youtubeEditor's Note: To see any of the other articles in this series, click on the appropriate link listed. Montana's Mission Canyon, Nye, Montana, and Fort Peck, Montana

This is part three in our continuing series on lesser known places in Montana that are worth exploring, offering multiple camping options and are not likely to be as crowded as more popular attractions like national parks this summer. So far we've highlighted Montana's Mission Canyon and Nye, Montana.

Makoshika State Park is the next one of those places.

Formations in the Park

Most RVers have probably never heard of this secret gem. However, the word is spreading as Trip Advisor rates Makoshika State Park as the #1 of 12 things to do in Glendive, Montana. Where is Glendive? It is about as far east as you can travel on I-94 without leaving the Pacific Northwest.

The name Makoshika (Ma-ko'-shi-ka) is a variant spelling of a Lakota phrase meaning 'bad land' or 'bad earth'.


Makoshika State Park is the largest State Park in Montana encompassing 11,531 acres. As the Lakota name reveals, the parks features badlands containing formations on par with Theodore Roosevelt National Park farther up the road in North Dakota. Types of scenic rock formations you will find among the pine and juniper studded badlands of Makoshika State Park include; caprocks, spires, hoodoos, hogback ridges, fluted hillsides, pinnacles, mesas, and even a natural bridge. The park also contains a wealth of fossils from ten different kinds of dinosaurs including Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops.

Assorted Formations are Stunning


Current living ground dwelling creatures you will find in the park include; sage lizards, bull snakes, rattlesnakes, coyotes, bobcats, and mule deer among others. Bird watchers will find a large selection of species in the park for their viewing enjoyment including; turkey vulture, golden eagle, American kestrel, prairie falcon, upland sandpiper, long-billed curlew, great horned owl, horned lark, pinion jay, western tanager, and Sprague's pulpit.

An extensive trail system provides something for everyone including mountain hikers, mountain bikers and equestrian users. After enjoying the trails head over to the parks archery range or play a round of Frisbee on the parks disc golf course!

Less adventurous visitors can enjoy the scenic drive through the park and take a break afterwards in the visitor’s center where they can view a skull of a Triceratops and other interesting fossils on display there.

As you can see, there is a lot to see and do in the park along with other special events scheduled throughout the year. Click here for a list of events for 2021.

If you go:

Where: The park is located at: 1301 Snyder Avenue, Glendive, MT 59330 Those navigating via coordinates will find the visitors center at N47° 05.363 W104° 42.405 

Hours of Operation: Open daily 7 am to 10 pm

Current day use fee is $8 per vehicle.

For more information visit the parks website or contact them directly.


Makoshika State Park features a 28 site campground with pull through and back in sites up to 70ft in length. No hookups are available. Water is available at the visitor’s center. Click here to check site availability or to reserve a site.

Beautiful Colors

Blue Sky RV Park is located just a couple of miles from the park entrance and offers hook up spaces. Click here to visit their website.

Jaycee West Park in Glendive allows free overnight stays in RVs, no tent camping is allowed. The park features tennis courts, horseshoe pits and a skate park set among mature shade trees and lush grass. Click here to learn more. You may even get to experience the courtship calls of male Cicadas during your stay. The loud buzzing sound they create is unique. Don’t worry, they quiet down at night allowing campers to get a good night’s sleep.

Boondocking is available south of the park on BLM land. The most popular place to boondock is at the Short Pine ORV Area. Click here for more information.

Questions? Comments? Please add your thoughts below.

Dave Helgeson
Author: Dave HelgesonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Dave Helgeson is the MHRV Show Director. He and his wife love to travel across the west in their RV. Dave writes about all things RVing but loves to share destinations and boondocking advice.

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