Located on the eastern edge of Glacier National Park, South Browning is a small Montana community rich in culture and heart.
Much more than a stop on the way to the national park, South Browning acts as the headquarters for the Blackfeet Indian Reservation – providing ample opportunity to discover the enriching culture, ritual, and arts.
Incorporated in 1912 and named after Daniel M. Browning, South Browning welcomes you to its several indigenous-inspired art galleries, the Museum of the Plain Indians, and nationally renowned North American Indian Days.
Museum of the Plain Indians
As the first inhabitants of the area, the Plains Indians have a palpable presence in Big Sky Country. The Museum of the Plains Indians emphasizes exactly this, with historic traditional clothing, weapons, arts, horse gear, dioramas, and more.
Come here to learn more about how the Plains Indians ended up in Montana, view their rotating art exhibits (featuring local Blackfeet artisans!), and honor the individuals who have called this area home long before Lewis & Clark set foot in the area.
Recommended: lean in and take a closer look at the ornate early beadwork and craftsmanship in traditional regalia. Gift shop available!
Lodgepole Gallery & Tipi Village at Blackfeet Culture Camp
While this one-of-a-kind Tipi Village also functions as a tipi campsite (see: Accommodations), the Lodgepole Gallery is also a Native American art gallery housing both contemporary and traditional Blackfeet art.
Are you looking to commission local moccasins, drums, pouches, or intricate beadwork? This gallery can connect you with local artisans happy to create your next souvenir or home decor.
Open from May to September, take your own craft session or cultural seminar with local Blackfeet artist Darrell Norman – and be sure to visit its exceptional gift shop for prints, 3D art, and more.
Once done with Lodgepole, head over to Nation’s Burger Station for a bison burger, Indian taco, and milkshake!
Blackfeet Heritage Center & Gallery
Similar to the Lodgepole Gallery, the Blackfeet Heritage Center & Gallery represents over 500 Native American artists, artisans, and crafts.
But unlike its sister gallery, the Heritage Center also features a baby Tyrannosaurus skeleton found on the local reservation – the smallest and most complete in North America!
Between the pottery, beadwork, dolls, watercolors, and unique T-Rex, there’s something for everyone at the newest gallery in town. Walk-ins welcome!
North American Indian Days
This four-day mid-July celebration celebrates authentic Blackfeet culture, including powwow dancing, drumming, and horse relay races.
If you really want to see the Blackfeet culture in action, North American Indian Days are the absolute pinnacle, as it’s one of the largest in all of North America. Everyone is welcome to observe and enjoy the traditional dancing and regalia – respectfully, of course.
Things to look out for: inter-tribal dancing between different indigenous cultures, the Grand Entry ceremony opening, and tipi camping.
Glacier Gateway Trailrides
Are you looking for an adventurous horseback riding spot nestled up against the eastern border of majestic Glacier National Park? Open seasonally, Glacier Gateway Trailrides offers this exact authentic Montana experience, just fifteen minutes southwest of South Browning.
Let Native American guides direct you through their sacred mountainous trails, and learn about the past and present of this iconic area and natural habitat.
A sacred site for the local Blackfeet and numerous indigenous tribes, Chief Mountain can be seen from over a hundred miles away.
Because of its omnipresence, Native Americans travel from all over North America for sweetgrass ceremonies and other religious rites to the Blackfoot-named Ninaistako. And likewise, numerous native burial sites can be found scattered at the base of the mountain.
If you’re in Montana for a challenging hike and a unique look into indigenous history, Chief Mountain sits at over 6 miles long – but it’s well worth it for the stunning view at the top.
Blackfeet Nation Bison Reserve
Rich in heritage, fishing lakes, and grassy plains, the Blackfeet Nation Bison Reserve is your recommended nature reserve to view this animal revered by the surrounding indigenous tribes.
The ancestors of the current bison (or “iinnii”) in the area were among the last remaining in the Blackfeet territory in the early 1900’s, and their presence is ubiquitously felt around the reservation and town.
If you listen closely, you may be able to hear a bison roar – but please keep your distance from these beautiful free-roaming animals. Then, head back into South Browning to pick up a local book at Faught’s Blackfeet Trading Post.
Whether you’re in town for the nationally acclaimed Native American Indian Days or on your way to Glacier National Park, South Browning offers resorts, inns, and – of course – tipis and cabins to get in touch with your natural side. Favorites are below:
- Aspenwood Resort Campground & RV Park – Revered by locals and travelers alike, the Aspenwood Resort features a B&B and campground, beaver ponds, and ample bird watching. Appreciated for its proximity to natural beauty Running Eagle Falls and its gracious host, Terry, this spot is praised as an undiscovered gem with massive views of East Glacier without the crowd. What’s not to love?
- Glacier Peaks Hotel & Casino – If you’re looking for an opportunity to hit the slots and rest your feet for the night, Glacier Peaks Hotel is the spot for you. One of the newer accommodations in town, this hotel offers luxurious non-smoking rooms, a complimentary breakfast buffet, Montana hospitality, and 5-star service.
- Tipi Village – A stay in South Browning may not be complete without a night in Tipi Village, marking its second entry on this list. Sleep in one of the village’s 11 tipis located on pristine prairie land, and be sure to partake in Southern Blackfeet dinner cuisine and your own fire pit. Don’t come here expecting a glamping experience, but a rustic adventure that will get you in touch with the native culture and landscape. Or sleep soundly in one of two cabins if you visit the area in the off-season. A must-see!
Between the Relay Races at Charging Home Stampede Park and intertribal cultural events, summertime is easily the best time to view South Browning in action.
Besides being the home of the Blackfeet Reservation, it’s also the spiritual home to one of the largest gatherings of the United States and Canadian tribes: North American Indian Days.
Come during the second week of July to experience indigenous dances, regalia, and culture – but you can find something culturally significant year-round!
- July – North American Indian Days
- August – Heart Butte Society Celebration
- August – Ponokamiittaa Relay Races at Charging Home Stampede Park
Activities Near South Browning
- East Glacier Park, MT (13 miles)
- Heart Butte, MT (25 miles)
- Mary, MT (28 miles)
- West Glacier, MT (67 miles)
- Hungry Horse, MT (77 miles)
- Whitefish, MT (93 miles)
- Kalispell, MT (100 miles)
- Kipp Lake (Blackfoot, MT)
- Camp Disappointment (Glacier County, MT)
- Two Medicine Fight Site (Browning, MT)
- Blackfeet Indian Reservation (Blackfoot, MT)
- Blackfeet Bison “Iinii” Reserve (Browning, MT)
- Sun Point Nature Trail (Browning, MT)
- Billedeaux Ranch Trail Rides (Babb, MT) – Highly recommended horse riding trails!
- Beaver Pond Trailhead (Browning, MT)
- Police Outpost Provincial Park (Alberta, Canada)
City Parks & Pools
- Pikuni Walking Park
- All Chiefs Park
- Thunder Park Skatepark
- Browning Swimming Pool
National and State Parks
- Glacier National Park
- First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park (Ulm, MT)
- Flathead Lake State Park (Poison, MT)
- Les Mason State Park (Whitefish, MT)
- Flathead National Forest (Swan Lake, MT)
Local & Nearby Favorites
- Nation’s Burger Station (Try the bison burgers and Indian tacos!)
- Glacier Peaks Casino
- Billie-Jo’s Home of the Bigfoot
- Hinman Coffee House
- Big Chief Chinese
- Junction Cafe