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Smith River State Park

Smith River State Park

Smith River State Park

The Smith River is mostly known for being a wonderful 59-mile long river full of natural beauty, with great boating, fishing, and photographic opportunities.

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Looking to float?

Permits to float the river are highly sought after and distributed through a lottery system similar to hunting licenses for certain big game species in Montana.
The due date for permit applications is February 13th! Its the perfect Valentine's day gift for that river loving partner of yours!

Things To Do

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    Camping Site

  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Fishing/Fly Fishing
  • Kayaking
  • Swimming
  • Rafting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Tent Camping

Features

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    Park Amenities

  • Grills and firepits
  • Pets allowed
  • Toilets (Vault)
  • 59-mile section of river
  • Maps available
  • Plus so much more!

If you weren't lucky enough to win a permit during the annual lottery system, you can still enjoy the Smith River by visiting Camp Baker west of White Sulphur Springs or Eden Bridge 59 miles downriver and just short drive south of Great Falls.

At Camp Baker, you'll find a campground with primitive campsites, latrine facilities, and a busy boat ramp for the lucky folks who won launch permits.

After the floating parties have launched for the day Camp Baker becomes quiet for a few hours and visitors will enjoy great access for fishing, birdwatching, and even swimming in the summer months.

At the other end of the park is Eden Bridge, the normal take out for Smith River float trips. Eden Bridge is a minimally developed day-use site with latrine facilities, a boat ramp, and day-use access to the river.

While there are few amenities at Eden Bridge, it does make for a nice day trip destination from Great Falls where visitors have a chance to spend time on the banks of one of Montana's most iconic waterways. The float season varies widely depending on snow-pack, rainfall and the amount and timing of irrigation.

The “typical” float season runs from mid-April through mid-July, with occasional floating opportunities in September and October.

Many find Smith River State Park a place of peace because a permit is required to float the Smith River. This permit requirement means visitors can expect to have a quality, multi-day float with relative solitude and excellent trout fishing opportunities.

Of course, you don't need a permit to access the campground and enjoy all the natural splendor of the area.

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Curious what other visitors have had to say about the park?

"Lots of fun things to see and imagine. Have fun exploring, we did."

"My favorite vacation to date."

"The trip was absolutely perfect for our honeymoon! Protect the Smith!"

"Luckily we can still do this, best therapy around!"

 

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    Park

    Open Year-Round

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    Location

    791 Clear Range Road White Sulpher Springs, MT 59645

Smith River State Park

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Sluice Boxes State Park

Sluice Boxes State Park

Sluice Boxes State Park

Sluice Boxes State Park was created in 1974 and included significant historic structures and remnants of the abandoned towns of Riceville and Albright that once existed for the purpose of mining limestone in the canyon.

Belt Creek which formed the canyon that is the centerpiece of the park, has long been popular for outdoor recreation. Citizens of nearby Great Falls began visiting the area for fishing, camping, hunting and other activities as early as 1889 when the railroad connecting silver mines in the Barker and Hughesville mining districts to smelters in Great Falls was completed.

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Things to do:

The park is now popular with local visitors, history enthusiasts, fishermen, hikers, and others. The rugged landscape creates dramatic scenery as it contrasts distinctly with the rolling hills and rounded mountains of this part of central Montana.

A walk down the old railroad grade trail will bring you to fishing access, floating, swimming and wildlife viewing. Be aware: steep cliffs, rugged terrain and cold, swift water can pose a risk to visitors, so be sure to take caution!

If you’re looking to camp, you’ll need a Backcountry Campsite Permit. You can contact Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks headquarters in Great Falls to do so.

Things To Do

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    Camping Site

  • Backcountry Camping
  • Bird Watching
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • History
  • Hunting
  • Photography
  • Picnicking
  • Rafting
  • Stream Fishing
  • Swimming
  • Wildlife Viewing

Features

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    Park Amenities

  • Interpretive Display
  • Maps
  • Pets Allowed
  • Pack-in/Pack-out
  • Toilets (Vault)

The Barker Mines and the Montana Central Railroad are part of the history of Sluice Boxes State Park.
Carved by Belt Creek as it comes down from the Little Belt Mountains, the large limestone cliffs and steep ledges are the signatures of Belt Creek Canyon.

By September of 1890, the Central Montana Railroad dropped off fisherman at various locations along Belt Creek in what is now Sluice Boxes State Park. When Belt Creek was named a blue ribbon trout stream in the 1920s, the railroad ran special “fishing trains” on Sundays.

This area was once home to prospectors searching for precious metals, miners, muleskinners, smelter men and railroaders building bridges. Today, visitors can find the remnants of mines, cabins and a railroad along the banks of Belt Creek in the park.

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Curious what other visitors have had to say about the park?

"We stop every trip because the view is gorgeous no matter what the season."

"Beautiful place. Be prepared if you plan on hiking the trail. Lots of river crossings."

"A great place to hike if you don't mind crossing the river several times. It is best to go in the late summer when the river is at its lowest point so that you can cross safely. There is an old homestead to explore as well."

"Family & pet friendly hike. Beautiful for pictures and swimming. There is a spot where you can do a cliff jump into the lake."

 

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    Park

    Parking/Trailhead
    Open Sunrise to Sunset
    Backcountry 
    Open 24/7
    Pets Allowed
    Toilets (Vault)
    Campground
    Backcountry Campsite
    Permit required

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    Location

    38 Evans Riceville Road Belt, MT 59412

Sluice Boxes State Park

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Rosebud Battlefield State Park

Rosebud Battlefield State Park

Rosebud Battlefield State Park

The location of the Battle of Rosebud, is an incredible and historical location that shouldn’t be missed!

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The Park History

One of the largest battles of the Indian Wars, the Battle of Rosebud, or “Where the Girl Saved Her Brother” as referred to by the Northern Cheyenne, lasted for eight hours. Because Crook’s troops had been withdrawn from the war zone in order to resupply, they were not there to support Colonel Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn one week later.

The battlefield is still used throughout the year by U.S. Armed Forces to study military strategy, including how troops take on an enemy who is familiar with the landscape.

The park includes Kobold Buffalo Jump, a cliff once used by Native Americans and marked with petroglyphs. A short hike within the gap to the cliffs will allow you to see these.

The use of metal detectors, digging and the collecting or removal of artifacts is restricted and bikes are allowed on existing roadways only. Be very cautious while in the park as rattlesnakes reside in the area!

Although camping isn’t available at Rosebud Battlefield, there is camping available at Tongue River Reservoir State Park only 13 miles south.

Things To Do

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    Camping Site

  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Cultural
  • Heritage
  • Hiking
  • History
  • Hunting
  • Photography
  • Picnicking
  • Snowshoeing
  • Wildlife Viewing

Features

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    Park Amenities

  • Brochures
  • Interpretive Display
  • Pets Allowed
  • Picnic Tables
  • Pack-in/Pack-out
  • Toilets (Vault)
  • Trash Cans
  • Water
  • Plus so much more!

Rosebud Battlefield is one of the most undeveloped, pristine battlefields in the nation. While looking for the Sioux and Northern Cheyenne villages of Chief Sitting Bull, Brigadier General George Cook, along with 1000 troops and Crow and Shoshone scouts, were unprepared for an organized attack.

On June 17, 1876, an equal or greater number of warriors led by Sioux Chief Crazy Horse and Cheyenne Chiefs Two Moon, Young Two Moons, and Spotted Wolf, attacked the band of soldiers.

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Curious what other visitors have had to say about the park?

"What a unique piece of Montana history! The story of the young Cheyenne woman saving her brother against the US Army happened here."

"Great experience. Largest battle in the Indian wars. Very interesting presentation."

"This is the battle that preceded the battle of little big horn by a few days and would have saved Custer if it did not happen. A must see!"

"This is part of our western history few people know of. It was over looked becsuse of Custers actions eight days later."

 

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    Park

    Open all year/Day Use Only

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    Location

    42 HC Busby, MT 59016

Rosebud Battlefield State Park

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Pirogue Island State Park

Pirogue Island State Park

Pirogue Island State Park

Pirogue Island State Park just a mile north of Miles City, Montana, a little more than two hours from Billings, Montana by way of Interstate 94, and on the north side of a bend in the Yellowstone River.

In addition to extensive hiking, birding, and wildlife viewing, the island is a possible site where the Corps of Discovery and Capt. Clark camped in 1806 on the return voyage of their famous expedition.

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Looking to hike?

For visitors who enjoy hiking, Pirogue Island features 2.8 miles of designated hiking trails with interpretive signs offering insights on 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.

Things To Do

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    Camping Site

  • Bird Watching
  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Hunting (shotgun or bow)
  • Lewis and Clark Expedition tracking
  • Picnicking
  • Wildlife Viewing

Features

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    Park Amenities

  • Grills/Fire Rings
  • 269 Acres
  • Interpretive Display
  • Maps
  • Pets Allowed
  • Pack-in/Pack-out
  • Toilets (Vault)
  • Plus so much more!

The island 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.

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.

Pirogue Island State Park is 500 miles from where the Yellowstone River begins south of Yellowstone National Park and 170 miles from where it ends near Williston, North Dakota.

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Curious what other visitors have had to say about the park?

"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."

"Good spot for hunting and fishing"

"I love the walking trail and having the chance to see wildlife."

"Great place to view"

 

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    Park

    Day use only

    Open year-round, 7 am to 10 pm.

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    Location

    Miles City, MT 59301

    Travel north on 59N to the Kinsey Rd/Hwy 489.
    Turn right and follow for 2 miles to the turnoff for Pirogue Island State Park.
    Parking and amenities are at the end of the road.

Pirogue Island State Park

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Wild Horse Island State Park

Wild Horse Island State Park

Wild Horse Island State Park

Located on Flathead Lake, Wild Horse Island is the largest island in a freshwater lake west of Minnesota.

Accessible only by boat, Wild Horse Island has six boat landing sites, but visitors are welcome to pull their boats to shore on any of the public beach sites.

While most of the island is a state park, be aware as there is still private shoreline, therefore visitors are prohibited from using the boat docks.

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Looking to hike?

Due to the variety of wildlife, Wild Horse Island does not allow camping, pets or bikes as they may spook the animals. Fires and smoking are prohibited anywhere on the island.

What can you do at Wild Horse Island? The question is, what can’t you do?! You can:
Take a hike! The island has four miles of interconnected hiking trails, but visitors are free to explore off-trail as well.

Things To Do

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    Camping Site

  • Try and catch your dinner! Fishing is allowed with tribal & state fishing licenses.
  • Check out the wildlife including bighorn sheep, mule deer, songbirds, waterfowl, bald eagles, falcons and wild horses.
  • Warm day? Take a dip in Flathead Lake!
  • Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy while you enjoy the views.

Features

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    Park Amenities

  • 2,160 Acres
  • Boat Access
  • No Pets Allowed
  • Toilets (Vault)
  • Wild Horses
  • Bighorn Sheep
  • Plus so many more!

Wild Horse Island is said to have been used by the Salish-Kootenai Indians who would pasture their horses on the island to prevent them from being stolen by other tribes!

Wild Horse Island used to be farmed and in the 30s even hosted a lodge. Visitors can still find apple and pear orchards, so if you’re feeling peckish, grab a snack! Besides the great views and interesting wildlife, you can also find rare, endangered plant life on Wild Horse Island. The island even has a Palouse Prairie ecosystem, one of only three of these biomes in Montana!

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Curious what other visitors have had to say about the park?

"Beautifully untouched for the most part. There are 5 horses currently on island and 1 bear, that we saw neither of. Lol. However it was abundant with bald eagles, osprey, deer, and bighorn sheep. Most of which you can view from a boat offshore if you have a keen eye. If not get a guided tour. But no tours are given on island, just to and from."

"Great place to boat to and relax. Beautiful water and fun rocks to skip!"

"Beautiful island to cruise around and we caught the 5 wild horses on the Western side!"

"Island in flathead lake with a few hiking trails and animals. Worth a visit during the day, or coming over by boat closer to dusk to see the deer, sheep, and possibly horses as they come down to drink."

 

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    Park

    Open Year Round

    Restrictions/Closures
    Fires & Smoking Prohibited
    Groups 15 and over must have a special permit.

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    Location

    Flathead Lake
    Latitude/Longitude:
    (47.84715/-114.23458)

Wild Horse Island State Park

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Travelers’ Rest State Park

Traveler’s Rest State Park

Travelers’ Rest State Park

Both a state park and a National Historic Landmark, Travelers’ Rest is filled with historical significance. In 2001 the land that Travelers’ Rest State Park resides on was donated to the State of Montana.

After an archeological investigation in 2002, it was discovered that this location was used as a campsite by Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery on two occasions, first from September 9-11 in 1805 and then again the year after from June 30-July 3 in 1806.

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Interested in the history of the park?

During the archeological investigation of the site, archeologists discovered a trench latrine tainted with mercury (a common prescription for many ailments used by the Corps of Discovery), hearths and traces of lead (used in the repair and making of firearms).

The way the camp was set up also led the archeologists to believe that this was the campsite of the Corps of Discovery. The placement of the hearths, latrines and other aspects of the camp were taken from a military manual Lewis & Clark were known to have relied on.

The trace elements in the lead found at the campsite were traced back to elements in Kentucky where Lewis & Clark would have likely gotten their lead! The items found paired with the setup of the camp allowed investigators to come to the conclusion that this was, indeed, the campsite of Lewis & Clark.

Things To Do

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    Camping Site

  • The park may be called Travelers’ Rest, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be active! Take a hike along Lolo Creek.
  • Learn more about Native American culture from Native storytellers who bring their history and culture to all as part of the programming at Travelers’ Rest.
  • Western Montana is a great place to fish and Travelers’ Rest is no exception! Try your hand at stream or fly fishing in Lolo Creek.
  • History buff? Spend some time in the museum where you’ll find Lewis & Clark Expedition replicas, Salish cultural exhibits, Native American handcrafts, a frontier Main Street and much more!
  • Have a large group? There is a pavilion available to rent! Simply contact the park to make a reservation. Phone: 406-273-4253 Email: lflynn2@mt.gov
  • Looking to enjoy the wildlife? Go bird watching to see how many of the 115 recorded species you can find!
  • Plus so much more!

Features

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    Park Amenities

  • Open Year-Round
  • 51 acres
  • ADA Accessible
  • Pets Allowed
  • Toilets (Flush & Vault)
  • Water
  • Tours
  • Maps
  • Gift Shop
  • Wedding Facilities
  • Children's Activities
  • Plus, so much more!

Travelers’ Rest was also used by Native American tribes in the area. The Salish, Pend d’Oreille and Nez Perce used the area as a campsite and trail junction.

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Curious what other visitors have had to say about the park?

"Wonderful state park with great historical significance regarding Lewis and Clark journey of discovery and marvelous natural beauty. If you are near, do not miss this delightful park. Make time for the informatics museum and fun short hikes. I look forward to coming back."

"The kids were brought out here every year by their school, it was always fun and informative of the days gone by. They have Lewis and Clark artifacts that were found on-site for viewing and then some things, just from the era, both give you a nice perspective of how things used to be. The kids and I live close so it's always just a nice place to come hike around check out the creek. It's a great place also for taking photos. I've taken a lot of family photos in this area for people."

"If you're traveling through it's pretty cool place to stop and get educated on the Lewis and Clark travels."

"Great historical park of Lewis and Clark and native Indian camp. Go and walk their trails and learn about their camp. The exhibit at the travelers rest museum is excellent to see their tools, camp life, cooking, wild edibles, and friends. Our family was here for an afternoon and really enjoyed the experience. "

 

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    Park

    Open Year-Round Daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Closed Thanksgiving Day & December 25

    Visitor Center 
    Winter Hours September 4 - May 1: Wednesday - Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    Closed Thanksgiving Day, November 25, December 24 & 25 and January 1

    Summer Hours May 2 - September 2: Open Daily 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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    Location

    6717 Highway 12 W Lolo, MT 59847

Travelers’ Rest State Park

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Painted Rocks State Park

Painted Rocks State Park

Painted Rocks State Park

Named for the green, yellow and orange lichens that cover the grey and black walls of the granite and rhyolite cliffs, Painted Rocks State Park is located in the West Fork Valley of the Bitterroot Mountains.

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Looking to camp?

Painted Rocks State Park offers 25 campsites, a boat ramp and boat dock. Be sure if you’re bringing your trailer or RV that it’s no longer than 25 feet!

And if you like to hike, there are many trailheads near the park that offer access to national forest land. 

Things To Do

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    Camping Site

  • Open Year-Round
  • 23 Acres

Features

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    Park Amenities

  • ADA Accessible
  • Pets Allowed
  • Toilets (Vault)
  • Boat Dock and Launch
  • Established Fire Pits
  • Plus, much more!

Painted Rocks Dam was originally planned to be constructed for agricultural use!

The Montana Water Conservation started work on Painted Rock Dam in 1939. Today, Painted Rocks Reservoir provides water for irrigation, stock water, domestic use and in-stream flows for fish. The reservoir the dam creates is the perfect location for boating or fishing!

While in the park, keep your eyes open for the diverse populations of wildlife including elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, black bear or moose! You may even catch a glimpse of bighorn sheep or peregrine falcons which were reintroduced to the area in the 1980s.

Are you or do you know an avid birdwatcher? If you happen to be in the area in the spring or fall, you’re in luck! Osprey, great blue heron, water ouzels, spotted sandpiper and kill-deer make pitstops in their migration patterns at Painted Rocks State Park.

Part of the homeland of the Salish people for many years, this area continues to be a place of great value to the Salish. The area did, and still does, provide great hunting and a place to gather traditional foods such as huckleberries, serviceberries, Bitterroot, trout as well as other fish and mountain tea. 

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Curious what other visitors have had to say about the park?

"It was beautiful! I've been here many times but this is the first time I kayaked it. Absolutely smooth as glass on the most perfect sunshiny day."

"Beautiful, peaceful, wonderful place to spend time with the family."

"What is not to love. So worth the drive."

"Lovely scenery, very peaceful. Saw my first big horn sheep in the wild here. It was amazing"

 

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    Park

    Open Year-Round

    Dawn to Dusk

    Campground

    Open Year-Round

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    Location

    8809 West Fork Road Darby, MT 59829

Painted Rocks State Park

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Missouri Headwaters State Park

Missouri Headwaters State Park

Missouri Headwaters State Park

Missouri Headwaters State Park is just outside of Three Forks downtown and only 35 minutes outside of Bozeman. The convergence of the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin rivers is the start of the longest river in North America, the Missouri River.  Considered an essential part of the geography of the western U.S.

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Things to do:

Just outside of Three Forks, you’ll find Missouri Headwaters State Park, the confluence of the Madison, Jefferson and Gallatin rivers which form the 2,300 mile Missouri River.

At Missouri Headwaters State Park, you can still find the area looking much as it did historically - with much of the region's abundant wildlife, vegetation, and scenic beauty preserved - making it clear what has attracted people for thousands of years.

Things To Do

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    Camping Site

  • Looking to camp in history? There are 17 campsites available and you can even rent a tipi!
  • Interpretive displays describing the area’s cultural and natural history can be found to help guide you!
  • Take your bike for a spin on the many trails throughout the park!
  • Not much of a biker? Use the trails for a scenic hike instead!
  • Take a float down the river, you’ll have your choice of three!
  • Visit Fort Rock to take a look at historic pictographs. 

Features

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    Park Amenities

  • Open Year-Round
  • 532 Acres
  • ADA Accessible
  • Pets Allowed
  • Toilets (Flush & Vault)
  • Water
  • Boat Launch
  • Maps
  • Interpretive Display
  • Plus so much more!

The three rivers that converge to form the Missouri River are named for President Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State James Madison and Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin!

The rich, fertile soil along with the proximity to fresh water, brought the Flathead, Bannock and Shoshone Indians to the region and later trappers and settlers, and now this beautiful land has been preserved as a state park for visitors just like you. 

Known for an abundance of wildlife, Missouri Headwaters State Park is a great place to explore, but don’t forget your bug spray! 

In addition to its vast natural resources and outdoor activities, Missouri Headwaters State Park also boasts extensive cultural history - ranging from the tribes that lived there beginning 3,000 years ago to Lewis and Clark to fur traders to settlers.

In late July 1805, William Clark and a small number from the Corps of Discovery reached the Headwaters while scouting for Shoshone Indians, whom they hoped would sell them horses. It was Sacajawea, who recognized the area as where she was captured as a child by the Hidatsa, that led the expedition successfully there.

While at the confluence, Clark left a note for Meriwether Lewis to find and later, Lewis Rock was named for him.

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Curious what other visitors have had to say about the park?

"Very interesting spot to see three rivers come together to make the start of the Missouri River."

"Great campground and great camp host! Paul is awesome and hilarious! He also recommended good fishing spots and filled us in on the local moose population, (phone pics included!) This area is spectacular for bird watching, fishing, hiking and taking in some informative L&C history. Restrooms were spotless and smelled nothing like a vault toilet. Even enjoyed a lightning storm on our last night to wrap it all up. Great entertainment! We’ll probably be back in the fall with our little retro trailer for more fishing, exploring and dry-camping."

"We made a spur of the moment trip with 5 other couples from the Bitterroot Valley . Arrived and were met by the campground host, who was not only a character, but had this park and facilities absolutely spit- shined! The "Dogs on leash" rule is strictly enforced, but makes for a more enjoyable stay for all. My two Labradors liked the Host and the camping. Highly recommend."

"Quiet evening to enjoy the view. Be sure and climb up Fort Rock and enjoy the vistas from a little higher up. Easy walk up."

 

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Missouri Headwaters State Park

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Medicine Rocks State Park

Medicine Rocks State Park

Medicine Rocks State Park

The Medicine Rocks are a series of natural rock formations considered sacred by local Native American tribes. They are covered in Native Rock Art or Pictographs.

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Curious what other visitors have had to say about the park?

"Really cool, has camping and places to cook out. Hiking is good. The rock formations are great."

"This park is a hidden gem. Very scenic and quiet and peaceful. About 7 camping spots ... my 30' trailer was just about as big as a few spots would accommodate. Clean toilets, potable water. Highly recommend."

"Lovely, quiet and interesting gem of a state park. We made the hour trip south off 94 and stayed near here on our way west to Yellowstone. We hiked both the loop trail and the short out and back, saw interesting flowers and wild life. Loved it!"

"This is an exceptional place to visit. The landscapes are gorgeous and mesmerizing. The quiet walks through the park take you back through the centuries and millennia as you explore the prairies and the sandstone towers. Highly recommend."

"A beautiful place to camp and hike. I am currently attending the Dino Shindig in Ekalaka MT, and this state park is a great addition to the memories I will make in south-eastern MT."

"An unexpected delight! Saw these beautiful rocks while driving by, made a mini detour to drive through the park. Worth the visit!"

Park

Open Year-Round

7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Campground

Open Year-Round

Additional Information

Water Available Year-Round

Location

1141 Hwy 7
Ekalaka, MT

Looking to camp?

Those looking to enjoy the park overnight will find 12 campsites nestled among the Swiss cheese-like rock formations. But be sure to arrive early as all of these sites are first-come, first served.

Things To Do

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    Camping Site

  • Hike through the prairie and forest or even climb into caves!
  • Take incredible pictures of the rock formations!
  • Enjoy a picnic and enjoy the ever-changing landscape!
  • Keep your eyes open for wildlife including mule deer, antelope, Woodhouse's toads and sharp-tailed grouse!
  • Camp at one of the 12 rustic campsites!
  • Stargaze on a clear night or plan a visit during a meteor shower! 

Features

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    Park Amenities

  • 330 Acres
  • Pets Allowed
  • Toilets (Vault)
  • Water
  • Maps
  • Plus so many more!

A scenic drive on Montana Highway 7 through rolling hills and prairie, visitors will be amazed by the incredible beauty of Medicine Rocks State Park. As you approach the park you’ll see sandstone pillars, caves archways and towers rising out of the plains with small batches of pine forest in some areas.

But how did these formations come to be?
Around 60-million years ago, the Great Plains were covered by an immense sea. The edges of this sea were swamp-like and forested with a shallow river that cut through carrying sediment from the forming Rocky Mountains. Portions of this sediment were deposited along the path of the river creating sandbars.

Over the years, these sandbars turned to sandstone where wind, water and temperature extremes took their toll.

The stronger materials stayed while the less resistant material was eroded away. The rock that was able to withstand millions of years of erosion now makes up the odd formations found at Medicine Rocks State Park.

Once you’re in the park, a road twists and turns through rock outcroppings taking visitors to the camping and picnic areas. Many of the formations can be viewed from your vehicle, but exploring the park by foot allows visitors to get up close and personal with these rock formations.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Medicine Rocks is also an important cultural site for Native Americans, once used as a vision quest location, meeting place and lookout for bison or enemies.

Many early settlers and cattle drivers carved their names or initials along with the dates they visited into the rocks. You can still find many of these and a complete list of these names can be found in the nearby Carter County Museum!

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Curious what other visitors have had to say about the park?

"Fantastic formations, fun hiking, camping, and picnicking all ages."

"Medicine rocks state park is a beautiful and serene place to visit."

"I saw this park when I was en route to Devil's Tower and decided that, should I ever head out that way again, I would visit it. The park preserves a sand prairie with incredible sandstone. The wildlife viewing was good, as I saw several mule deer and rabbit."

"Lovely, quiet and interesting gem of a state park. We made the hour trip south off 94 and stayed near here on our way west to Yellowstone. We hiked both the loop trail and the short out and back, saw interesting flowers and wildlife. Loved it!"

 

Medicine Rocks State Park

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Makoshika State Park

Makoshika State Park

Makoshika State Park

Makoshika State Park features spectacular badland formations and the remains of the infamous Tyrannosaurus Rex, as well as other amazing dino fossils.

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Looking to dig for fossils?

The park offers special events throughout the year, including Montana Shakespeare in the Park, Friday night campfire programs and youth programs in summer, and the famous Buzzard Day festival, the second Saturday in June, featuring 10k & 5k races and a fun run, Native American singers & drummers, jumping house, food, disc golf tournament, hikes and more!

Visitors are asked not to bring metal detectors, and no digging, collecting or removal of artifacts is allowed.

Included within the park are an archery site, scenic drives, hiking trails, 28 camping sites, a group picnic area, and an outdoor amphitheater.

Things To Do

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    Camping Site

  • Archaeology
  • Backcountry Camping
  • Bird Watching
  • Bow Hunting
  • Camping
  • Deer Hunting
  • Education
  • Exhibits
  • Group Camping
  • Heritage
  • Hiking
  • History
  • Hunting
  • Mountain Biking
  • Museum
  • Outdoor Activity
  • Paleontology
  • Photography
  • Picnicking
  • RV Camping
  • Sightseeing
  • Tent Camping
  • Visitor Center
  • Wildlife Viewing

Features

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    Park Amenities

  • ADA Accessible
  • Children's Activities
  • Established Fire Pits
  • Firewood for Sale
  • Gift Shop
  • Grills/Fire Rings
  • Interpretive Display
  • Maps
  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Pack-in/Pack-out
  • Public Restroom
  • Toilets (Flush)
  • Toilets (Vault)
  • Trash Cans
  • Plus so much more!

The visitor center at the park entrance has interpretive exhibits that are great for kids.

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Curious what other visitors have had to say about the park?

"Really cool rock features. Very easy hikes to see amazing views."

"Never a disappointment. I LOVE Makoshika park. I always stop by to visit the ranger's in the gift shop. They are all so very welcoming."

"The scenic overlooks are awesome. Some of the trails are slightly treacherous. Bring water on your walks. The staff are friendly and helpful. The visitor center has some very cool displays of the archeological finds from the area."

"We loved this park. Great views and hiking- decent privacy for spots even though there aren’t really trees to separate the sites. Lots of things to do nearby since it’s so close to town! Wish we had time to take a longer visit and hike more of the trails! Watch out for cacti!"

 

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    Park

    Open all year
    Open daily 7 am to 10 pm Water available year round

    Campground 
    Open year round

    Visitor Center 
    Winter Hours 3rd Monday of Sept – 3rd Thursday of May: Open Wed - Sun, 10 am - 5 pm.

    Summer Hours 3rd Friday of May – 3rd Sunday of Sept:
    Open daily, 10 am - 5 pm.

    Closed all federal and state holidays except Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day.

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    Location

    1301 Snyder Avenue Glendive, MT 59330

Makoshika State Park

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