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Lockwood, Montana

Located along I-90, Lockwood, MT is a rapidly growing suburb of Billings. This community is the largest unincorporated community in Montana and is on the east side of Billings.

Originally, Lockwood was known as Hirsch and was a simple stage stop in the area. It was also the site of a US Calvary camp that was home to one of many cavalry units that were responsible for surveying the area.

The name Hirsch was eventually forgotten, and Lockwood stuck. The community is believed to have been named after Captain Lockwood a Cavalry soldier that was known for his many “victories” over the native peoples of the area.

Today the area is known as a sleepy suburb of Billings and is the fastest-growing community in Montana. It is not an official town or city at this time, however, the residents of the area are working on the process to become a fully incorporated town in the near future.

Visitors to Lockwood will enjoy many interesting sites in the area. And, its close proximity to Yellowstone National Park and other great places for recreation make Lockwood a nice place for a base camp while you explore southern Montana.

Main Attractions

main attractions

Lockwood has a few interesting places to visit while you are in the area. These spots provide recreation, insight into the history of the area, and some beautiful views.

Pictograph Cave State Park 

Designated as a national historic landmark in 1964, Pictograph Cave State Park was once home to prehistoric humans that lived in the area. The Park has three main caves that were first explored in 1936. The largest of the caves, Pictograph Cave has over 100 prehistoric pictographs (rock paintings) that are around 2,000 years old.

Visitors to Pictograph Cave State Park can enjoy the ¾ mile loop trail to the caves. Along the trail are interpretive signs that explain the paintings and the geological features of the area. Other signs along the trail provide information on the plants and animals in the area.

Pompey’s Pillar National Monument 

Pompey’s Pillar is a unique sandstone feature outside of Lockwood. The “pillar” is 2 acres wide and 120 feet tall. It is the only natural ford of the Yellowstone River and is the only sandstone feature in the area.

Visitors to Pompey’s Pillar National Monument will enjoy a short walk to the pillar. The pillar has long been used to share messages with visitors to the area. Observant visitors will find prehistoric pictographs and more modern messages including the signatures of William Lewis and Meriweather Clark who set camp next to the Pillar in July of 1806.

The cost of entrance to the pillar is $7 per vehicle. The Monument also has spots for picnicking and visitors can enjoy the peaceful waters of the Yellowstone River.

Four Dances Recreation Area

Another Bureau of Land Management (BLM) area located near Lockwood, Four Dances Recreation Area is committed to protecting critical natural and cultural resources in the Lockwood area.

Visitors to Four Dances enjoy the hiking opportunities close to Billings and Lockwood. The Four Dances trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in the area. The trail takes you to Sacrifice Cliff which overlooks the Yellowstone River.

The Crow tribe in the area believes this is a sacred location, and the story of the cliffs tells of two young men who rode their horses off the cliffs after learning of the deaths of their sweethearts. Today, the cliffs are a great place to enjoy amazing views of Billings and the surrounding areas.

Recreation Activities

recreation activities
Image: Jamie Chavez

Recreation activities near Lockwood center around the area’s natural features. Hiking and fishing are the most popular recreational activities in the area thanks to local hiking trails, national forest areas and the Yellowstone River.

Fishing 

The Yellowstone River is one of the most popular rivers in the state for fly-fishing. Thanks to cold waters, slower flows, and plenty of fish habitat, the Yellowstone is a great river for trout fishing. If fly-fishing isn’t your thing, Lake Elmo State Park is a great place to cast and is only a short drive from Lockwood.

Don’t forget to check out the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks website for information on fishing rules and regulations before you head out. You can also buy your Montana fishing license on their website.

Hiking 

With a few great state parks, recreation areas, and parks near Lockwood, you can certainly find plenty of places to hike. If the shorter trails found near Lockwood don’t give you much challenge, a short drive will put you in Custer Gallatin National Forest where there are ample hiking trails for all levels of hikers.

River Sports

The Yellowstone River which runs along the north side of Lockwood is a great place to put in your canoe, paddleboard, or kayak. Visitors to the area will also enjoy some great white water rafting opportunities on the Yellowstone within a short drive of Lockwood.

Accommodations

Lockwood itself does not have any lodging accommodations. However, there are plenty of nice places to stay on the east side of Billings that are just a short drive from Lockwood, and allow you to enjoy both Lockwood and Billings.

Special Events

Because Lockwood is not an incorporated city, there are unfortunately no community events for visitors to this suburb to enjoy. However, visitors can enjoy some of the great community events in Billings which is just a short drive from Lockwood.

Activities Near Lockwood

Recreation Activities

National Parks and Forests

State Parks

City and County Parks

  • Earl Gus Park
  • Harris Park
  • Hillner Park
  • Lions Lair 2.0

Museums and Tours

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