Montana’s largest state park features badland formations and the fossil remains of Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops, and other prehistoric life. You’ll find a visitor center at the park entrance with interpretive exhibits great for all ages.
The name Makoshika (Ma-ko'-shi-ka) is a variant spelling of a Lakota phrase meaning 'bad land' or 'bad earth'.
Today, as Montana's largest state park, the badlands of Makoshika are set aside for visitors to see and enjoy. In addition to the pine and juniper studded badland formations, the park also houses many fossil remains.
Our visitor center (with a gift shop) at the park entrance, houses a Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil along with other fossil remains and badland interpretive displays. Find out more about Montana paleontology exhibits and activities at Montana Dinosaur Trail.
Included within the park are scenic drives, hiking trails, 28 camping sites, a group picnic area, and an outdoor amphitheater.
The park offers special events throughout the year, including Montana Shakespeare in the Park, Friday night campfire programs and youth programs in summer, and the famous Buzzard Day festival, the second Saturday in June, featuring 10k & 5k races, a fun run, jumping house, food, disc golf tournament, hikes and more! Click here for a list of Makoshika's 2023 scheduled program activities.
Visitors are asked not to bring metal detectors, and no digging, collecting, or removal of fossils and artifacts is allowed.
Park size: 11,538 acres. Elevation: 2,415 feet.
Alerts & Closures
Seasonal closure: Swithback gate is closed for the winter.
Restrictions and Closures
See a current list of Restrictions and Closures on State Parks and other FWP lands that may be affected by floods, fire, drought or major maintenance activities.
Dinosaurs at Makoshika
The park’s landscape is part of the late Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation. Over ten different dinosaur species have been discovered in Makoshika. Significant discoveries include a complete Triceratops horridus skull, the fossil remains of Edmontosaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex, and a nearly complete skeleton of the rare Thescelosaur.
In Makoshika State Park, visitors will see the K-T boundary line. For those unfamiliar with the line, 'K' is the abbreviation for the Cretaceous period, while 'T' is the abbreviation for the Tertiary period. This line marks the physical boundary in time between the two periods dating back 65.5 million years ago. What is the K-T boundary? K is actually the traditional abbreviation for the Cretaceous period, and T is the abbreviation for the Tertiary period. So the K-T boundary is the point in between the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods. Geologists have dated this period to about 65.5 million years ago.
Contact the park manager for open volunteer positions at Makoshika State Park.
For complete position descriptions, application forms, and details about Montana State Parks volunteer programs, visit the Volunteers page.
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.
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
Campsite fees range from $4-$34 per night, depending on season and available amenities.
Montana State Parks offers hike/bike, rustic, tent, rv, and boatslip campsites.
* 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.
Mailing Address: Makoshika State Park
Riley Bell, Park Manager
PO Box 1242
1301 Snyder Avenue
Glendive, MT 59330
Makoshika State Park boasts miles of trails, a disc golf course, and a visitor center with educational and interpretive displays for all ages. These amenities, and many more, remain open to the public as we all do our part to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. This video provides a few helpful tips on how to get outside safely and recreate responsibly.