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“See the Pictographs before they are gone”

Pictograph Cave State Park
Ranked #5 of 68 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. Come learn about the rock art and artifacts found here dating thousands of years old. This 23 acre park features walking trails, stunning scenery, a green-design visitor's center, picnic grounds, museum displays, everything you need for a fun and educational visit! The site is well-known for its' spirit writing. Soluble minerals leach through the sandstone veiling the rock art, but when the wall becomes wet on rare instances, that veil of minerals will lift (becomes transparent) revealing what is hidden beneath. On a dry day you may see 5-9 pictographs, but on the brief, wet occurrences, 10-15 more images may appear in better 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 foretell future events.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities
Reviewed June 28, 2010

Our family of 6 decided to take a quick trip out to see Pictograph Cave State Park, and while the kids were a bit unruly that day after we got them settled down they really seemed to enjoy the hike. The fee for the park was $5.00 paid at the visitors center, however I think many folks bypass the fee by just skipping the visitors center and doing the hike up to the caves. We like visitor centers and the lady inside was very informative and gave us great insight into the park as well as maps to other areas that we might be interested in checking out. We did not mind paying the $5.00 fee. The $5.00 fee also lets you into other State Parks for that day so if you are going to see some other State Parks on that day it is a good value.

There are two trails one is paved and a relatively easy hike up to one of the caves. I am not in the best of shape with a bum ankle and so decided to stick to the paved trail. The walk was not too strenuous however there was a bit of an incline. There are plenty of places to stop along the way up, some with benches to rest on and take in the scenery and read the informative plaques about the site and local flora and fauna (plants and wildlife). Along the way up I took in the heavenly scent of wild roses and sage brush. I love plants and enjoyed the hike very much. Once we got to the cave at the top of the trail I was a bit disappointed to see that due to natural erosion and time most of the prehistoric cave drawings were faded and hardly viewable anymore. You really had to look hard for them and the ones that were still viewable were much later drawings (after guns were introduced to the native Americans) however it was still interesting to see. I headed back down the trail while my husband and 4 children (13 to 5) took the unpaved trail to visit the other cave(s). They enjoyed the hike and the caves.

This was a pleasant excursion for some fresh air and a little hike. I think we were there for about 2 hours. The drive to the caves was nice as well.

See the caves before the pictographs are gone. While the State Park system has taken measures to prevent erosion and damage as much as possible they are fading and won't be around forever.

3  Thank WyoMom5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 5, 2010

The Pictograph Caves are just a 5 minute drive from my parents house, and are an excellent place to see rock paintings and learn a little bit about the local Native American people. A little trail leads from the parking lot around to another smaller cave, or you can go straight to the main cave. They have also built a new visitors center. Another place that is just before you get to the caves is Four Dances Recreation Area, it's on top of the cliffs, but if you go for a hike around below the sandstone cliffs (trails leading down) there are more rock paintings, including a large pictograph from which the park gets its name. This is also an excellent place to view Billings from (opposite the Rimrocks) and the Beartooth Mountains, on a clear day.

1  Thank jlinds86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 30, 2007

What a beautiful place! The drive to the site is quite scenic.
It was a hike-- bring water and take it easy.
Its not a race.
I especially liked the ghost like figures in one cave.

4  Thank MICH618
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 21, 2016
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Thank bnuitb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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