Hiking at Pompeys Pillar
Pompeys Pillar National Monument
After an arduous journey exploring uncharted territory and making discovery after discovery, William Clark decided to rest for a moment at the top of a stunning rock formation 30 minutes outside of what is now Billings. He only had a few months left until his return to St. Louis, but he took a moment to engrave his name into the sandstone butte.
He named the formation Pompy’s Tower after Sacagawea’s son, Pomp. His carved name remains visible at Pompeys Pillar National Monument as the only known physical evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Guests looking to combine history with enjoying the vast beauty of the surrounding landscape can hike to this spot and continue to the top of the mesa for a remarkable vista.
“Rangers can give groups tours of the site,” said Austin. “There are amazing views from the top. You can see the Yellowstone River and everything around.”
Guided tours reveal the history of Clark’s connection with the area as well as the ancient human history at the site, which stretches back 11,000 years. The Pompeys Pillar Interpretive Center that opened in 2006 also provides information on Lewis and Clark’s 1806 exploration of the area.
Big Sky Sunset Jeep Tour
Montana Fun Adventures
Combining a screen-saver-worthy sunset with an adrenaline-pumping jeep tour equals a Wild West adventure you’ll not soon forget. Just outside of Billings, Montana Fun Adventures offers this customizable jeep tour, during which guides maneuver their vehicles down trails originally created by Native Americans.
The guides relate stories of the area as the jeeps pass by the Pryor Mountain Range and Blood Valley, where they stop for photos and wildlife viewing. The tour culminates in an open prairie with the sun setting over the mountains as a backdrop.
Groups can easily combine a jeep tour with one of Montana Fun Adventures’ other Billings city tours: a brewery district tour, a chocolate tour, a cemetery tour and a historic tour. These tours present tales about Billings’ lively past as a Western frontier town when it attracted folk legends like Calamity Jane and Buffalo Bill Cody.
Visitors looking for an even more heart-pounding experience can choose another jeep tour, the Rocky Mountain Jeep Adventure, which goes through Beartooth Pass. Drivers navigate 22 hairpin turns as they climb out of the Clarks Fork Canyon with its spectacular views.
Those seeking a quieter experience can opt for the operator’s Scenic Beartooth and Red Lodge Mountain Drive, which offers a loop driving tour with numerous overlooks.
“Beartooth Pass just got ranked No. 1 Motorcycle Road in the West,” said Austin. “It’s an absolutely incredible drive. You are going above 10,000 feet, so it’s very scenic up there.”