Hunting

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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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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Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park

Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park

Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park

Located just east of Whitehall, MT, lies the Lewis and Clark Caverns. Discovered in 1892 by local hunters, these caverns went on to become Montana's first state park.

As one of the largest known limestone cavern systems in the northwest, Montanans have been exploring the caves for over 100 years!

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Interested in tours?

Access to the cave is by guided tours only, May through September with limited candlelight tours offered in December. Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park also features camping and a network of trails to hike or bike, a state-of-the-art visitor center, interpretive displays, a gift shop, food and beverage concessions, amphitheater, and interpretive events presented during the summer months.

Looking to camp?

The park has a large campground with 40 campsites, a tipi, and three cabins, which you can reserve online, and a group camping area, which you must contact the park to reserve. There is a $5 charge to use the dump station.

The site encompasses 3,015 acres. The entry area is at an elevation of 4,300 feet and the caverns area is at an elevation of 5,300 feet.

Cave access is only available through the guided tour. You will be asked to please wear a mask. 

Cavern Tours are now being offered. 

Special procedures for the safety of our visitors and staff:

Only Paradise tours offered at this time. The Paradise tour will guide you to the largest, most decorated rooms of the cave. Tour length is approximately 1 mile and the tour takes about 1 1/2 hours.

Pre-registration and pre-payment are required. To reserve tour tickets, learn how to prepare for your visit or discover current Park restrictions, call (406) 287-3541. Tickets are limited. We are only booking tours within a 2-week window from the date you call.

Call for tickets even if it is the day you’d like to take a tour.

Paradise Tours will be offered Friday-Monday, hourly from 9:15am-5:15pm.

Bring a face covering. Face coverings are required during cave tours, although optional for other areas of the park. Park disinfecting procedures involve using a bleach solution.

Visitors should consider wearing new or very clean gloves, especially in the caverns where the handrails are cleaned with bleach solution every tour.

Because of group size restrictions, tours are very limited. Park facilities that are open now are disinfected intermittently. We suggest visitors bring hand sanitizer and/or disinfecting wipes for personal use.

Paradise Tour 

Difficulty: Easy
Length: 1 mile / 90 minutes
Schedule: Beginning May 22, 2020 Friday-Monday, offered hourly, 9:15 am-5:15 pm. Cost: $15 / person, 15 years & older; $10 for seniors, persons with a disability, and youth ages 5-14 years; children 4 years & under are free.

Pre-registration and pre-payment required. To reserve tour tickets, learn how to prepare for your visit or discover current Park restrictions, call (406) 287-3541.

Tickets are limited. Call for tickets even if it is the day you’d like to take a tour. Walk a level ½ mile trail to see the Paradise Room, the largest, most active and decorated portion of the cave. Part of the tour is wheelchair accessible.

Things To Do

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    Camping Site

  • Bicycling
  • Bird Watching
  • Camping
  • Canoeing
  • Deer Hunting
  • Fishing
  • Group Camping
  • Guided Cave Tours
  • Hiking
  • History
  • Hunting
  • Lewis And Clark
  • Nature
  • Photography
  • Picnicking
  • River Fishing
  • RV Camping
  • Tent Camping
  • Visitor Center
  • Wildlife Viewing

Features

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    Park Amenities

  • ADA Accessible
  • Camp Host
  • Electricity
  • Established Fire Pits
  • Firewood for Sale
  • Gift Shop
  • Holiday Event
  • Interpretive Display
  • Maps
  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Playground
  • Public Restroom
  • RV Dump Station
  • RV Hookups
  • Shower
  • Toilets (Flush)
  • Toilets (Vault)
  • Tours
  • Trash Removal
  • Water
  • Plus so much more!

Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park features one of the largest known limestone caverns in the Northwest.

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

"The caverns are amazing and the tours are fantastic. I have been through several times over the years and always loved the experience. The candlelight tours in the winter are amazing for the experience and historic aspects, but the summer tours really show off the caverns with the lights. All of the guides are passionate about their jobs and the caves, and love to teach. Great place to visit and bring friends and family."

"Absolutely beautiful! The bats are very cool to see as well! Can't wait to see it again."

"These Caverns are a jewel. The drive to the caverns winds along the Jefferson River, with cliffs adorning the sides of the road. Our party were excited to to the Caverns today, as it was the rare tour through the cave system with candles!!! This Candlelight tour is offered only at Christmas. What a treat!! The vision of the fellow participants weaving among the cave features is idyllic. It is surprising how much light the candlelight can make in the total dark. This is a best kept secret. The tour guides are top notch."

"A truly fascinating and unique experience! Amazing formations of nature. A true treasure. Outstanding tour and educational experience. Highly recommend!"

 

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    Park

    Caverns
    Limited tours beginning May 22, 2020.

    Campground 
    Open.

    Water 
    Available May 2 - Sept 30.

    Showers & Comfort Station 
    Available May 2 - Sept 30

    Visitor Center 

    Normal hours: Winter hours, October 7 - April 13: Open Wed - Sun, 10 am - 4 pm. Summer hours: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm daily; Open until 6:30pm in mid-summer.

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    Location

    25 Lewis and Clark Caverns Rd. Whitehall, MT 59759

Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park

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Fish Creek State Park

Fish Creek State Park

Fish Creek State Park

Fish Creek State Park is located at 851 Rivulet Road in Alberton.

Fish Creek State Park provides a large landscape State Park in western Montana with a diverse array of recreational opportunities such as hiking, mountain biking, angling, sightseeing, wildlife viewing, motorized use on open roads, and hunting.

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Looking to camp?

From the lookout atop Williams Peak to the crystal clear blue pools of Fish Creek, this 5,603-acre state park is full of wildlife, beautiful scenery and places to explore.

The Alberton Gorge, with class 3-4 whitewater rafting, is nearby.

This undeveloped park lacks many amenities that other nearby parks feature such as a visitor center, camping facilities, or regular staffing

Things To Do

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    Camping Site

  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Mountain biking
  • Photography
  • Picnicking
  • Snowshoeing

Features

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    Park Amenities

  • Daylight Hours
  • 5,603 Acres
  • Pets Allowed
  • Plus so much more!

The 41,000 acres was acquired by the Nature Conservancy and Trust for Public Lands from the Plum Creek Timber Co. for $17 million. In 2010 the state of Montana officially gained ownership of the land, setting aside a share for the state park.

The topography of the park varies and includes timbered draws, ridges, flat stretches, riparian areas, and steep, narrow canyons.

There are around 60 miles of old logging roads within the park! As one of Montana’s newest state parks, there aren’t many amenities, but you will find plenty of activities! 

You won’t find camping at Fish Creek, yet, but if you’re feeling adventurous, the Alberton Gorge provides first-rate whitewater rafting. You may be looking for something a bit tamer though, in which case fishing is one of the most popular activities at Fish Creek State Park!

Many visitors love to hike up to the Williams Peak lookout which provides incredible views of the Mission Mountains to the northeast and Bitterroot Mountains to the southwest. 

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

"Lots of forested lands. A new park, my first experience was cross country skiing."

"Great boon- docking spot. Lots of wildlife and views."

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    Park

    Open Year-Round

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    Location

    851 Rivulet Road Alberton, MT 59820

Parks That Others Are Visiting

Fish Creek State Park

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First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park

First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park

First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park

Located South of Great Falls and just outside of Ulm, First Peoples Buffalo Jump is one of the largest buffalo jumps in the United States and is known in the archeology community as the most significant buffalo jump in the world! Evidence suggests that this site, also known as the Ulm Pishkin, may have been the most frequently used buffalo jump in the world.

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Park history

A 6,000 square foot Visitor Center helps to pay homage to both the buffalo and the Native American’s who honor it. Inside you’ll find buffalo culture exhibits, a circle for storytelling, a classroom, a gallery, and a bookstore!

Outside the Visitor Center are an outdoor amphitheater and even a few traditional games playing fields. The cliffsides now offer up amazing views to visitors from all over the world.

Things To Do

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    Camping Site

  • Bird Watching
  • Bow Hunting
  • Education
  • Exhibit
  • Hiking
  • History
  • Museum
  • Nature
  • Photography
  • Picnicking
  • Sightseeing
  • Upland Bird Hunting
  • Visitor Center
  • Wildlife Viewing

Features

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    Park Amenities

  • ADA Accessible
  • Children's Activities
  • Gift Shop
  • Interpretive Display
  • Maps
  • National Historic Landmark
  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Public Restroom
  • Toilets (Flush)
  • Toilets (Vault)
  • Trash Removal
  • Plus so much more!

At the base of the cliff, you can see 18 feet of compact buffalo remains, but it can be difficult to make out distinct items like skulls or other bones after so many years. The original name of the park “Ulm Pishkin” comes from the Blackfeet word "Pis'kun," meaning "deep kettle of blood”. The mile-long cliff ranges from 30 to 50 feet in height, any higher and meat may have been damaged and unusable. Of the over 300 buffalo kill sites in Montana, First Peoples Buffalo Jump is one of only three that are protected.

Native tribes would stampede herds of bison off the cliff and collect the remains below. Bison meat served as a main staple in the early Native American diets of the region. While this form of hunting was very popular and safe compared to the alternatives it was not the most common.

Ambush killing, where the hunters would sneak up to the animal before attacking, was the most frequent way for them to provide food, tools, and clothing to their families. It was very dangerous due to the size and strength of the animal. Because of this many of these sites are considered sacred. Ambush hunting became less and less utilized as the horse came onto the scene, allowing hunters to keep pace with the bison and guide them more effectively to sites like this and eventually as they began breeding horses even the buffalo jump became obsolete. Giving way to mounted hunters who could chase, kill, and carry back the precious remains.

The most accepted theory as to the use of “Buffalo Jumps” has the hunters slowly encircling the herds and pushing them towards the area. It could take hours if not days and was very dangerous.

As the herds would draw closer and closer to the cliffs they would be guided to a specific spot by others using low fences made of twisted vines and large rocks. These “Drive Lines” can still be found today. They extended sometimes over a quarter of a mile away.

Once the Buffalo had reached their holding spot the hunters would approach, sometimes wearing wolf pelts and sneaking on all fours, and when the time was right they would jump up shouting and making loud noises creating a stampede.

The fastest and bravest of the hunters, called “Buffalo-Runners” would dance in front of the herds leading them over the cliff. Often jumping to a safe spot just below the ledge.

After the herd had gone over or dispersed the women, children, and elders would move through the aftermath killing any that may have survived and then processing and harvesting as much of the animal as possible.

Plan to spend at least two hours at First Peoples Buffalo Jump to make time for the many activities!

*Notice!: Due to recent world-wide events Visitors Centers, Regional Offices, Ranger Stations, Campgrounds, and other facilities including many restrooms are now closed to the public. MT FWP is monitoring the situation and making changes to their policy on a rolling two week basis.

Years after the area was settled it became a cattle ranch and eventually mining area. Eventually, in the 1950s the bone itself began to be mined before a local rancher named Earl Monroe leased the land to protect it from further destruction.

Earl kept the land off-limits to the public while under his care. The land went through many hands and many legal battles over the years before finally coming under the protection of the state in the late ‘90s and becoming a full-fledged state park in the year 2000.

 

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

"The museum itself was extremely neat and clean. It's a small establishment that you can tour yourself - which I LOVED! The 2 guides were helpful and answered any questions that we had regarding the jump. I would absolutely suggest this place to anyone visiting the Great Falls area."

"What a piece of history we knew nothing about. Fascinating and then taking the drive to the cliffs I couldn't imagine running ahead of a herd of buffalo and at the last minute jumping over the edge to safety. This park is definitely worth a visit. Make the time."

"Great history and amazing views of the valley. A great 1 mile hike up to the buffalo jump cliff, or take the road around the other side of you don't want to hike it. Restroom is available in the visitors building and near the cliff."

"What a great place to see. It is so peaceful and tranquil. I enjoyed it so very much."

 

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    Park

    Summer - open daily.
    Winter - open Wednesday through Sunday.

    Summer Hours 
    Visitor Center and Upper Access Area:
    4/15 - 9/16: 8 am - 6 pm daily

    Winter Hours
    Visitor Center and Upper Access Area:
    9/17 - 3/31 10 am - 4 pm Wed - Sat
    and 12 pm - 4 pm Sun.
    Closed Monday & Tuesday

    The gates at the top of the Jump may be closed during times of deep snow.

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    Location

    342 Ulm -Vaughn Rd. Ulm, MT 59485

First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park

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