Welcome to the Trail Well Traveled!
Each Friday, in partnership with Montana Wilderness Association we will feature a new western Montana trail and then give one lucky listener some cool goodies to help them embark on their journey!
Madison Buffalo Jump State Park
Combine history with hiking along this cliff once used by area tribes to harvest bison.
Roundtrip: 3.1 miles
Directions: From Missoula, head east on I-90 and take Exit 283 at Logan (about 6 miles past Three Forks). Take Buffalo Jump Road south for seven miles, taking a left turn at the sign. The parking lot will be on the left-hand side of the road.
What to expect: This low-elevation, low-precipitation area is virtually snow-free all winter, making it a perfect place to visit while you wait for the ground to thaw and dry for the spring and summer seasons ahead!
To the right of the trail kiosk, follow the wide road up to the interpretive pavilion and read about the area. Continue up the two-track trail to the first hilltop, and at the fork keep left – heading first downhill then up towards the forested section of the bluffs.
At the second fork, keep right, heading straight uphill through the forest, clambering up a rocky area to the rim.
Turn left and walk along the edge of the cliffs. Peer over the edge of the bluff to see where for 2,000 years young men would jump and hide while the bison plunged off the cliff above them. Admire the Tobacco Root Mountains in the far distance and the grey cliffs above the Madison River in the near distance.
At the far (north) side of the cliff, take the second trail down. (The barbed wire fence is beyond the second trail.) At the base of the hill, turn left onto the trail back to the parking area, picnic tables and restrooms.
For more information, check out the Madison Buffalo Jump State Park website HERE or check out this cool video:
We also encourage you to follow the Friends of Madison Buffalo Jump’s Facebook page and learn how you can help sustain the park and keep it’s historical resources available for future generations.
Tip: This site has not been extensively inventoried by archaeologists. Feel free to look for tipi rings, but leave any artifacts where you find them.
Learn more about this trail, file your own trip report and photos, or check out some other great hikes at hikewildmontana.org.
And don’t forget to tune in to the Trail 103.3 each Friday at 9:50 am for the next featured trail and your chance to win!