This week’s focus takes us to just a mile north of Miles City, Montana, a little more than two hours from Billings, Montana by way of Interstate94, on the north side of a bend in the Yellowstone River, to Pirogue Island State Park. In addition to extensive hiking, birding, and wildlife viewing, the island is a documented site where the Corps of Discovery and Capt. Clark camped in 1806 on the return voyage of their famous expedition. This week’s Parks Showcase is brought to you by the Miles City Chamber of Commerce.
An isolated, cottonwood-covered island located on the Yellowstone River, Pirogue Island State Park is an excellent location for enjoying the natural beauty of Montana. While wading through channels of the Yellowstone River is the most popular way to get to Pirogue Island, others stop by as they float down the river.
You won’t find any camping at Pirogue Island, but you can go:
✅ Bird Watching or Wildlife Viewing
✅ Plus so much more!
A local treasure with a wide variety of bird species including Passerines belted kingfishers, shorebirds, waterfowl, and bald eagles as well as both whitetail and mule deer, the island is an excellent location for wildlife viewing.
The island also boasts prominent plant life with more than 140 species of plants including a healthy population of cottonwood trees, peach-leaf willow, green ash, and red-osier dogwood.
For visitors who enjoy hiking, Pirogue Island features 2.8 miles of designated hiking trails with interpretive signs offering insights into the history and wildlife of the island.
Looking for more than 2.8 miles? You’re in luck!
As a very level site, visitors will find an easy walk throughout the 269 acres and when the water isn’t flowing, visitors can take a walk along the tree-shaded side channels and wade through the pools of water that form during hot weather.
DID YOU KNOW?
Enjoy a treasure hunt? Pirogue Island is a great location to search for moss agates.
Moss agates are a unique agate that is often found with a lime coloring and gets its name for its resemblance to the color of moss, which was given to it prior to its scientific name and has stuck.
Curious what other visitors had to say?
“Good spot for hunting and fishing.”
“Growing up in this area I never discovered this until I went back and visited. There is a great trail (about 6 miles) that takes you all around the park and next to the river.”
“I love the walking trail and having the chance to see wildlife.”
“This state park is in a very interesting setting. It is an island in the Yellowstone River outside of Miles City, MT. There are picnic tables and restrooms and interesting trails to walk beside walking over to the island when the water is low. This is a great place to go with a family when the weather is nice. Springtime would not be good, the water would be too high to reach the island.”
***Note: Pirogue Island State Park is not formally developed and care should be taken when crossing. Crossing to Pirogue State Park is not recommended if water is flowing. And due to the seasonal flooding, come prepared to protect yourself from ticks.
7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
46.44181 / -105.82253
How Does the Foundation Help State Parks Like Pirogue Island State Park?
As Montana State Parks’ only statewide fundraising partner, the Foundation helps to raise awareness, education, and most importantly support boots-on-the-ground improvement projects for users and supporters like you.
As an agency faced with a $22 million maintenance deficit, our work and collaboration help to ensure continued access and solutions currently inside our state park system.
Because in the end, we envision state parks that reflect Montana’s renowned outdoor recreation and heritage for all… forever.