Beaverhead Rock State Park is a famous rock formation overlooking the Beaverhead River in Southwest Montana. Sacajawea, the young Shoshone guide with the Lewis & Clark Expedition, recognized the rock as a sign they were close to her relatives.
She stated that her nation calls the large formation Beaverhead, as it resembles the head of a swimming beaver. Beaverhead is also referred to as Point of Rocks because it was used as a landmark for early settlers passing through the area.
The information placards at the site state: “Many of the rangelands in this valley still look largely as they did even before the Lewis & Clark Expedition walked here. Yet people and animals have traveled through and used the lands around you since prehistoric times.”
Captain Meriweather Lewis, William Clark, and fur trapper Warren Angus Ferris noted in their journals the significance of the rock to the Shoshone people and other Rocky Mountain tribes.
Beaverhead is a sign that lets you know you are heading in the right direction, that you are close to your people.
Beaverhead Rock State Park Facts
- Size: 240 acres
- Site elevation: 4,949 feet
- Discovered: 1805 by the Lewis & Clark Expedition
- Location: Madison County, Montana
- Nearest City: Dillon, Montana
- Date added to National Register of Historic Places: February 11, 1970
- Season: All Year
- Parks fees: $8 for cars, $4 for walk-ins, free for Montana residents that pay the State Park fee during registration
Beaverhead Rock State Park is undeveloped land and does not offer much in the way of attractions and activities. The park is mainly used to gain information about the land and view nature.
Beaverhead Rock Viewpoint
The viewpoint offers visitors a place to look at the Beaverhead rock formation. Unfortunately, the rock is not accessible directly, and you can only view it from a distance.
The viewpoint is a lovely spot to stop and take pictures of nature and wildlife.
Historical Marker and Informational Placards
You can read about the history of Beaverhead State Park from the informational placards dispersed along the trail and at the viewpoint.
Learn about how the Natives used the land and what the Beaverhead rock meant to them. Also, discover how early settlers used the land and the formation as a landmark, leading them where they needed to go.
Recreation Activities at Beaverhead Rock State Park
Beaverhead Rock State Park is a delightful area for sightseeing, photographing, and leisurely walking.
The Beaverhead area does not provide much hiking opportunity, but it’s a nice casual walk in nature. There is a short dirt trail around the formations, perfect for a quick exercise after being in the car.
The hike is a quiet stroll near a flowing creek. When the skies are clear and the sun is beaming, bring plenty of water and sun protection.
Nature viewing and Photography
Beaverhead Rock is an excellent area for viewing nature and photography. There is plenty of wildlife to see and many photo opportunities.
Take in the entire scene from the viewpoint, or hike on the trail and get up close to some of the rock formations.
Beaverhead Rock State Park has one small trail for walking and sightseeing.
This state park offers only one trail leading from the viewpoint to the Point of Rocks. The path is a 0.3-mile out and back trail and is considered an easy hike.
You can use the trail for walking, and it only takes around five to ten minutes to complete. Also, dogs are not permitted. This area is generally quiet, and you shouldn’t expect to see many people.
Nearby Trail Routes
Find other trails nearby for hiking, biking, and other recreational activities.