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Tower Rock State Park, Montana

Tower Rock State Park is one of Treasure State’s smallest and newest state parks. The park lies on 140-acre land that stretches towards the Missouri River.

It sits at the mouth of the Missouri River Canyon, about 30 miles south of the city of the Great Falls. Tower Rock, a 424-foot high rock formation, is the park’s centerpiece.

Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition discovered Tower Rock in 1805. It was a great landmark for native tribes, fur trappers, the Corps of Discovery, and traders.

The Natives used the rock to enter and exit the rich buffalo hunting grounds, while the Piegan Blackfeet considered this rock sacred and used this place for praying.

Unfortunately, Tower Rock was relegated to oblivion for more than 100 years. It wasn’t until 2003 that Montana’s legislature sought to recognize it as a gift to Montanas. In 2005, the Montana Department of Fish made Tower Rock a state park.

The park operates during the day only, meaning overnight camping is not permitted. You don’t have to worry about where to park your car since there is a spacious parking lot in the park.

Come along with your dog since pets are allowed.

 

Tower Rock State Park Stats

  • Size – 140 acres
  • Season – Open all year round
  • No campsites – Day use only

Main Attractions

Below are standout attractions at Tower Rock State Park.

Tower Rock

This is one of the main attractions in this state park. Tower Rock is a 424-foot high volcanic rock formation that attracts thousands of visitors. This volcanic formation was formed towards the end of the last glacial period.

Many people climb this rock for fun while others for exercise. While at the summit of Tower Rock, you will enjoy scenic MT views, including the Missouri River and Great Falls.

Interpretive Panels

Tower Rock State Park has five interpretive panels where visitors can learn more about its geology and history.

These panels are situated at the trailhead towards the saddle’s base. This designated trail gets into the park for about a quarter a mile.

If you love geocaching, the park is listed as the cache location, but you don’t need to go beyond the designated path.

Recreational Activities

recreational activities

Tower Rock State Park is one of MT’s outdoor treasures and offers excellent exploring opportunities. This makes the park an ideal visiting place for enthusiasts and adventurers. Some of the things you can enjoy in the park include:

Hiking

Hiking is the main recreational activity you can do in the park. The park’s main hiking trail, Tower Rock Trail, suits both amateur and professional hikers.

That said, feel free to pick unofficial routes. Hiking routes are unrestricted, meaning you can decide to take your course.

If you love to hike on flat grassland, there is an uphill that you can climb. You can also hike a steep section that needs a lot of energy and decent shoes. The trail is very scenic, and you will have spontaneous views of the mountainous surroundings.

Start with half a mile section and head to the saddle at the midway point, where you can rest for a while. Scramble up the rocky spine and head to the rock base. Move down and up until you get to the top of the cliff.

Spring is the best time for hiking at this state park.

Biking and Picnicking

The trails in the park offer a good space for you to ride your bike or have a walk. You can come with your family and choose routes that aren’t too steep for the kids.

Wildlife Viewing

During Tower Rock’s discovery, Lewis spotted large herds of buffalo grazing on the park’s plains. Today, the number of buffaloes has diminished. Still, you can spot one or two as they graze.

Tower Rock is home to large populations of deer and Bighorn sheep. You also have a chance to view underfoot for rattlesnakes.

Photography

There are beautiful places where you can take photos for future reference. The plains are full of grasses, fir trees, and other plant species, which provide elegant sceneries for a couple of photo sessions.

Rock Climbing

You can climb Tower Rock to its summit though it is challenging. You must be a skilled, determined climber to conquer Tower Rock.

Trail Routes

trail routes

Tower Rock State Park has the following trail.

Tower Rock Trail – this is the easiest route to access the state park. It is also the most adventurous trail in the park.

The trail is about 2.41km out and back trail near Cascade, Montana. You can take roughly 58 minutes to go through this route. It is ideal for nature trips and hiking.

The unfortunate thing about this trail is that it is adjacent to the interstate highway, and you can hear the sounds of cars.

 

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