The badlands of Montana – Makoshika State Park

Makoshika State Park

Makoshika State Park | POSNOV/MOMENT/GETTY

The Makoshika State Park in Glendive, Montana, is one of the nation’s most beautiful state parks, which is full of natural trails and all sorts of outdoor activities. The name Makoshika is derived from a native Lakota phrase that translates as badlands or bad spirits. Despite that, there are tonnes of wonderment to be discovered across these lands.

Makoshika State Park is a prime site, where various dinosaur fossils were discovered. Their visitor center, which is located at the entrance of the park, even has a fully intact triceratops skull and other badlands artefacts. The center is fully-equipped for you to start your journey. It has everything a visitor may need: clean drinking water, picnic tables and grills, so it is the ideal spot to begin exploring the park. There’s ample space for outdoor picnics and gatherings for the whole family to enjoy, while basking in the natural rustic surroundings of the park.


Photo by Cecil Whitt
Wilderness Spirit Photography

Besides that, there’s also a variety of outdoor activities that can entertain anyone, who comes to the park. Activities such as disc golf and archery can be done at the visitor center, while the rest of the park can be enjoyed through bike riding. There are also various hiking trails to be explored across the expanse of the park, which differs in terms of difficulty.

Makoshika State Park

The park is also an ideal site for camping, as the campgrounds can accommodate up to 15 campsites. The park’s natural and lush scenery is Montana’s largest state park and is a great location for some wildlife spotting and nature photography. The visitor center is also home to an outdoor amphitheatre, which is spacious and great for open-air activities. Clean water is available at the center all year round.

Camping at Makoshika State Park

Camping at Makoshika State Park
Photo via Reddit

There’s also a museum nearby that hosts various educational and interactive displays for visitors.They learn more about the area, its history and a little bit more about the fossils found across the park, which is also part of the Montana dinosaur trail. Campers, who wish to stay can camp at the area for a duration of up to 14 days, but they need to be reserved ahead of time. It’s best to check on the conditions for camping with the park, as this can change with the weather, season and current situation.

Another thing that visitors must consider when exploring Montana’s dinosaur trail, is that digging around the site for fossils is strictly prohibited. In order to properly preserve the site, it’s best to leave the digging to the professionals. While it’s okay to explore on hikes and take a few photos, the Makoshika State Park doesn’t allow metal detectors, collecting or removing precious artefacts from the premises.

The state park is definitely a great place to discover the heritage of the surroundings and the history behind the fossils uncovered here. There’s much to learn at the visitors center and on the hiking trails. The park will definitely please hardcore fossil enthusiasts, as well as casual outdoorsmen, who admire the great natural surroundings.

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