A flourishing suburb of Billings in Yellowstone County, South Central Montana, Lockwood straddles the Yellowstone River. It is found on the east side of the city and is one of the fastest-growing communities in Montana.
The town has become a popular spot due to its proximity to both the big city and Yellowstone National Park, meaning there is an abundance of activities and locations to check out.
To help you decide where to stay in Lockwood, Montana we have put together a complete guide with tips and advice when visiting the area.
Best Places to Stay in Lockwood, Montana – Tips and Advice
- Although not considered a town in its own right, Lockwood boasts a tight-knit community that is working towards recognition as a fully incorporated municipality in the future.
- Lockwood is a haven for recreational activities, with hiking, river sports, and fishing all available in the area. It is also a popular choice of destination for those wishing to explore the best of southern Montana and is in close proximity to several points of interest, including Downtown Billings, Yellowstone National Park, and Custer Gallatin National Forest.
- The area was once the site of a U.S. Calvary camp that serviced the numerous cavalry units surveying the region. At the time, it was called Hirsch, but as the community expanded, it was renamed Lockwood. The inspiration behind the name reportedly comes from Captain Lockwood, a Cavalry officer who was active in the area.
- Alternatively, some sources claim that the name Lockwood actually originated from fallen timber that was left behind from a natural disaster that occurred nearby, which was said to look like locked wood.
- For those wondering where to stay in Lockwood, there are limited accommodation options within the suburb itself. But there is lots of choices elsewhere in Billings. Many travelers choose to stay in other areas of the city, such as Billings Heights or the Downtown area, as they have a wider range of options and Lockwood is still nearby for exploring.
The Top 3 Places To Stay in Lockwood
BEST FOR FAMILIES
- Swimming Pool
- Free WiFi
- Soundproof Rooms
BEST BUDGET HOTEL
- Fitness Centre
- Non-Smoking Rooms
- Pets Allowed
Pictograph Cave State Park
Lockwood’s premier tourist attraction is Pictograph Cave State Park, a destination featuring fascinating geological marvels and prehistoric paintings.
Stretching across 23 acres (9.3 hectares), the park boasts its own visitor center and also has picnic facilities.
The cave complex within the park is culturally significant and steeped in a rich history, once serving as a home to generations of prehistoric hunters.
In the Pictograph Cave, which is the only cave in the complex that contains rock art, there are no less than 106 rock paintings. Archeologists estimate that these were painted between 200 and 2,145 years ago.
Visitors can explore the caves by following the loop trail, which allows for detailed views of the artwork. For more information, please visit the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks website.
Four Dances Recreation Area
For those looking to explore the rugged terrain that Montana is famous for, the Four Dances Recreation Area is an expanse of untouched grassland abundant in native flora and fauna.
Considered an area of critical environmental concern, the space offers stunning views over the cliffs that drop to the Yellowstone River.
Visitors to the area typically enjoy hiking, nature photography, and wildlife watching. While no bicycles, motorized vehicles, or horses are permitted in the space due to the protective laws in place, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are available in the winter.
The location is sacred to the Crow people, who tell the story of two young men who rode their horses off the cliffs in despair after learning about the deaths of their sweethearts.
For more information, please visit the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management website.
Pompey’s Pillar National Monument
Although not located in Lockwood itself, Pompey’s Pillar is a must-visit attraction located in close proximity to Lockwood.
Also known as Pompey’s Pillar Rock, the monument stands 120 feet tall and lies on the banks of the Yellowstone River.
Both a geological phenomenon and a relic of historic significance, the Pillar is famous around the country for the inscription it bears, which was made by the famed explorer William Clark.
While undertaking the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1806, Clark inscribed his name on the side of the rock.
Prior to the arrival of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the rock was used by Native American peoples as a lookout and a marker indicating the best place to cross the river.
Along with visiting the famous engraving, you can also stop by the Riverwalk and Interpretive Center, which boasts several exhibits and other educational resources.
For more information, please visit the official website.
Lake Elmo State Park
Another nearby destination to visit near Lockwood is Lake Elmo State Park, a 64-acre (25.8 hectares) park within the city of Billings.
The lake is doubtless the park’s standout attraction and serves as an ideal location for swimming, boating, paddleboarding, and other water activities.
Lake Elmo is one of the most popular fishing destinations in the area, with many park guests casting a line from Roger’s Pier on the south shore of the lake.
There is also a hiking and nature trail in the park that spans 1.6 miles (2.5 kilometers), along with a playground and two picnic shelters.
The park is home to a designated dog park on the west side of the lake where visitors can safely allow their dogs off the leash. Lake Elmo is open every day from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
For more information, please visit the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks website.
Oasis Water Park
In the scorching summer months, the Oasis Water Park in Billings, Montana is one of the most popular destinations in the region.
Situated a short distance from Lockwood, the park is a premium outdoor aquatic facility that offers space for recreational swimming, swimming lessons, public events, and private functions.
The Oasis pools are comfortably kept at 83 degrees year-round and the park also features other fun amenities, including water playgrounds and slides.
There is a kiosk on the premises, plus a community center with rooms that can be rented out for private events.
Admission rates are $10, with discounts available for children, seniors, large groups, non-profit groups, and military personnel. For more information, please visit the official website.
Tips for Visiting Lockwood
- The closest major airport is the Billings-Logan International Airport, which is approximately 7 miles (11.2 kilometers) away.
- The summer weather in Lockwood is mostly clear and hot, while winters are freezing and snowy. June, September, and August are the most pleasant and popular months to visit.
- The Montana Fair is typically held in August in nearby Billings and features a variety of live entertainment, competitions, and exhibitors.
Lockwood Neighborhood Guide
A suburb itself, Lockwood is a good location to base yourself in if you don’t want to stay in an overly crowded area while exploring Billings or South Central Montana.
It is home to a variety of businesses, including commercial eateries and retail stores.
Marla and Patti’s Café is a popular local diner boasting a friendly atmosphere and home-cooked comfort food. Open for breakfast and lunch, the café operates Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
There is not a huge range of accommodation available in Lockwood itself, but there are many lodging options nearby.
For a full list of the businesses operating in Lockwood, please visit the Lockwood Montana website.
$$$ – Holiday Inn Express Billings East – 8 km from the Yellowstone Art Museum
Only a 10-minute drive from Lockwood, Billings is the most popular destination to stay in the area.
There are numerous accommodation options for all tastes and budgets, whether you prefer to stay in the Downtown area or in the eastern suburbs of the city, closest to Lockwood.
The largest city in Montana, Billings has no shortage of attractions to explore.
Among the most famous points of attraction in the city are ZooMontana, the Western Heritage Center, the Moss Mansion, and the DanWalt Gardens. It’s also easy and convenient to get around Billings via bus.
There is an array of city parks and local places to eat and shop in Billings. Those looking to indulge in some retail therapy can choose from Downtown Billings, Rimrock Mall, West Park Promenade, and Shiloh Crossing, among others.
Each shopping center boasts a selection of specialty and chain stores selling everything from clothes and souvenirs to outdoor gear.
$ – Bo’s Old West Abode – 5-minute drive from Downtown Billings
$ – Two Bedroom Townhouse – 10 minutes from Billings-Logan International Airport
$$ – Bo’s Bungalow – 5-minute drive from Downtown Billings
$$$ – Historic 3-Bedroom Home – in the Billings Historic District
$$$ – Stunning 4-Bedroom Home – 10 minutes from Billings-Logan International Airport
Where To Stay In Lockwood – Conclusion
Lockwood is one of Montana’s little-known destinations that is close to several major points of attraction and areas of stunning untouched landscape.
Visitors can stay in Lockwood itself, but the rest of Billings offers a wider variety of fantastic accommodation options.
Best Accommodation by Type
- Best Luxury Stay in Lockwood/Billings: Country Inn & Suites by Radisson
- Best Boutique Stay in Lockwood/Billings: Bo’s Old West Abode
- Best Cheap Stay in Lockwood/Billings: Two Bedroom Townhouse
- Best Family Stay in Lockwood/Billings: Bighorn Resort, Ascend Hotel Collection
- Best Romantic Stay in Lockwood/Billings: Historic 3-Bedroom Home