Montana History

Rosebud Battlefield State Park 6

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 Because Crook’s troops had been withdrawn from the war zone in order to resupply, they were not there to support Colonel Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn one week later.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.

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

Pictograph Cave State Park 4

Pictograph Cave State Park

Pictograph Cave State Park

Pictograph Cave State Park

Pictograph Cave State Park lies just outside of Billings, MT. This park features three caves that are preserved and protected in the 23-acre state park.

Along the rimrocks, you'll find where Pictograph Cave has drawn human beings for over 3,000 years and was home to generations of prehistoric hunters.

We are able to bring you valuable information about this amazing state park thanks to the support of:

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Looking to camp?

With its abundant wildlife and vegetation, the fertile Yellowstone River valley just north of the park provided an ideal campsite for travelers. Inside the three caves at the park, you can find over 2,100-year-old pictographs from some of Montana's first inhabitants.

When and how these inhabitants arrived is still a mystery and the pictographs they left behind are still subject to great debate.

  • Transport yourself back in time by exploring the caves
  • Check out the Visitor Center and learn more about the history of the caves.
  • Eat your picnic while gazing out at incredible views.
  • Don’t forget to pick up a memento from the gift shop!
  • See if you can spot any wildlife near the caves.

Due to its archeological significance, Pictograph Cave State Park was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1964. Thousands of years ago, prehistoric hunters who camped in the Pictograph Cave left behind artifacts and over 100 pictographs. The oldest art found at Pictograph Cave State Park is over 2,000 years old and from some of the very first humans on the plains.

The three main caves in the park - Pictograph, Middle, and Ghost - were created from the Eagle sandstone cliff by water and wind erosion. The deepest of the caves, Pictograph Cave, is 160 feet wide and 45 feet deep. In 1936 the first artifacts and paintings were discovered in the caves. Roughly 30,000 artifacts were excavated from the site including, stone tools, weapons, paintings, and instruments. These artifacts helped researchers understand which native people used the caves and when.

In addition to tools and animal bones, the excavations also turned up jewelry, pendants, bracelets, and beads crafted of seashells acquired from Pacific Coast Indians, and in one excavation, researchers discovered barbed harpoon points of the Eskimo culture, made of caribou horn.

At the Park today, you'll see pictographs depicting animals, warriors, and even rifles! The different colors used in the pictographs allowed researchers to identify when people inhabited the region and gave an inside look into their lifestyle. If you’re planning to visit, be sure to bring your binoculars to get the best view of the rock art and be sure to check out the Visitor’s Center which includes interpretive displays and a gift shop.

Depending on the season you can see mountain lions, black bears, turkeys, coyotes, porcupines, red-tailed hawks, golden eagles, bald eagles, northern harriers, bobcats, mountain cottontails, rock doves, turkey vultures, mule deer, canyon wrens, magpies, ravens, crows, and chickadees.

The best time to see the pictographs is after rain or snowmelt! The moisture causes the drawings to become more prominent. And you'll give yourself about an hour to walk the trail with extra time for a picnic and bird watching.

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

"Great place to spend a couple hours, lots of history and dog-friendly. Even in March, it’s a beautiful place to go. Could hear the cracking of the ice on the Yellowstone while looking at the caves."

"Be aware, if you are not from Montana, that you need to be snake smart as this is a habitat for rattlesnakes. Watch where you step and leave them alone if you see one and they will leave you alone."

"Really enjoyed this cave Included the Indian Heritage couple of steep climbs but overall a good walking experience."

"Went here with my kids, great staff and charming volunteers. Nicely laid out park, but I was most struck by realizing that I was standing in a spot that has been inhabited for over 10,000 years. Artifacts from this spot are twice the age of the Great Pyramids of Giza."

 

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    Park

    Open Year-Round

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    Park Off Season (Third Monday in September - Third Thursday in May)

    Open Wednesday - Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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    Peak Season (Third Friday in May - Third Sunday in September)

    Park Open Daily 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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    Visitor Center

    Off-Season

    Open Wednesday - Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Peak Season

    Open Daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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    Additional Information

    Park and Visitor Center Closed:

    Thanksgiving, December 24, 25 & 31 and January 1

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    Location

    3401 Coburn Road Billings, MT 59101

Missouri Headwaters State Park 2

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.

We are able to bring you valuable information about this amazing state park thanks to the support of:

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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.

  • 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. 

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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Milltown State Park 3

Milltown State Park

Milltown State Park

Milltown State Park

On the outskirts of Missoula you’ll find Montana’s newest state park Milltown State Park. Once a Superfund river restoration project, years of hard work from multiple state and federal agencies, non-profits, businesses, and committed volunteers helped make the park what it is today.

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Interpretive displays are placed both at the overlook and confluence areas to provide insight into the history of the area. The story of how people have used the park and the confluence of the Blackfoot and Clark Fork Rivers is told from multiple perspectives in these detailed and interesting displays.

Outdoor opportunities and cultural heritage merge at the restored confluence of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers at Milltown providing a unique opportunity for visitors.
The park includes 500 acres of terrain that ranges from restored river bottoms to a pine forested bluff that overlooks the confluence.

The park affords visitors a place to go hiking, biking, fishing, floating and watching for birds and wildlife. The Milltown State Park Overlook is open and features interpretive displays and picnic tables. There are nearly three miles of hiking trails that lead from the Overlook down to the Clark Fork River and its floodplain trails. 

The Confluence and Gateway areas, on the north side of the river, saw construction begin in the summer of 2017. The park development include trails, an interpretive plaza and river access. The grand opening for the Confluence area was June 23, 2018

Among the many stories from the deep past are the Glacial Lake Missoula floods that shaped the landscape thousands of years ago. The Salish and Kalispell know the confluence as the place of bull trout and consider it part of their ancestral home. In 19th century history, Meriwether Lewis made a Fourth of July passage through the confluence and decades later the Mullan Expedition spent a harsh winter there. Beginning in the 1880s, the rivers were dammed to produce power for the mills and communities but at great consequence.

The hopeful story of the Milltown Dam removal and rivers' return offers an opportunity to explore America's changing relationship to the land as well as the benefits that river restoration yields for Montana's families and communities.

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

"Super pretty day with blue skies. Easy walks for kids and grandparents."

"The State really did a beautiful job on this park it is awe inspiring and a photo in any direction of incredible landscaping."

"Good view, pretty wildflowers, walking trail, picnic table, quiet"

"Great place to relax"

 

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    Park

    Confluence Area Open 

    May 1 to September 30

    9 am to 9 pm

    October 1 to April 30

    9am to 5pm

    Overlook Area Open

    Sunrise to sunset

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    Location

    Confluence Area

    7363 Juniper Drive

    Missoula, MT 

    Overlook Area

    1353 Deer Creek Road

    Missoula, MT

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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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.

  • 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! 

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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    Park

    Open Year-Round 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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    Campground

    Open Year-Round

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    Additional Information

    Water Available Year-Round

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    Location

    1141 Hwy 7 Ekalaka, MT

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."

 

"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!"

 

"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!"

 

"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!"

Madison Buffalo Jump State Park

Madison Buffalo Jump State Park

Madison Buffalo Jump State Park

Take a picnic and hike to the top of a buffalo jump for impressive views of the Madison River Valley.

We are able to bring you valuable information about this amazing state park thanks to the support of:

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Situated on the edge of a broad valley carved by the Madison River, this high limestone cliff was used by Native Americans for 2,000 years - ending as recently as 200 years ago.

Native people stampeded vast herds of bison off this massive semicircular cliff, using them for food, clothing, shelter and provisions.

"Runners," highly skilled young men trained for speed and endurance, wore buffalo, antelope or wolf skins to lure bison to the "pishkun" or cliff. The buffalo jump was often the key to existence for native peoples.

Although the introduction of horses led to the abandonment of this jump sometime after 1700, the rugged outcropping now serves as an inspiring monument to the region's early inhabitants.

The park includes all the main geographical features of a jump site, and other evidence remains to provide visitors with a glimpse into the cultures that used this hunting style. Interpretive displays help visitors understand the dramatic events that took place here for nearly 2,000 years.

Buffalo bones still lie buried at the cliff's base, and archaeologists have located the tipi rings of an extensive village. With a little imagination it is easy to visualize the drama of a buffalo drive, the thunderous roar of the stampede, the dramatic sight of the fall, and the frenzy of activity that followed.

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Curious what other visitors have to say about the park?

"Cool historic site! Surprisingly this place was chillingly peaceful."

"A good hike, short and sweet. Nice interpretive signage at the end of the .5 mile hike. It's a good place to go to get out of the city for a while!"

"This place is worth the trip a little ways off of the main hiways. The Madison Buffalo Jump has a true unique historic feel to it. You really get the sense with all the info plaques etc. that you can imagine the buffalo careering off the edge. You get a real idea of what the indigenous people went through to survive. I would definitely recommend hiking up to the top either by attacking it straight on, or the easier route around the side."

"Worth the extra drive to get to the trailhead. There is a short mile and a half return hike to the interpretive kiosk and back. Very easy walking and the interpretive displays are very well done. The longer walk will take you to the top of the buffalo jump itself. Some steep climbs involved. It is not half as dangerous at the top as it sounds. The view across to the Madison River is exceptional."

"Wasn't wearing proper hiking attire to hike up the hill, but enjoyed the peaceful songs of the Meadowlarks."

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    Park

    Open all year
    Daylight hours

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    Location

    6990 Buffalo Jump Road
    Three Forks, MT 59752

Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park 1

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. 

The park offers two tours: The Classic Tour which visits the majority of the developed cave but is physically challenging, and The Paradise tour that 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.

The tours are first come, first served.

Tickets are limited.

Get in touch with the park for more information. 

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.

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

    Open Year-Round

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    Campground

    Open

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    Water

    Available May 2 - Sept 30.

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    Showers & Comfort Station

    Available May 2 - Sept 30

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    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

Granite Ghost Town State Park 3

Granite Ghost Town State Park

Granite Ghost Town State Park

Granite Ghost Town State Park

Once a thriving 1890s silver boomtown, Granite Ghost Town State Park, is exactly what its name suggests, the remains of a mining town from the 1800s. In 1865, Hector Horton discovered silver in the area and in the autumn of 1872, the Granite mine was discovered by a prospector named Holland. The mine was relocated in 1875.

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To keep in mind before your visit...

Permits are required for some activities.

Prepare for a steep and windy drive to Granite from Phillipsburg. The road gains 1,280 feet in elevation and you may need to pull over for oncoming traffic, but you’ll have a beautiful view!

Only a few buildings still remain, but the main street of Granite was once bustling with saloons, a newspaper office, rooming houses, and restaurants. The state park preserves the Granite Mine Superintendent’s house and the ruins of the old miners’ Union Hall, both of which are included in the Historic American Buildings Survey. 

Be sure to take some time to hike the web of trails that lead to old homes and other ruins in the area while you’re here!

This is one of the best ghost camps in all of Montana. At one point the Granite mine was the richest silver mine on the earth, and it might never have been discovered if a telegram from the east hadn't been delayed. The mine's backers thought the venture was hopeless and ordered an end to its operation, but the last blast, on the last shift uncovered a bonanza, which yielded $40,000,000 in silver.

In the silver panic of 1893, word came to shut the mine down. The mine was deserted for three years, never again would it reach the population it once had of over 3,000 miners.
Today there is no one living in the camp. The shell of the Miners' Union Hall still stands. The roof supports have caved to the bottom floor, the third-floor dance hall, second-floor union offices, and ground-floor saloon/cafe are about to collapse together. The company hospital still stands.

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

"Follow Granite Road which leads directly to the park. There is a sign on Granite Road where you need to turn that says "Granite Road, Ghost Town 4 Miles". Follow that sign and you're on the right path. The road is rough, but a car can make it if you drive carefully. Plenty of one lane areas where two vehicles can not pass.

"I really enjoy spending the day in the mountains. Seeing an old mining ghost town was a big bonus."

"Very cool late 19th century mining town. Lots of stone foundations and a couple buildings still almost intact. The inginuity of our forefathers as well as the massive amount of labor displayed around this old mine is impressive. The taling piles are gargantuan and the mill foundation looks like some old building in Europe."

"Took my hubby and dog on an adventure to this incredible piece of history! We went on a snowy, cold autumn day but it was so worth it! There are some building still standing, many that are only partial, but a lot of neat mining history, and the granite ghost walk trail is great and takes you through just about everything there is to see. The road up is a bit rough, but cars can make it. Overall, it was awesome to explore a bit of Montana history from 200 years ago and to see what is still standing."

 

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    Park

    • Season 5/1 - 9/30 
    • Daylight Hours Only
    • Reservations Not Accepted

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    Location

    347 Granite Road Phillipsburg, MT 59858

Giant Springs State Parks

Giant Springs State Park

Giant Springs State Park

Giant Springs State Park

Located just outside of Great Falls lies Giant Springs State Park.

Originally discovered by Lewis & Clark in 1805, Giant Springs is one of the largest freshwater springs in the country.

Come marvel at this day-use park's remarkable features and view the variety of birdlife. Take part in their special events, picnic by the Missouri River, visit the fish hatchery and visitor center, walk along the Rivers Edge Trail, view the nearby Rainbow Falls overlook, or visit the neighboring Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center operated by the U.S. Forest Service.

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Things to do:

The spring flows at a rate of 156 million gallons of water per day and is always 54 degrees Fahrenheit! Multiple bridges cross the crystal clear water the makes up Giant Springs, allowing visitors to peer in and see the growing vegetation and even an occasional fish!

While you won’t find any camping at Giant Springs State Park, you won’t find the park lacking in activities! The Roe River (also found in Giant Springs State Park) was once listed in the Guinness Book for World Records as the world’s shortest river!

  • Visit the fish hatchery and visitor center.
  • Take a walk on the Rivers Edge Trail.
  • Go on a hike along the many trails hugging the Missouri River.
  • Take in the Rainbow Falls at the overlook.
  • Visit the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, located nearby and operated by the U.S. Forest Service.

The water found in Giant Springs comes from the Madison Aquifer under the Little Belt Mountains. Because the water stays around 54 degrees year-round, Giant Springs State Park is great to visit regardless of the season!

In the winter, the steam rises off of the unfrozen water and birds flock around the warm water, while in the summer, the park is, on average, 20 degrees cooler than the nearby city of Great Falls.

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

"Absolutley beautiful place top visit. Especially during spring and summer time. Trail access is easy from here and is a must see for anyone paying through or visiting."

"This is by far the best park in Great Falls and has a lot of good history posted around the park. There is a very clear natural spring, a playground for the kids, lots of barbecues and picnic areas. Just don't leave a mess like some of the tourists do.. throw your trash away and keep this place looking nice."

"Turned out to be a great Sunday to visit the park. Sun was shining, no wind, 38 degrees out but it felt great. Picnickers we're about. Nice "museum" for the hatchery. Got to feed some really big rainbow trout."

"This is a must see attraction if you visit Great Falls. The trout hatchery, the kids pond, the amazing views, and excellent fishing right from the park. We had our engagement photos done here as well. Bring a picnic lunch and spend the day."

 

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    Park

    Open Year-Round, 8 a.m. to Sunset

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    Location

    4803 Giant Springs Road Great Falls, MT 59405

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Fort Owen State Park

Fort Owen State Park

Fort Owen State Park

Travel 25 minutes south of Missoula, MT and into Stevensville, MT to Fort Owen State Park. Here you will find the remains of the oldest pioneer settlement in the State of Montana.

A beautiful place to visit, however, Fort Owen State Park is currently under major construction.

We are able to bring you valuable information about this amazing state park thanks to the support of:

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Wanting to visit?

Originally home to the first Catholic Church in Montana, founded by Father DeSmet in 1841, Fort Owen has a rich history and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Here are some of our favorites when visiting Fort Owen State Park:

  • Check out the museum!
  • Capture the historical significance through photography!
  • Enjoy your picnic with amazing views.
  • Don’t forget your binoculars if you plan to do any wild life and bird watching!
  • Visit the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife refuge just down the road.
  • Visit nearby Stevensville and the St. Mary’s Mission.
  • Plus so much more!

Fort Owen served as an important trading hub for Western Montana for over 20 years. However, when the Mullan Road was built in 1863, connecting Fort Benton to Walla Walla, Washington, it became the main transportation route and bypassed Fort Owen, going north through Missoula instead. This property has passed through many hands, one acre surrounding the remains of the fort was given to the Fort Owen Historical Association in 1937. In 1956 they conveyed it to the state of Montana for one dollar.

In addition to its many firsts, it also was the first recorded land transaction in Montana and contains the oldest constructed buildings in the State of Montana. Today you can tour one of the barracks that served as John Owen’s home and library, see the outline of the fort’s walls, a reconstructed root cellar, the well-house and a historic cabin. The rooms in the east barracks feature period furnishings and artifacts and visitors will find interpretive signs and exhibits which detail the region's history.

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

"Wonderful Place. Every One Must Go."

"Nice historical monument. Nicely kept."

"What a neat little place full of Montana history. We stopped in to see Fort Owen State Park while we were in the Stevensville area visiting. It’s not a big place so you won’t spend much time here. There are some good lessons in history walking through the buildings."

"Lots of information. Great for families. Lots of information without over doing it. Informative and fun."

 

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    Park

    Open Year-Round

    From 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

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    Location

    99 Fort Owen Ranch Rd Stevensville, MT 59870

Parks That Others Are Visiting