Rock Slide Cleared, Popular Montana State Park to Reopen This Week
If you're getting anxious to hit the road for those scenic Montana excursions, we have good news from the cave front.
Two months after it was closed by a rock slide that blocked the access road and several trails, a popular and historic Montana state park is reopening. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks tells us that Pictograph Cave State Park southeast of Billings will reopen this Wednesday, April 14.
In January, the face of a sandstone cliff overlooking Pictograph Cave State Park collapsed, sending boulders over the roadway and a hiking trail. FWP officials closed the park until they could repair the roadway and assess the potential for additional rock falls. Fortunately nobody was injured and no buildings were damaged by the cliff's collapse, which left boulders – ranging in size from a basketball to YES, twice as big as a car – strewn at the base of the 100-foot-tall cliff and across the park access road and a hiking trail.
For those unfamiliar, Pictograph Cave State Park pays homage to the origins of human habitation in Montana. The Pictograph Cave site was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1964, because of its archeological significance. Visitors can explore the mystery of this site and tour the visitor center. Prehistoric hunters who camped in Pictograph Cave left behind artifacts and over 100 pictographs, or rock paintings. The oldest rock art in the cave is over 2,000 years old.
Since the January rockfall, Montana State Parks employees and contractors have worked to clear the road and trails and access the threat of future rockfalls from the sandstone cliffs that form part of the park. Trails in the park leading to the Pictograph Cave and Ghost Cave will reopen. One short section of trails will remain closed while crews complete construction on a switchback.
Starting Wednesday, the park will resume regular open hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. The visitor center will open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the same days. The park and visitor center are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Can't wait to finally explore this one in 2021!
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