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Pictograph Cave State Park, Billings

(3.5/5 based on 260+ reviews on the web)
Pictograph Cave is a 23acre area of three caves (Pictograph, Middle, and Ghost caves) located 5mi south of Billings, Montana, United States.Excavation of the three caves began in 1937, and they were the site of some of Montana's first professional archeological studies. Over 30,000 artifacts have been identified, with at least 20,000 animal remains recovered from the site. Species range from large mammalian species, including bison (Bos bison) and elk (Cervus elaphus), to various species of herpetiles (reptiles and amphibians) and avies (birds). The presence of these remains result from human predation, processing and consumption as well as non-human (carnivores and raptors) predation and individual species who lived and died in and around the site.Paintings known as pictographs are still visible in Pictograph Cave, which is the largest of the three caves. The pictographs are thought to be between 200 and 2,100 years old. However their interpretations are still debated over. The oldest pictograph is that of a turtle, radio-carbon dated to be approximately 2,100 years old. These pictographs are paintings of animals, warriors, and even rifles that document the story of the Native Americans of the area for thousands of years.The site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Close to Billings. Rimrock cave, facing south. Indians made painting eons a got. Watch for rattle snakes in the summer! Very insteresting place to visit with a sack lunch.  more »
  • Nice ranger at information center. $6 for out of staters. Interesting how they excavated the two caves down four layers from 1939-1941. Good local history.  more »
  • a must see. Within a few miles and offers beautiful view. Small fee required to walk to caves to see pictographs.  more »
Google
  • Great place to visit if you are in the Billings area, living or passing through. It features some great history before your eyes, but it has hills. Grab your hiking shoes/boots and the camera, might as grab some water too. The rangers are friendly to visit with for good insight
  • The park is a short drive from Billings and well worth the stop. There is a recently added interpretative center which helps you understand the timeline of the caves and the significance of pictographs. The caves are a short hike. At first the pictographs seem faded, but with some looking you can start to make out the faint paintings of cave residents from hundreds or thousands of years before. You get a good sense from the landscape why people have been drawn to this place for thousands of years. It's peaceful and awe inspiring.
  • Take the short drive outside of Billings!! This site is fading with time. The pictographs are almost gone. The history is well documented and the area is beautiful. There are a few caves and worth walking around to each one. Not really handicap accessible to all the caves, but the main cave IS accessible.
  • This place should be a world heritage site. Absolutely amazing, beautiful, well staffed, clean and friendly. I'll be bringing my entire family back. The bad reviews on here must be from someone who thinks 6$ a car load is too much to ask for the preservation and viewing of the oldest evidence of human existence on the northern plains. This place is what every state park should be: engaging, educational, relaxing, and astonishingly beautiful.
  • Interesting place. Nice, but somewhat steep, short hikes. Pictographs are difficult to see. Beautiful scenery. Free for parties in Montana registered vehicles; current fee for out of state vehicles is $6 per vehicle.