With Fall around the corner and the temperatures cooling, there’s no better time to plan a trip to one of Montana’s state parks. Montana’s state parks offer endless adventure, whether you are going kayaking on a pristine lake, hiking on one of many trails or even learning incredible history, our state parks have something for everyone. With 55 state parks across the state, it can be hard to choose just one, below you will find a highlight of 8 parks and the adventures they have waiting for you to explore.
Makoshika State Park
Makoshika is filled with a vast and beautiful landscape of badland formations, where visitors can explore the trails and take in the breathtaking views, while also learning about the history of these lands. Makoshika is also home to many incredible fossil remains, including a Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops. The history and beauty of Makoshika leaves a lasting impression on the visitors who come to explore it.
To learn more about the activities available at Makoshika State Park visit https://fwp.mt.gov/stateparks/makoshika
Pictograph State Park
Incredible history is told on the stone walls of Pictograph State Park, where visitors can view over 100 pictographs, or rock paintings. These paintings highlight the human habitation of Montana and gives glimpses into the past, when prehistoric hunters camped in the area. As you explore the 3/4-mile loop trail that takes you to three separate caves, learn not only about the human history, but also about the natural features and vegetation found in the area.
To learn more about Pictograph State Park visit https://fwp.mt.gov/stateparks/pictograph-cave/
Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park
Montana’s first state park, Lewis and Clark Caverns, is a hidden gem. Here visitors can explore with a guide a beautiful labyrinth of limestone stalactites, stalagmites and columns that is hidden away inside a mountain. Come learn how these incredible geological formations were formed. When the cave tour is complete you can continue your adventure by hiking on one of the many trails, or you can even camp at the park. Cave tours are usually offered until late September, but the rest of the park, including its 10+ mile trail system, is open year-round.
For more information on cave tours or to learn more about the trails and camping opportunities visit: https://fwp.mt.gov/stateparks/lewis-and-clark-caverns
Chief Plenty Coup State Park
The last traditional chief of the Crow Tribe, Chief Plenty Coups was known for his vision, leadership, and bravery. The Park commemorates the life of this incredible man and celebrates his impact on bridging the gap between two cultures. Here you can see his farmstead, view his log cabin, and visit the properties sacred spring. Make sure to make time to also explore the visitor center which highlights Chief Plenty Coups and his many achievements.
For visitor center hours and events at Chief Plenty Coup State Park visit https://fwp.mt.gov/stateparks/chief-plenty-coups
First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park
The buffalo is honored by many of the first people groups to call Montana home. At First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park, discover how these groups survived the rugged landscape and the impact that the buffalo had on their lives. Explore the parks trail system and learn the history behind one of the country’s largest buffalo jumps, while taking in the incredible scenery. Also, make sure to check out the visitor center that highlights the buffalo culture and shares the stories of hunting and living on the high plains.
To learn more about visitor center hours and explore the park’s Fall and Winter events visit https://fwp.mt.gov/stateparks/first-peoples-buffalo-jump
Bannack State Park
Bannack ghost town echoes the voices of prospectors and politicians, who sought wealth and glory in this once prosperous gold rush town. Bannack was Montana’s first territorial capitol and, at one time, over 3,000 people called it home. As the value of gold dwindled, so did Bannack’s population. The townsite now stands as a reminder of Montana’s past and beckons guests to explore what life was like in the “old west.” Visit Montana’s best preserved ghost town and feel its history come alive.
Visit https://fwp.mt.gov/stateparks/bannack-state-park to learn more.
Travelers’ Rest State Park
Exploration and History are at the heart of Traveler’s Rest State Park. Here you can learn about the incredible groups who traveled through this area, including Native American’s traveling along expansive trade routes and the Lewis and Clark expedition, who visited this site twice. Located along the Lolo Creek the park also contains incredible opportunities for bird watching.
Learn more about the park’s history and activities at https://fwp.mt.gov/stateparks/travelers-rest/
Lone Pine State Park
Hit the trail at Lone Pine State Park! The Park features 7.5 miles of trails to hike, mountain bike, horseback ride or even snowshoe. While out on the trails take in the incredible views of the Flathead Valley. When not on the trail stop at the visitor center, which is open all year. Here you can explore the wildlife and forest ecology found within the park.
To learn more about the trails and visitor center visit https://fwp.mt.gov/stateparks/lone-pine