Many of you know that there are Badlands in South Dakota. Some of you know that there are also Badlands in North Dakota. But, how many of you knew that there are Badlands in Montana? Well, there are and they are their own unique style of beautiful.
You can see the Montana Badlands at Makoshika State Park. It is just outside of Glendive, Montana not too far from Interstate 94. It is in South Eastern Montana about 40 miles from the North Dakota border. The address is 1301 Snyder Avenue, Glendive, MT with a Latitude and Longitude of 47.08972 / -104.70633.
It is open 24 hours a day, year around. But the visitor center is open as follows. The winter hours run from the 3rd Monday of September to the 3rd Thursday of May. They are open from 10am to 5pm Wednesday through Sunday. The visitor center is closed December 25th through January 1st. Summer hours run from the 3rd Friday of May to the 3rd Sunday of September. They are open daily from 10am to 5pm. The entrance fee to the park is $6 per car load or $4 per walk-in, bicycle or bus passenger.
Makoshika is the largest state park in Montana covering more than 11,000 acres. It derived its name from the Lakota phrase maco sica which means band land or land of bad spirits.
I highly suggest that you stop off in the visitor’s center first. This is where you will learn about the history of the park and of the Earth. You will learn about the KT Boundary. This is a thick line of coal type substance that can be seen at this park and is found around the world. It is theorized that a meteor hit the Earth and did so with such impact that it sent a cloud of debris into the air that blocked out the sun and killed off the dinosaurs (of which they have Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops and other dinosaur fossils in the visitor’s center). Then, when that debris settled, it formed the KT Boundary. No dinosaur fossils are found above the KT Boundary. You will also see fossils of dinosaurs and artifacts of ancient man.
Before you leave the visitor’s center, pick up a map in the lobby. You can also find a park map here and a trail map here. From the visitor’s center, you will venture into the interior. There are paved, gravel and dirt roads. If you do not own a 4×4 or off-road type vehicle, you may want to reconsider the gravel or dirt roads, especially if it is raining.
This park will take you high into the hills where you will have beautiful vistas that allow you to look as far as the eye can see. These vistas and overlooks are located throughout the park.
There are some places where you can take trails, on foot, and go exploring. We did and saw some formations called Cap Rock, The Elves, Baked Potato and The Land Bridge. We also observed the KT Boundary in the rocks as well. Along the way we saw what looked like a mountain lion paw print in some moist dirt in a low lying gulch. So, please be aware of your surroundings.
The park offers camping as well as an amphitheater where they have plays and performances.
This park is beautiful to drive through. But, if you dress properly and are a little adventurous, you will get so much more out of it if you go exploring on the hiking trails. This place is beautiful with few people and lots to explore at a very reasonable price. If you have not checked out the Montana Badlands, perhaps now is the time you should head over to Makoshika and do so. Safe Travels.