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The two RV Gypsies
explored Pictograph Cave State Park
3401 Coburn Road
Billings, Montana

'406.254.7342
May 23, 2016

USA map showing location of Montanamap of Montana showing location of pictograph Cave SP

Pictograph Cave State Park has evidence of habitation dating back 4500 years. Three caves and a fantastic interpretive center are open year round for visitors to explore. Take I-90 to exit 452, then go 6 miles south - Cost $6 per vehicle. Below: A couple of travel photos as the two RV Gypsies approached Pictograph Cave State Park. (Note: Some pages have a lot of photographs, so be sure to give each page time to load).

scenery on the way to Pictorgraph Cave State Park scenery on the way to Pictorgraph Cave State Park

Travel photos on the way to Pictograph Cave State Park.

scenery on the way to Pictorgraph Cave State Park
scenery on the way to Pictorgraph Cave State Park scenery on the way to Pictorgraph Cave State Park
sign: Pictograph Cave State Park sign about park fees
map of Pictograph Cave State Park and other info
entrance to Pictograph Cave State Park snake warning sign
welcome sign and rules a cool tree trunk

history bookPictograph Cave is a 23-acre area of three caves (Pictograph, Middle, and Ghost caves) located 5 miles south of Billings, Montana, United States. Excavation of the three caves began in 1937, and they were the site of some of Montana's first professional archeological studies. Over 30,000 artifacts have been identified, with at least 20,000 animal remains recovered from the site. Species range from large mammalian species, including bison and elk, to various species of herpetiles (reptiles and amphibians) and birds. The presence of these remains result from human predation, processing and consumption as well as non-human (carnivores and raptors) predation and individual species who lived and died in and around the site.

Paintings known as pictographs are still visible in Pictograph Cave, which is the largest of the three caves. The pictographs are thought to be between 200 and 2,100 years old. However their interpretations are still debated over. The oldest pictograph is that of a turtle, radio-carbon dated to be approximately 2,100 years old. These pictographs are paintings of animals, warriors, and even rifles that document the story of the Native Americans of the area for thousands of years.

The site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964.

Above quote from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Karen Duquette by the big cliff the big cliff
the big cliff

The two RV Gypsies started up the Ghost Cave Trail. It consisted of loose gravel, so it was a bit slippery and also a bit steep. But they had on good hiking shoes, so it was not a problem for them. However, Karen did see a young girl almost fall because she was in flip-flops.

Ghost Cave trail caution sign Ghost Cave trail

Karen stopped half way up the trail and had Lee continue around the corner first and walk a bit up the next part of the trail, because she knew right where she wanted him to stand so in order to take the picture shown below on the right.

Ghost Cave trail Lee Duquette on the Ghost Cave trail

The natural shelters are nestled in a sandstone bluff on a well-traversed path. The cave complex has long been a site of mystical power, a culturally significant gathering place for American Indians.

trails view at the state park
sign about the Journey through the Yellowstone River Valley

After rounding another corner on the Ghost Cave Trail, the two RV Gypsies paused to take photos of the area and trails from a lookout section.

view from the Ghost Cave Trail lookout view from the Ghost Cave Trail lookout
view from the Ghost Cave Trail lookout view from the Ghost Cave Trail lookout

As the two RV Gypsies approached the Ghost Cave, Lee said he saw a face on the side of the cliff - see the photo below on the right.

Ghost Cave a face on the side of the cliff
sign about ghosts

Lee was amazed at the big balls attached to the Ghost Cave.

Lee Duquette by Ghost Cave the two RV Gypsies at Ghost Cave
danger - rock fall area sign Karen Duquette and the big balls at Ghost Cave
the big balls in Ghost Cave the big balls in Ghost Cave
the big balls in Ghost Cave

Below: A view of the parking lot.

A view of the parking lot.

Leaving the Ghost Cave, the trail was not maintained.

Leaving the Ghost Cave, the trail was not maintained. Lee Duquette on the trail to Pictograph Cave
Karen Duquette on the trail the view

The two RV Gypsies then came to the second cave, Middle Cave. Actually they thought of it more of an indent in the cliff.

middle cave Lee Duquette by another cave

Below: Karen very carefully walked up a short but steep loose-gravel slope to get a closer look at the cave area. Lee didn't get the gravel slope in the photo which would have shown the depth of the cave.

Karen Duquette inside a cave

The two RV Gypsies just outside of the cave area shown above. The side of the cliff was very jagged.

The two RV Gypsies just outside of the cave jagged cliff

Lee walks by some very large fallen chunks of the cliff.

l.some very large fallen chunks some very large fallen chunks

Below: Views of the area, as the two RV Gypsies continue walking along the trail towards Pictograph Cave.

the two RV Gypsies the view

Below: Looking up from the trail at the tall side of a cliff.

the tall side of the cliff

The two RV Gypsies arrived at the bottom of the Ghost Cave trail. Then they went around the corner, past a resting bench and sprawling tree, then up another trail to Pictograph Cave.

Karen Duquette
Lee Duquette bench and tree
look below

go to the next adventure of the two RV Gypsies Please continue on to page 2 of Pictograph Cave State Park - Pictograph Cave! Those photos have been put on a separate page to help the photos upload faster for your viewing pleasure.