pictograph cave state park

Pictograph Cave State Park: Explore Montana

Pictograph Cave State Park is a fascinating destination that offers visitors a chance to explore the rich history of Montana. Designated as a National Historic Landmark, the park is known for its archaeological significance. The site features over 100 pictographs, or rock paintings, that date back over 2,000 years. Visitors can also discover three main caves – Pictograph, Middle, and Ghost Cave – which were once inhabited by prehistoric hunters. With its unique rock art and geological formations, this park provides a captivating glimpse into Native American history and the region’s ancient past.

Key Takeaways:

  • Pictograph Cave State Park is a National Historic Landmark in Montana.
  • The park showcases over 100 pictographs dating back thousands of years.
  • Visitors can explore three main caves and learn about prehistoric hunters.
  • The park offers a fascinating glimpse into Native American history.
  • With its unique rock art and geological formations, the park provides a captivating experience.

Essential Information

cave paintings

Pictograph Cave State Park, located in Montana, is a remarkable destination known for its cave paintings and archaeological significance. Spanning 23 acres at an elevation of 3,500 feet, the park is a treasure trove of history dating back over 2,000 years. With over 100 pictographs adorning the rocks, visitors have the unique opportunity to witness ancient rock art up close.

To explore the caves, visitors can follow a pleasant 3/4-mile loop trail that not only showcases the stunning rock paintings but also offers interpretive displays highlighting the natural features and vegetation of the area. For better viewing of the pictographs, it is recommended to bring binoculars. The park also provides picnic facilities for day use, inviting visitors to indulge in a serene meal surrounded by the beauty of the park.

When visiting Pictograph Cave State Park, one can also take advantage of the new Visitor Center. The center features interpretive displays that shed light on the park’s history and offers a gift shop where visitors can purchase souvenirs to commemorate their experience. With its educational resources and amenities, the Visitor Center enhances the overall visit to the park.

Table: Park Information

Park Size Elevation Trail Length Visitor Center
23 acres 3,500 feet 3/4-mile loop Yes

With its rich history, diverse natural features, and well-maintained facilities, Pictograph Cave State Park offers a captivating experience for anyone intrigued by cave paintings and archaeological significance. Don’t miss the chance to explore this fascinating destination and uncover the secrets hidden within the ancient rock art.

Park Highlights

Hiking Trail at Pictograph Cave State Park

In addition to its rich history and archaeological significance, Pictograph Cave State Park offers a range of activities and amenities that make it a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Here are some of the park’s highlights:

Hiking Trails

The park features a 3/4-mile interpretive trail that takes visitors on a journey through the unique geological formations and natural beauty of the area. As you hike along the trail, you’ll have the opportunity to view the ancient rock art up close and learn about its cultural significance through interpretive displays. The trail is suitable for all skill levels and provides a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the park’s rich history while enjoying the picturesque surroundings.

Wildlife Sightings

Pictograph Cave State Park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, making it a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. Keep an eye out for animals such as mountain lions, black bears, turkeys, coyotes, and more as you explore the park’s trails. Wildlife sightings are common, and the park provides a unique opportunity to observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Don’t forget to bring your camera and binoculars for the best chance to capture these incredible moments with nature.

Family-Friendly Activities

With its picnic areas and serene surroundings, Pictograph Cave State Park is the perfect destination for a family outing. Pack a delicious lunch and enjoy a picnic amidst the beauty of nature, surrounded by towering cliffs and ancient rock art. The park also offers educational programs and interpretive displays at the Visitor Center, where children can learn about the history and heritage of the area in an engaging and interactive way. It’s a place where the whole family can create lasting memories while discovering the wonders of Montana’s past.

Whether you’re an avid hiker, a wildlife enthusiast, or a family looking for a fun day out, Pictograph Cave State Park has something for everyone. Explore the hiking trails, spot wildlife, and immerse yourself in the rich cultural history of Montana’s ancient past. Plan your visit to this incredible park and prepare to be captivated by the beauty and awe-inspiring stories that lie within its caves and rock art.

Exploring the Area

nearby parks and trails

Pictograph Cave State Park is located just outside of Billings, Montana, offering visitors easy access to other nearby parks and trails. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the surrounding areas and discover additional natural wonders. The park is also part of the Southeastern Montana Birding Trail, making it a great spot for birdwatching. With its diverse flora and fauna, the park provides ample opportunities for nature enthusiasts to explore and appreciate the beauty of the area.

Exploring the area surrounding Pictograph Cave State Park is a must for those who want to fully immerse themselves in the natural wonders of Southeastern Montana. The park’s proximity to Billings allows visitors to easily access other nearby parks and trails, expanding their outdoor adventure possibilities. Whether you’re interested in hiking, wildlife spotting, or simply enjoying the breathtaking scenery, there is something for everyone in this area.

Table: Nearby Parks and Trails

Park/Trail Distance from Pictograph Cave State Park Features
Riverfront Park 10 miles Scenic walking trails along the Yellowstone River, fishing, and picnic areas.
Zimmerman Park 15 miles Trails with panoramic views of the Billings area, diverse wildlife, and wildflowers.
Rims Trail 5 miles A trail system along the Rimrocks offering stunning views of the city and surrounding landscapes.

These are just a few examples of the many parks and trails available near Pictograph Cave State Park. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll, a challenging hike, or a peaceful place to enjoy a picnic, this area has it all. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars and camera, as you never know what fascinating wildlife or breathtaking scenery you might encounter along the way.

Services and Facilities

Services and Facilities

Pictograph Cave State Park provides a range of services and facilities to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable visit for all visitors. Here are some of the amenities you can expect to find:

Visitor Center

At the heart of the park, you’ll find the Visitor Center, a hub of information and resources. Inside, you can explore interpretive displays that provide insights into the park’s history and archaeological significance. Additionally, the gift shop offers a selection of souvenirs and educational materials to enhance your understanding of the park and its cultural heritage.


The park offers several amenities to cater to your needs during your visit. ADA accessible restrooms are available for your convenience. Picnic shelters with grills and fire rings provide the perfect setting for a relaxing outdoor meal surrounded by the natural beauty of the park. Water facilities are also available to ensure you stay hydrated during your exploration of the park’s trails and caves.

Park Rules

To ensure the preservation of the park and the safety of all visitors, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the park rules. These rules outline guidelines such as proper trail usage, camping regulations, and pet policies. By following these rules, you can help preserve the park’s natural and cultural resources for future generations to enjoy. You can find the complete list of park rules on the State Parks Fees & Regulations page.

Services and Facilities Availability
Visitor Center Open during park hours
ADA Accessible Restrooms Available throughout the park
Picnic Shelters Available for day use
Grills/Fire Rings Located near picnic areas
Water Facilities Available throughout the park

By providing these services and facilities, Pictograph Cave State Park ensures that visitors have everything they need for a memorable and enjoyable visit. Whether you’re exploring the caves, learning about the park’s history, or simply enjoying a picnic amidst stunning natural surroundings, these amenities will enhance your experience. Remember to follow the park rules to contribute to the preservation and sustainable enjoyment of this unique destination.


Planning your visit to Pictograph Cave State Park is the first step toward experiencing the captivating history and natural beauty of Montana. This must-visit destination offers a unique educational experience for all ages, with its ancient rock art, intriguing caves, and scenic trails.

Before setting out, it’s essential to check the park’s seasonal hours and the availability of amenities to ensure a smooth visit. The official Montana State Parks website is a valuable resource providing park maps, fees, and additional information to help plan your trip.

As you delve into the fascinating story of Montana’s past, don’t forget to reach out to the park directly for any inquiries. Their staff will be more than happy to assist you and provide further guidance for an enjoyable visit to Pictograph Cave State Park.

So, pack your curiosity and sense of adventure and prepare to embark on a journey through time at Pictograph Cave State Park. Unveil the secrets of Montana’s ancient past and create lasting memories in this extraordinary destination.


Is Pictograph Cave State Park open year-round?

Yes, Pictograph Cave State Park is open year-round, with different operating hours for the summer and winter seasons.

How long is the interpretive trail in Pictograph Cave State Park?

The interpretive trail in Pictograph Cave State Park is 3/4-mile long.

What can visitors see at Pictograph Cave State Park?

Visitors to Pictograph Cave State Park can see over 100 pictographs, three main caves, unique geological formations, and various wildlife species.

Can visitors have a picnic at Pictograph Cave State Park?

Yes, the park offers picnic facilities for day use.

Are there any educational programs at Pictograph Cave State Park?

Yes, visitors can learn about the park’s history and heritage through interpretive and educational programs at the Visitor Center.

Can visitors purchase souvenirs at Pictograph Cave State Park?

Yes, the park has a gift shop where visitors can purchase souvenirs.

Are there any volunteer opportunities at Pictograph Cave State Park?

Yes, the park offers volunteer opportunities for those interested in contributing to its preservation and maintenance.

Where can visitors get more information about Pictograph Cave State Park?

Visitors can find more information about Pictograph Cave State Park on the official Montana State Parks website and contact the park directly for any inquiries.

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