Montana's National Monuments

Montana's National Monuments
For decades, the big skies of Montana have lured, tourists, backpackers, kayakers, ranchers, cowboys and adventurers to its rich topography. Various ski slopes, fast rivers and picturesque hiking trails pepper this outdoor enthusiasts' paradise. In the heart of it all, three national monuments are proud symbols of the state's geological and national history.

Pompeys Pillar National Monument

On July 25, 1806, Captain William Clark, on his way home during his famous expedition to the Pacific Ocean with Merriweather Lewis, carved his name on this exquisite natural landmark and named it "Pompeys Pillar." It would take almost 200 years before this towering sandstone butte would become protected as an official national monument.

At the monument, there is a small boardwalk that leads to Clark's carving. Along the way, visitors pass by replicas of canoes and other accoutrement that would have been used during the Lewis and Clark expedition.

During the last weekend of July annually, Pompeys Pillar Historical Association hosts a two-day event re-enacting Clark's visit to the grounds.The "Clark's Days" event includes a barbecue dinner, historical demonstrations and live entertainment.

The Pillar is located approximately 25 miles east of Billings, Montana and is open from the first week of May through the first week of October. There is a per-vehicle fee to enter the monument grounds.

Pompeys Pillar Historical Association
P.O. Box 227
Worden, MT 59088

Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument

Along Lewis and Clark's trail is the Upper Missouri River Breaks, which was designated as a National Monument in 2001. The monument covers more than 377,000 acres and more than 60,000 visitors per year.

The area is a rich haven for hunting, fishing, canoeing and geological investigation at the White Cliffs and Badlands area of the monument. There are numerous trails and pathways for hikers and backpackers as well as trails specific for mountain bikes. The monument is roughly a four-hour drive east of Great Falls, Montana.

Friends of the Missouri Breaks Monument
224 W. Main, Suite 202
Lewistown, MT 59457

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

The site of the famous Custer's Last Stand, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument is the national memorial for one of the last great Native American victories during the American Indian Wars that peaked in the late 19th century.

Activities at the battlefield include vehicle tours, abundant opportunities for viewing wildlife and historical demonstrations and talks. Every June 25, the battlefield holds commemorates the anniversary of the battle. The battlefield is approximately an hour's drive east of Billings, Montana and is open every day of the year, except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
Exit 510 Off I-90 Hwy 212
Crow Agency, MT 59022

Article Written By John Biles

John Biles has worked as a freelance reporter for the "North Hills News Record" and a freelance theater critic for the "Cranberry Journal." Biles was a volunteer columnist at and, a professional and independent source of news and information covering the Pittsburgh Steelers. He graduated from Point Park University with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and mass communications.

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