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“Nice Hike”

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
Arapaho
Level 6 Contributor
516 reviews
127 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 133 helpful votes
“Nice Hike”
Reviewed 30 June 2014

Going to the park is a nice drive and a great place to take a short walk. The Pictographs are a little hard to see but considering their age we were surprised you could still see them, take a small pair of binoculars.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
Thank Larry R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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289 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Billings, Montana
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Historic but lacking”
Reviewed 25 June 2014

While the info center is new and nice the pictographs are very hard to see and the trails are usually closed. Back when I was a kid you could get much closer and actually see what they were.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank Mike N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Billings, Montana
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Kids Loved It!”
Reviewed 28 May 2014

We live in Billings, so grew up having this gem in our back yard so to speak. It has come quite a way in it's development as a State Park with picnic tables, bathrooms and education center and gift shop. When I took my grandkids a year ago my grand-daughter (5 years) remarked after looking at the ancient drawings, "them sure were bad drawers!". A little explanation was in order. They had a great afternoon as did I. Go if you can.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
Thank linda59102
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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 22 May 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
Helpful?
1 Thank Jackbear
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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 15 May 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
Helpful?
1 Thank RDTrpQueen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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