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Madison Buffalo Jump State Park

Take a picnic and hike to the top of the buffalo jump for impressive views of the Madison River Valley.

About the Park

Situated on the edge of a broad valley carved by the Madison River, this high limestone cliff was used by Native Americans for 2,000 years--ending as recently as 200 years ago. Native people stampeded vast herds of bison off this massive semicircular cliff, using them for food, clothing, shelter and provisions. 

"Runners," highly skilled young men trained for speed and endurance, wore buffalo, antelope or wolf skins to lure bison to the "pishkun" or cliff. The buffalo jump was often the key to existence for native peoples. Although the introduction of horses led to the abandonment of this jump sometime after 1700, the rugged outcropping now serves as an inspiring monument to the region's early inhabitants.

The park includes all the main geographical features of a jump site and other evidence remains to provide visitors with a glimpse into the cultures that used this hunting style. Interpretive displays help visitors understand the dramatic events that took place here for nearly 2,000 years.

Buffalo bones still lie buried at the cliff's base, and archaeologists have located the tipi rings of an extensive village. With a little imagination it is easy to visualize the drama of a buffalo drive, the thunderous roar of the stampede, the dramatic sight of the fall, and the frenzy of activity that followed.

Seasons & Hours

Hours listed below are normal operating hours and may not apply when there is a special restriction or closure. Check Alerts and Closures in the tab below.


Park
Open all year
Daylight hours
 
 

Activities

  • Bird Watching
  • Cultural
  • Exhibit
  • Heritage
  • Hiking
  • History
  • Photography
  • Picnicking
  • Wildlife Viewing

Amenities

Some amenities are seasonal. Check with the park for availability.

  • ADA Accessible
  • Interpretive Display
  • Maps
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Pack-in/Pack-out

Park Rules

Fees

Montana Residents

  • Montana residents who pay the $9 state parks fee with their annual vehicle registration have no daily entrance fees to state parks. For residents who don't include this in their vehicle registration, non-resident day use fees apply.

 

Nonresidents

  • Day use entrance fee with a vehicle: $8
  • Day use entrance fee as a walk-in, bicycle or bus passenger: $4
  • With a Nonresident Entrance Pass: Free

Alerts & Closures

None

Volunteer

Contact the park manager for open volunteer positions at Madison Buffalo Jump State Park.

For complete position descriptions, application forms, and details about Montana State Parks volunteer programs, visit the Volunteers page.

Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Madison Buffalo Jump State Park
c/o 1585 Trident Road
Three Forks, MT 59752

Phone: 406-285-3610
Email: daveandrus@mt.gov

Recreate Responsibly

Tips to stay safe while getting outdoors

To keep our state parks safe and accessible to all, make sure you know before you go, practice physical distancing, plan ahead, play it safe, explore locally, leave no trace, respect wildlife, and do your part to build an inclusive outdoors. 

Visit the Recreate Responsibly page for more information 

Madison Buffalo Jump State Park

Address

6990 Buffalo Jump Road
Three Forks, MT
59752 Latitude/Longitude:
(45.79431 / -111.47197)

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Park map

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Park fees

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Meet The Park Manager

Dave Andrus

Dave Andrus has put his degree in Wildland Recreation Management from the University of Montana to work at state parks across Montana. He currently manages Missouri Headwaters and Madison Buffalo Jump state parks and administers Montana State Parks' snowmobile and trails programs in southwest Montana. Dave is originally from Missoula, and says he is proud to be serving the people of his home state.

CONTACT INFO
Mailing Address:
Missouri Headwaters State Park
1585 Trident Road
Three Forks, MT 59752

Phone: 406-285-3610
Email: daveandrus@mt.gov

Photo of Park Manager, Dave Andrus