American Prairie is located on Montana’s Northern Plains, a vast shortgrass prairie landscape stretching north and south of the Missouri River.
The region is one of the most remote areas in the lower 48 states.
The prairie comprises several large properties with a handful of smaller holdings. Aside from the National Discovery Center in Lewistown, the majority of visitor infrastructure is situated on the PN, Mars Vista, and Sun Prairie properties, and includes campgrounds and a hut system. The Mars Vista property is located off a paved road and is accessible in all weather with all vehicle types. The PN and Sun Prairie properties are accessed by 50+ miles of dirt road and require a 4WD vehicle. These properties may not be accessible in inclement weather.
Making a trip in the area requires careful planning and a higher degree of self-sufficiency than National Parks or other less remote public lands. We recommend you review each of the pages linked from the Plan Your Trip page, especially the Safety Considerations page, and the Road and Weather Conditions page at the time of your visit.
Visit our Maps page for map options to plan your trip, including property-specific maps and links to the American Prairie’s digital Avenza maps. Avenza is a free GPS app that works on Android and Apple smartphones without cell coverage.
Commercial flights are available to Bozeman (BZN), Billings (BIL), and Great Falls (GTF). Your drive time from the airport to American Prairie depends on the airport and region of the prairie you will visit. In general, visitors should plan on a half to a full day’s drive to reach their destination from these airport hubs.
Most visitors access the PN, Mars Vista, and Sun Prairie properties via Lewistown in the south and Malta in the north. Travel distances are long, and visitors must plan fuel stops in advance. No fuel is available on American Prairie. Credit card-operated 24-hour fuel pumps with both gas and diesel are located in Lewistown, Malta, and Lodgepole.
If you plan to travel off the pavement in the region, a 4WD vehicle is required along with a full-size spare tire. Please see our Roads and Weather Conditions page for more information on driving.
Google Maps, Apple Maps, and similar online services are unreliable in the region, provide incorrect routing through private land or unmaintained roads, and the cell coverage they require is infrequent. We do not recommend them for navigating any unpaved roads in the region.
We recommend using the American Prairie Map & Guide (either paper, digital, or both) to navigate to Sun Prairie, the PN, and Mars Vista. The map’s text contains turn-by-turn written instructions as well as major roads in the area. The map is downloadable from the Maps page or you can request a paper map by mail. Please expect 2-3 weeks for printed maps to arrive.