This city in Montana provides a convenient base from which to view ancient rock paintings, explore a striking desert landscape and visit Yellowstone National Park.
Billings, Montana’s largest city, offers visitors easy access to a number of interesting artifacts such as 2,000-year-old rock paintings and explorer William Clark’s signature carved into stone.
Start your exploration of the area by taking a half-hour drive northeast of town to see Pompey’s Pillar. This massive sandstone boulder is 150 feet (45 meters) high. The pillar features a number of Native American rock paintings, some of which are more than 2,000 years old. The same boulder also bears the signature of William Clark, half of the famous Lewis and Clark expedition team. When the pair passed through the area in the early 1800s, Clark climbed the rock to look out over the land. Today, you can walk up the stairs built into Pompey’s Pillar and stand on the same spot Clark stood over 200 years ago.
For older relics, take a drive to the hills southeast of town and the Pictograph Cave, in which you can find ancient pictographs and rock paintings. View the red sketches of animals, warriors and even rifles on the sandstone walls. It takes about an hour to walk around the cave.
Another popular attraction is the long line of sandstone cliffs that border Billings like a city wall. These are known as the Rimrocks and are right on the north edge of town. Climb the large formations for a great view over the whole city and the desert landscape that surrounds it.
Head back to town and visit the Moss Mansion which was designed by the architect who built the original Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York. Take a guided tour to see the vibrant wallpaper, ornate fixtures, and spacious parlors of a 20th-century Billings aristocrat.
Arrive in Billings by car, bus, train, or plane. If you don’t have your own car, it is best to rent one, since Billings’s best attractions are located in the desert surrounding the city.