June 18, 2024
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A visit by Southeast Montana is like touring by historical past. Right here, wide-open roads transport you from Billings, a thriving fashionable metropolis, to as far again in time as you need to go—from previous western cattle-trading cities to Native American battlefields to otherworldly landscapes the place dinosaurs as soon as roamed. Alongside the way in which, alternatives for journey and cultural immersion abound.


Located on the banks of the Yellowstone River, Montana’s most populous metropolis can be its cultural and financial hub. Translation: it’s the last word place to begin, finish, or spend a complete Southeast Montana getaway. Discover your bearings with a hike or mountain bike journey alongside Billings’s iconic Rimrocks—sandstone cliffs that rise a whole bunch of toes above town—ranging from Zimmerman Park. As a result of the trailhead is situated on prime of the Rimrocks, guests will discover the views of 5 close by mountain ranges, the Yellowstone River Valley, and downtown Billings as straightforward to return by as they’re gorgeous—particularly at dawn or sundown.


Close by, at Pictograph Cave State Park (open Wednesday by Sunday), comply with the three-quarter-mile-long interpretive path previous three caves adorned with greater than 100 items of the park’s namesake art work, the oldest of which dates again greater than 2,000 years. Come ready with binoculars for the most effective have a look at these historic artworks, that are believed to have been created by nomadic hunters.

Again in downtown Billings, steep your self within the city’s distinctive mix of Previous West and fashionable cultures. When it opened in 1964, the Yellowstone Artwork Museum (YAM) was the primary museum within the area to focus its collections on up to date artwork. That custom continues at present, with an intensive everlasting assortment and rotating exhibitions by up to date artists from the American northwest and northern Rockies. For probably the most immersive expertise, ebook a guided group tour led by one among YAM’s docents (60 minutes, from $5). And don’t miss the Seen Vault, an progressive indifferent facility the place guests can admire YAM’s everlasting assortment.

Eat, Drink & Keep: Begin your day with a chorizo burrito and low at Rail Line Espresso. Later, order a quenching Staycation IPA and catch some dwell music at Thirsty Road Brewing Firm @ the Storage (a cease alongside Billings’s Walkable Brewery Path). For a style of what’s in season, pop into Fieldhouse, a scratch kitchen with a menu that includes domestically sourced elements and a concentrate on freshness. Mattress down on the lately restored Northern Resort, which has been providing Billings guests a wholesome dose of “unpretentious luxurious” since 1904.

Pompeys Pillar and Little Bighorn Battlefield

Simply half-hour east of Billings is one among Montana’s most traditionally vital factors: Pompeys Pillar Nationwide Monument. This 120-foot-tall sandstone tower, now a protected nationwide monument, bears the markings of the Indigenous peoples who utilized it as an statement level and ritual website for the previous 11,000 years and to whom it stays an necessary religious website at present. On July 25, 1806, William Clark and his crew stopped right here throughout their Yellowstone River exploration. Clark inscribed the pillar together with his identify—the carving, nonetheless seen at present, is believed to be the final remaining bodily proof from the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The pure monolith, which Clark is alleged to have named for Sacagawea’s son, whose nickname was “Pomp,” is understood to the Apsáalooke (Crow) folks as Iishiia Anaache, or Place The place the Mountain Lion Dwells.

A brief drive south of Pompeys Pillar is Little Bighorn Battlefield Nationwide Monument, one other website that tells the sophisticated historical past of America’s western growth and displacement of Indigenous peoples. The monument commemorates the notorious battle wherein warriors from a number of northern plains tribes defeated the U.S. Military’s seventh Regiment of the Cavalry—recognized at present because the Battle of Little Bighorn. Throughout your go to, attempt to catch one among two ranger-led historic displays (these talks are unscheduled however sometimes happen midmorning and midafternoon) earlier than visiting the park’s two primary memorials: the Indian Memorial and the seventh Cavalry Memorial. For probably the most immersive expertise, ebook a guided tour upfront by Apsáalooke Excursions (accessible Memorial Day by Labor Day).

Medication Rocks State Park

A go to to Medication Rocks State Park is sort of a journey to a different planet. Out-of-this-world formations—sandstone deposits left by a retreating inland sea that coated the northern Nice Plains some 60 million years in the past—jut up from a ponderosa-dotted ridgeline in what at present is an unlimited ocean of grassland prairie. The park’s seclusion makes it among the best locations within the nation to view darkish skies (see the Darkish Skies and Wildlife street journey, on web page 12, for more information). But it surely’s additionally an unbelievable venue for serene nature hikes, birding, wildlife pictures, household tenting, and extra. Nonetheless you select to discover the park, plan your outing round dawn and sundown, when low-angle mild brings out the pockmarked texture of Medication Rocks and casts lengthy shadows throughout the panorama.

Medicine Rocks State Park
Medication Rocks State Park (Photograph: Go to Montana)

Eat & Keep: In your manner from Billings to Ekalaka, cease for a slice or a sandwich at Seabeck Pizza and Subs in Broadus. In Ekalaka, simply 20 minutes south of Medication Rocks State Park, seize a burger at Dawg Home Pub, a part of the Southeast Montana Burger Path, and keep on the Halfway Motel or Visitor Home Motel.

Miles Metropolis

Miles Metropolis is the perfect picture of a Western city. It’s a neighborhood rooted within the livestock business, the place weekly cattle auctions proceed at present. (Nonbidding guests are welcome to drop in.) It’s a spot the place you’ll be able to have a pair of cowboy boots or a saddle customized made to your specs. On Primary Road, expertise that legacy of leatherworking for your self—head upstairs at Miles Metropolis Saddlery to view the shop’s centuries-old assortment of saddles, or pop into Moran’s Customized Leather-based to see the place customized saddles and boots are nonetheless made at present.

Eat & Drink: Pay a go to to the Montana Bar, the historic saloon hooked up to Tubb’s Restaurant on Primary Road and a cease alongside the Southeast Montana Burger Path, and order a stuffed burger: the toppings and cheese are constructed proper into the Grade A beef patty. Afterward, seize an award-winning beer at pinball-themed Tilt Würks Brew Home or a glass of wine at Tongue River Vineyard.


Comply with Interstate 94 and the Yellowstone River 40 miles northeast to Terry, the place iconic badlands dominate the city’s northern horizon. Hop in your gravel or mountain bike and journey six miles of empty two-track to the Terry Badlands Overlook, the place you’ll be able to watch the sundown from atop the sand fortress–like cliffs. Or, when you have a high-clearance four-by-four, enterprise into the badlands on the Calypso Path (impassable in periods of moist climate). Again on the town, thumb your manner by the in depth and eclectic ebook assortment within the bookstore on the historic Kempton Resort, Montana’s oldest constantly working resort.

Makoshika State Park and Glendive

Makoshika (pronounced Ma-ko’-shi-ka), Montana’s largest state park, typically flies underneath the radar. However one go to is all it takes to see why the park is thought to be a crown jewel of Jap Montana. Right here, a panorama of otherworldly badlands and rugged coulees might be explored by foot, wheel, or hoof on an intensive path system. Hike or run the rolling Hungry Joe Path to a scenic overlook above Makoshika and Glendive (2.5 miles a technique) earlier than exploring the gorgeous Cap Rock Path (0.5 mile round-trip), which ends up in a pure bridge and previous most of the park’s iconic toadstool-shaped hoodoos. Youngsters, households, and dinophiles alike would possibly discover it troublesome to enterprise previous the park’s customer middle, which is loaded with academic interpretive displays and prehistoric fossils, together with an entire triceratops cranium. And that’s simply the beginning—the park additionally affords tenting, disc golf, and an archery vary on website.

In search of much more native historical past? Again in Glendive, head to the Frontier Gateway Museum and stroll alongside a reproduction of 1800s Merrill Road, Glendive’s “Primary Road.” On modern-day Merrill, pop into Hell Creek Music and Extra, a unusual store that’s half instrument emporium, half music museum (a number of guitars autographed by Kiss band members are on show), and half dinosaur exhibit—an entire, 38-foot-long T. rex skeleton looms above the registers.

Go to Montana markets Montana’s spectacular unspoiled nature, vibrant and charming small cities, breathtaking experiences, stress-free hospitality and aggressive enterprise local weather to advertise the state as a spot to go to and do enterprise.

A Entire New Aspect of Journey in Jap Montana

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