Pictograph Cave State Park, Billings Montana

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Pictograph Cave State Park


Step back in time and view remarkable cave drawings traced by generations of prehistoric hunters, dating back as far as 4500 years, when you visit Pictograph Cave State Park.

  • Get a glimpse into prehistoric life, featuring drawing of hunters, weapons, and animals.
  • Pictograph Cave State Park is just 68 miles from Red Lodge.
  • Parking fees: $5 per vehicle
  • General information: (406) 245-0227 OR (406) 247-2940.
  • Reservations/tours: (406) 247-2955.

Overview

Just south of Billings, situated along a ridge of sandstone cliffs, are three caves dating over 4500 years in age: Pictograph Cave, Middle Cave, and Ghost Cave. This complex of caves comprises Pictograph Cave State Park and features rock paintings drawn by prehistoric hunters.

One of the most important archeological sites in Montana, the caves were discovered in 1938, with initial excavations taking place from 1938-1941. Over the years, more than 30,000 artifacts have been found, including harpoon points carved from caribou horn, as well as 9 grave sites, helping archeologists and historians to gain a clearer picture of prehistoric life in the area.  

Pictograph images include drawings of hunters, animals, and weapons. Guided tours are available and help to shed light on the significance of these remarkable drawings.

A 1000 ft hiking trail leads from the parking lot to the caves and additional site features include a picnic area, drinking water and vault toilets.

Location/Directions

Situated 6 miles southeast of Billings, Pictograph Cave State Park is approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes (68 miles) from Red Lodge.

  • Directions from Red Lodge: Follow US-212 N out of Red Lodge for 43.5 miles and merge onto US I-90 E towards Billings. Continue 15.7 miles before taking the MT-3/27th Street exit (450). Turn left onto MT-3 N/S 27th Street and follow 1.2 miles before turning right onto 1st Ave S/MT-3 Truck. Follow 1.2 miles before turning right, following 1st Ave N/I-90 BL until it turns into US-87. Turn right onto Coburn Road and follow roughly 5 miles.

Contact Information

  • Mailing Address: Pictograph Cave State Park, 2300 Lake Elmo Drive, Billings, MT 59105
  • General Ph: (406) 245-0227 OR (406) 247-2940
  • Group Reservation/Tour Ph: (406) 247-2955

Season/Hours

Open daily, with the following seasonal hours:

  • Memorial Day to Labor Day: 8am - 8pm
  • September and April: 9am - 7pm
  • October to March, Wednesday through Sunday: 10am - 5pm 

Fees

Cave viewing is free, however the following parking fees apply:

  • $5 per vehicle (non-resident)

*Reservations required for guided tours and groups numbering over 30.

More Information

  • Visitors are encouraged to bring binoculars in order to see the pictographs more clearly.
  • Leashed pets allowed.
  • Hiking trail to pictographs NOT wheelchair accessible.  

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