photo courtesy of Visit Billings

5 Fall Activities in Southeast Montana

September 2021

by megan hoffman

With mild weather and gorgeous scenery, fall is the perfect time to get out and explore your own backyard. Whether it’s just you or the whole family, adventure is waiting in the big, open spaces. Find your next weekend getaway out here, and let Southeast Montana surprise you. 

1. Fall Drives 

The changing colors in the fall don’t apply only to the trees – drive through the prairies and take in the yellow, orange, gold, mauve, and red grasses. Or, stop by the water and watch for the changing colors of the cottonwoods. A few of our favorite routes: Montana Old Highway 10 and Montana Highway 311 north of Interstate 94; Montana Highway 12 from Ryegate to Roundup, down to Forsyth; and Montana Highway 7 from Wibaux to Ekalaka. 

2. Night Sky Viewing 

Late summer and early fall are some of the best times for night skygazing because the sun sets earlier, and the Milky Way is in full view in our northern hemisphere. Pick any of the vast spaces around Southeast Montana to stretch your legs and take in the stars. We recommend Medicine Rocks State Park, an International Dark Sky Sanctuary, to really understand why we are called the Big Sky State. 

3. River Fun  

If you’re looking to get your line in the water before the cold weather hits, then Fall fishing on the Bighorn River is where it’s at.  The river is home to hundreds of trout per mile and is considered one of the best streams in the lower 48 states. Treat yourself to a peaceful day listening to the water flow while taking in the surrounding views of the Pryor and Bighorn Mountains.  

If floating is more your jam, rent equipment from Sunshine Sports or The Base Camp in Billings and spend a day, or a few, floating and camping along the Yellowstone River.  

4. Visit Montana’s Trailhead 

Billings is situated between the longest free-flowing river in the lower 48, the Yellowstone River, and the 70-million-year-old sandstone cliffs, or the “Rims” as they’re known to locals. Head up the hill to take in views that overlook the city, six surrounding mountain ranges, and the Yellowstone River Valley. From Four Dances Natural Area to Zimmerman Park, be sure to take time this fall to hike, bike, or drive the edge of the city. The Rims also offer incredible vantage points for Southeast Montana sunrises and sunsets. 

5. Experience Something New 

Just because summer is coming to an end doesn't mean events in Southeast Montana are over for the year. Head to Forsyth September 10-11 for Catoberfest and learn the art of catfishing. If you’re interested in those big night skies we mentioned earlier, head to Makoshika State Park on September 4 for astronomy night, September 20 for a full moon hike, or the Rosebud Battlefield State Park on September 11 or 25 for night skies programming. 

Originally printed in the September 2021 issue of Simply Local Magazine

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