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park sign at Makoshika State Park

If you love to explore the great outdoors, Makoshika State Park is a must-visit destination for anyone heading to Glendive in eastern Montana.

Covering more than 11,000 acres, Makoshika is the largest state park in Montana. It is known for its rugged badlands terrain, which provides a unique and dramatic landscape that is unlike anything else in the area.

While there, visitors can explore the park’s many hiking trails, which range from easy nature walks to challenging hikes that offer stunning views of the park’s spectacular terrain.

They can also visit a number of important paleontological sites that incorporate several dinosaur fossils that have been discovered in the park over the years.

The park also provides opportunities for fishing, picnicking and birdwatching. With a variety of bird species, including several species of raptors, found in the park’s unique badlands habitat.

For those who want to fully immerse themselves in the beauty of the surroundings, it’s best to stay for a few nights at Makoshika. Thankfully there is a very good campground onsite that provides both modern and primitive campsite options should you want to do so.

Activities

For those who visit Makoshika State Park, the park provides plenty of opportunities to engage in a wide range of outdoor recreational pursuits.

Showcased below is a brief rundown of some of the main activities you can take part in during your time there.

view of Makoshika State Park from Cap Rock Trail

Archaeology at Makoshika State Park

Makoshika State Park is a rich and fascinating site for archaeology, as the park’s badlands formations have preserved a wealth of historical and cultural artefacts from ancient Native American cultures.

Visitors to the park can check out several important archaeological sites, including rock art and petroglyphs that were created by the region’s indigenous peoples.

The park also has several displays and exhibits that showcase the it’s archaeological and cultural heritage, including the history of the area’s Native American cultures, as well as the geology and natural history of the badlands formations.

Fishing at Makoshika State Park

Fishing is a popular year-round activity at Makoshika State Park, with several creeks and streams running through it.

Some of the fish species that can be found in the park’s waterways include rainbow trout, brown trout, brook trout, and cutthroat trout.

Please note, if you are aged 12 or over, you will need a valid Montana fishing license in order to cast a line.

Hiking at Makoshika State Park

One of the main draws of the park is its hiking trails. These give visitors a chance to explore the unique and rugged terrain of Montana’s badlands.

Throughout the park there are several trails that range in length and difficulty, making it an ideal destination for hikers of all skill levels.

unique rock formations at Makoshika State Park during sunset

Some of the park’s most popular trails include the Rim Rock Nature Trail, which provides panoramic views of its badlands formations, and the Dinosaurs & Tracks Trail, which showcases the park’s rich history of dinosaur fossils.

Visitors are also welcome to explore the park’s backcountry, where they can hike through scenic canyons, cross creeks, and take in the diverse wildlife and vegetation of the park.

While hiking, it is important for hikers to come prepared for their hike with proper gear, such as sturdy shoes, a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water.

Picnicking at Makoshika State Park

Picnicking is a popular activity at Makoshika State Park, offering visitors a chance to relax and enjoy a meal in a scenic setting. The park has several picnic areas with picnic tables, grills, and shelter houses that can be reserved for group events.

Visitors can also enjoy a picnic along one of the park’s scenic trails, or in a more secluded area of the park. The park’s unique badlands formations and diverse wildlife provide a stunning backdrop for an al fresco dining experience.

Birding at Makoshika State Park

If you are into birding you will love the opportunities presented to do this by the park.

The park’s diverse landscapes, including badlands formations, woodlands and prairies, provide a natural habitat for several rare and unique breeds of migratory and resident birds.

Some of the bird species that can be found in the park include Greater Prairie-Chickens, Pinyon Jays, and Western Tanagers. To give you the best chance of seeing them it is worth bringing your binoculars with you.

road through the canyons at Makoshika State Park

Pets

Pets are welcome at Makoshika State Park, but they must remain on a leash throughout their time there. Additionally, it is the responsibility of pet owners to clean up after their dogs and dispose of their waste appropriately.

While pets are allowed in many areas of the park, including campgrounds and picnic areas, there may be some restrictions in certain areas, such as designated wilderness areas.

This is done for the protection of wildlife and park resources. So it is always a good idea to check with park staff for specific regulations and guidelines regarding pets before visiting.

Camping

Whether you are an experienced practitioner or a first-timer, camping at Makoshika State Park is an excellent way to explore and experience the park’s rugged badlands terrain and diverse wildlife.

The park has modern campsites with electricity and water, as well as primitive campsites for those looking for a more rustic camping experience.

Campers are welcome to stay in the park year-round, and will find campgrounds equipped with amenities such as fire rings, picnic tables, and toilets. Some campgrounds also offer showers and dump stations for RV campers.

In addition to camping, visitors can also rent yurts, cabins, and a tepee, which offer comfortable and unique alternatives to their more traditional offerings.

Park Location

Makoshika State Park
1301 Snyder Street
Glendive, MT 59330
Phone: 406.377.6256

Park Website
Reservations

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Makoshika State Park: