Pictograph Cave State Park, Billings

3.6
#2 of 9 in Parks in Billings
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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Pictograph Cave State Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 3.5
311 reviews
Google
4.2
TripAdvisor
  • If you are a big fan of local history, this is cool as you can get right up to the art. It's nothing special though, and fairly boring in my mind. Easy to access.  more »
  • We went late on a Saturday and there were very few people. Climb the trail. See the paintings in one cave and take in the information panels. Walk the trail over to the next cave and more handiwork of...  more »
  • You should definitely see! It may not be a huge hike, however it has a lot of history and it's very interesting.  more »
Google
  • Great short hike to see the old pictographs at the top. Very short hike less than a milestone, easy access to parking which does require payment to park unless you've got the Montana Parks Pass (thankfully we did). There's a lower area with a grass park with picnic tables, a tipi, and other cool and interesting exhibits. The trail has some closed areas that are a better hike, one branches off half way up and goes pretty far in but does not lead to the pictographs.
  • The markings are on caves are dissipating with time. It is a great history marker, the story is still there. It is a distance from billins although the drive is very pretty. The center provides great information and is clean
  • Cool history. Can't really see the pictographs very well anymore, but they're there.
  • Very nice little park. The walk is a bit steep but easy and short, less than a mile. The walk to ghost cave has a few steps, which could be navigated with a stroller if adventurous. We just parked it and walked. I don't think a wheelchair could do it, at least not easily. Half the walk is paved, half is gravel. The visitor center is small, cute, and sells a few things, but no binoculars. I'd suggest bringing your own. There are a few picnic tables, so you can bring food and eat. This is not a large park, but it's worth the trip, especially if you are in the area. Non residents pay $6 per car.
  • Had fun. The guy was knowledgeable and helpful.
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