Today’s adventure takes us into the lands of prehistoric dinosaurs, past strangely beautiful rock formations, along trails filled with incredible scenery, dinosaurs remains and an outdoor adventure sure to please the whole family.
So where is today’s adventure taking us? To Makoshika State Park, near Glendive Montana, along the Montana Dinosaur Trail. Makoshika is a Lakota phrase meaning “The Land of Bad Spirits” but there’s nothing bad about this destination!
If you have ever wanted to walk along the very same trails once walked by lumbering prehistoric giants, all while soaking in incredible geological formations as far as the eye can see, then you need to spend a day at Makoshika State Park.
Examine Prehistoric Dinosaur Remains
First stop at Makoshika State Park is the Visitor’s Center, where fossilized bones of Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops, and other prehistoric residents are on display for all to see. The remains of more than ten different dinosaur species to date have been found in Makoshika State Park.
The star attraction of the Center’s small interpretive exhibit is a well preserved fossilized Triceratops skull. Don’t miss the opportunity for an up-close view of this magnificent representation of prehistoric life in southeastern Montana. Wow! Just look at the details of that skull! It’s not hard to imagine how big this dinosaur must have been.
Explore Along Prehistoric Dinosaur Trails
From the incredible Triceratops skull on display at the Visitor’s Center, to fossilized remains of Hadrosaurs, Edmontosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex, Makoshika State Park is awash in prehistoric evidence of the life that once roamed these very lands.
Imagine the prehistoric life that might once have walked these very same trails thousands of years ago. Roam along the same trails as dinosaurs also once roamed, lumbering giants in search of food, a place to rest, water to drink.
Stand atop a cliff, surveying the land below. You can almost see a herd of rare Thescelosaur dinosaurs gathering along the green scrub grass. A nearly complete fossilized Thescaelosuar skeleton was found on park lands, indicating they too once called this land home.
Continue along trails where a smaller dinosaur might once have taken shelter from a towering Tyrannosaurus Rex in search of his next meal. Be on the lookout for more modern day species like vultures, eagles, owls, and more, wondering if their prehistoric ancestors once flew high above in these very skies.
Makoshika State Park is not just about dinosaurs! It’s also filled with amazing rock formations worth the adventure. Soak in the stark beauty that is Makoshika State Park as you explore this geological marvel. Caprocks, spires, hoodoos and more are the product of centuries of erosion, leaving behind fascinating rock formations found throughout the park.
Be Challenged With Geocache Adventures
Got kids in tow? Need a little “more” than hiking, rock formations, and dinosaurs for your day at Makoshika State Park? Then go Geocaching! Here’s three geocaches to whet your appetite for adventure while exploring this former dinosaur stomping grounds. Happy hunting!
Not sure what Geocaching is? In short, it is an outdoor adventure game that’s great fun for everyone! Check out my blog, Geocaching – Your Next Summer Adventure?, to learn more about this uber-cool activity.
Geocache #1: In Search of Hadrosaur Fossils
The Hadrosaur Fossil Site is the perfect geocache to begin one’s exploration of prehistoric dinosaurs and the fascinating rock formations that abound in Makoshika State Park.
This cache is an earthcache, meaning there isn’t a treasure box for plundering at the end of the hunt. There is, however, something equally as enticing. Fossilized dinosaur bones! The fossilized vertebra of a hadrosaur to be exact.
This duckbilled dinosaur was buried in the sand of a streambed shortly after it’s death many years ago. No one knows exactly where the rest of the hadrosaur bones are. Maybe buried deep within the nearby sandstone. Or maybe they washed away to destinations unknown.
Witnessing actual dinosaur remains in situ is the real treasure here! Read more about the Hadrosaur Fossil Site earthcache, including tips to finding it, at Geocaching.com.
Geocache #2: Makoshika – Land of Bad Spirits
Much like the Hadrosaur Fossil Site cache, Makoshika – Land of Bad Spirits, is an earth cache. And like the Hadrosaur earthcache, there is no treasure box awaiting at the end of the trail.
What does await the adventurous geocacher – and any hiker – is stunning scenery, including it’s most prominent feature, a natural land bridge formation. Head on over to the Cap Rock Area of Makoshika State Park to find this cache. The scenery alone is worth the adventure.
Found it! Beware that stepping out onto the land bridge is not for the faint of heart. It’s a narrow bridge with steep drop-offs on each side. Best to keep the kids off it. Read more about geocaching to Makoshika – Land of Bad Spirits at Geocaching.com.
Geocache #3: A Badlands Geocache
Got kids in tow? A traditional geocache hunt makes a perfect “next cache” after an earthcache. Nothing gets those legs pumping and their interest piqued quite like the promise of plunder at the end of the trail!
Our choice today was a geocache hidden high up on a hill. It had the promise of a well-stocked treasure box primed for plundering. Looks like it’s been found!
The hike alone was worth the hunt. The hilltop vantage point provided stunning views of the surrounding Montana Badlands that comprise Makoshika State Park.
Geocaching in Makoshika State Park is an adventure sure to keep even the youngest family members engaged and well entertained. Learn more about Geocaching at Geocaching – Your Next Summer Adventure? Find more geocaches in the Glendive/Makoshika area at Geocaching.com.
Have You Been To Makoshika State Park?
Makoshika State Park is Montana’s largest state park, and is located in southeastern Montana, just outside Glendive. It’s also a stop on the famed Montana Dinosaur Trail. Though somewhat remote, it makes up for that with lack of crowds, and intriguing lands.
Makoshika State Park was a “stretch our legs” stop on a national parks summer vacation road trip. Suffice it to say, we were quite pleased we spent an afternoon here. Nothing says fun for kids like dinosaur fossils, hiking trails and treasure boxes!
Have you been to Makoshika State Park? Did you go geocaching here? What was your favorite experience at this strangely beautiful park? Do you now want to spend a day in this land of dinosaurs? Please share!
All images by C.Biederman.