks fish for the Hungry Horse dam mitigation program; and produces native fish for restoration programs.

Trails and Terrain:

A nature trail with interpretive signs – and described in a descriptive brochure – makes a short quarter-mile loop through the woods and along Mill Creek. An amphitheater sits along Mill Creek and is accessible via a spur trail off the main trail. Some parts of this trail are steep and are not handicapped accessible. Teachers may use this outdoor area for class instruction. The terrain around the hatchery offices is mostly flat, with some hills along the Mill Creek bank on the nature trail.

Wildlife Present:

Rainbow trout, westslope cutthroat trout, various songbirds, eagles, osprey, herons, water fowl, turkeys, deer, Creston National Fish Hatchery Photofox and mink are abundant. It is rare, but still possible to see a black bear, mountain lion or coyote creeping through the woods.

On-Site Educational Programs:

Tours of the hatchery grounds and viewing of live fish are available, though limited. Arrangements with the hatchery must be made in advance. Self-guided tours of the nature trail are available. A Nature Explore outdoor classroom and play area is a new addition for the fall of 2012.


Open all year, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm daily.


Access to the hatchery is off of a paved county road.

There is ADA access to the hatchery office and upper nature trail. Portions of the nature trail are not accessible.

Parking and Entrance to Site:

Travel Montana Highway 35 East to Creston, then continue east on Highway 35 for approximately one mile. Turn north on Creston Hatchery Road and follow the road approximately one mile to the hatchery entrance.

There is ample parking.

Google Earth Driving Directions:

Creston National Fish Hatchery

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Creston National Fish Hatchery 48.198571, -114.118731 Creston National Fish Hatchery


Group size limits:

Creston National Fish Hatchery Kid's Event
None established.




Fishing is not allowed in Mill Creek below the dam.

Site services:

Restrooms are available on site. The multi-use pavilion may be reserved for picnics and gatherings. No drinking water is available.

Contact Information:

Administrative Assistant, Creston National Fish Hatchery, 758-6869

For additional site and lesson plan information:

Creston National Fish Hatchery

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Educators – Let’s Go Outside

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks