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“Beautiful setting but almost faded away pictograghs.”

Pictograph Cave State Park
Ranked #4 of 63 things to do in Billings
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Pictograph Cave State Park is a National Historic Landmark known for its importance to Northern Plains archaeology conducted in the late 1930s. Learn about the rock art and artifacts left behind for over 4,500 years. This 23 acre park features walking trails, a 'green' designed visitor's center, picnic grounds and museum displays; everything you need for a fun and educational get away! This unique site is a well-known place of spirit writing. Soluble minerals that have leached through the sandstone have veiled the rock art, but when heavy rains or snow-melt percolates down through the wall to saturate it, that veil of minerals will lift (becomes transparent) thus revealing what is beneath. On a dry day you may see 5-9 pictographs, but on the brief, wet occurrences, 10-15 images may appear in much more detail. The Crow people believe that many of these images are drawn by the spirits, and whichever ones you see are meant to give you a personal message or even suggest future events.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities
Los Angeles, CA
Level 6 Contributor
207 reviews
124 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 154 helpful votes
“Beautiful setting but almost faded away pictograghs.”
Reviewed May 21, 2014

Although PICTOGRAPH CAVE STATE PARK does not fall into the MUST SEE category, it definitely is worth a visit if you have the time. It’s a pleasant, peaceful drive from Billings. As other reviewers have stated, the pictographs can be an immense disappointment if you are not prepared. It definitely is not worth the time or effort to visit the park ONLY to see the pictographs. The pictographs are so faded that basically only some red is visible on one drawing. A small sign in front of the caves displays how the pictographs looked and there aren’t many.

The joy of visiting PICTOGRAPH CAVE STATE PARK is the scenery. The main cave is a short walk from the parking lot. The cave is small and is just the underside of a rock overhanging. Small and modest but rich in Native American history. A short walk away is a smaller cave with no drawings. I had time to spare after visiting THE LITTLE BIGHORN BATTELFIELD so I stopped at the PICTOGRAPH CAVE STATE PARK a little before closing time. The view was beautiful and I watched a hawk flying along the bluffs and encountered rabbits so it was a chance to be with nature. Again, it is worth a visit if you have the time, but if your time is limited, other sites in the area deserve more attention. Just go knowing the pictographs are so faded that almost nothing is visible.

Visited April 2014
1 Thank Jackbear
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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291 reviews from our community

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English first
Shepherd, Montana
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Not too far off the highway, excellent stop”
Reviewed May 15, 2014

I've been here twice and really like it. They have a great little visitors center (very new) that includes a little gift shop for your souvenir shoppers, very pleasant and knowledgeable interpretive staff, and the upkeep on the grounds is excellent.

Some of the trails are paved (if you have walking issues be forewarned- you gotta go UP to get to the caves), and there are lots of picnic benches and standing grills in the shade for a lunch stop. If you're from out of state, five bucks'll get you in and give you a chance to learn some history, admire some cave art, and stretch your legs. Beautiful place.

Visited May 2014
1 Thank RDTrpQueen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Great Falls, Montana
Level 6 Contributor
122 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“Rimrock location”
Reviewed May 7, 2014

This is a classic Montana Park, within the bounds of Billings. It is a series of caves along the rimrocks. It involves significant inclined trails not accessible for wheelchairs. Otherwise, this is a sleeper that is worth visiting.

Visited May 2014
1 Thank algologist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Missoula, Montana
Level 5 Contributor
81 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“A short drive from Billings to historic beauty”
Reviewed April 23, 2014

This location is just out of town but feels like a world away from modern civilization. The canyon walls are beautiful and it is just a short walk from the parking area up to the caves. The place has a ancient feeling, but the actual pictographs are fading into time. Still it is well worth the drive if you would like a nature walk shrouded in native american history.

Visited April 2014
1 Thank Rockingpk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
1,490 reviews
904 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 650 helpful votes
“Fading into a Distant Memory !”
Reviewed March 29, 2014

I was sad more then disappointed ! The place is still worth a visit but sadly the 'Pictographs' have seen much better days and with the combination of weathering , earlier vandalism and father time their days are numbered. As a State Park our US NP Pass didn't work but the fee was minor and it was a pleasant , cold but clear day. The visitor centre and the Ranger staff were worth the stop and gave a good deal of information on the history of the Caves and the area.

Visited January 2014
Thank Skeney57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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