Tower Rock!

Montana Travel Blog

 › entry 8 of 47 › view all entries


After my adventure at the First Peoples' Buffalo Jump I had enough daylight left to drive a little further south to a newly established state park Tower Rock. for another hike!

I was surprised how close the small park was to the interstate. During the majority of my hike I had a great view of the Interstate and all the passing traffic. Luckily the further up I went the less distractive the Interstate became..

I didn't make it all the way to the top of the rock for two reasons.

1. I failed to wear the proper hiking shoes. LOL. I was so excited to start hiking up the rock path that I forgot to change my footwear!! The shoes I was wearing were not appropriate for the actual rock climbing section of the path.

2. It was getting toward the end of the day and I knew that if I wanted get down safely I would need some daylight to see where I was going!

Even though I didn't get to the highest point, though I came pretty darn close!) I still had some amazing views and plenty of opportunities to self reflect. I'm not one of the hikers who can just keep going. I need to stop and take in the view. Sometimes I will find myself stopping every few feet to take in the subtle changes of view!

The rock was once used as a navigational tool by native tribes and hunters. It was also a stop along the Lewis & Clark expedition. There were no information center available. just a parking lot and entrance gate.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Tipis poles near the First Peoples Buffalo Jump
I had a few days after leaving my father at the Canadian border to explore Montana.

We agreed to meet up in Great Falls, MT after he delivers the load in Canada, so I decided to keep the core of my adventures close to that area.

The First Peoples Buffalo Jump, located about ten miles south of Great Falls, was alot of fun and very educational!!

When I pulled up I immediately went straight into the Information center and sat through a very educational presentation about the history of the Buffalo jump and the people who used the jump by one of the employees. I learned that the jump was used by several native communities from far distances as a food source. Children as young as 6 were trained to lure herds of buffalo to the jump by pretending to be a lost calf while slightly older children dressed in skins would follow until the herd was close enough to create a panic and stampede of buffalo toward the edge of the jump.
This process would often take up to a week and then another few weeks were spent cleaning, drying and preserving the meats for the winter food storage. It was a community effort. Everyone had a job and purpose in the preservation of the tribe. The Jump was a used as a hunting ground until the introduction of Horses by the European settlers. Through several digs and plenty of research, Archeologists have discovered layers and layers of historical evidence of the area. The information center also has a museum of artifacts found and displays of what life would have looked like 600 years ago in what we now call Montana.

Originally the jump was called Ulm Pishkun State Park after a local german settlement. In speaking with the guide I learned that there was actually a huge debate on the name.
more so the language used. Many tribes used this jump and a name needed to reflect THAT more than anything. to give it a Lakota name would cause the other tribes to be overlooked by the general public.. Hence the new name First Peoples Buffalo Jump!! This little bit of information is actually really important to me. I think it is a perfect example of multiculturalism!

After the tour I hiked the path up to the jump itself. Photographing views along the way and meditating on history of this place. I thought how I was stepping through what would have been a savage scene from my modern and vegan perspective but that from another perspective it would have been a scene of sustainability and preservation. I thought about how sad it is that those great buffalo were no longer as free as they once were.
Cliff edge
I focused on the simple beauty of the landscape. I was able to climb up the Jump's edge to the top and take in the vast view of the Big Sky Country. It was breathtaking! I wasn't alone when I came to the top. There were a few other people. Most of whom I noticed drove up the path to the top, took in the view and drove back.. I must have spent an hour up there lost in my thoughts!

I believe the fee was a small suggested donation of $5. There was a really cool gift shop filled with toys, items relating to local native tribes and books on various related subjects. I purchased two children books by local authors for my lovely nieces! :P:P:P


Tipis poles near the First Peoples…
Tipis poles near the First People…
Cliff edge
Cliff edge
View near the Jump
View near the Jump
WIldlife at the Buffalo Jump
WIldlife at the Buffalo Jump
Buffalo Jump edge that the Early n…
Buffalo Jump edge that the Early …
View from Jump trail
View from Jump trail
Jump edge
Jump edge
When I first saw this I thought it…
When I first saw this I thought i…
Trail along the Tower Rock
Trail along the Tower Rock
View from the Tower Rock
View from the Tower Rock
View of the Missouri from the Towe…
View of the Missouri from the Tow…