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Visitor Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get there?

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. Detailed information can be found on our How to Get Here and Maps pages.

American Prairie is located in one of the most remote regions in the lower 48 states. Travel requires careful planning. Please visit our Safety and Road and Weather Conditions pages before visiting.

Road travel on the prairie is almost exclusively on gravel and unimproved dirt roads, necessitating high-clearance (at least 8 inches), 4WD or AWD vehicles, and a reliable spare tire.

Where is the closest place to buy food and gas?

American Prairie does not have fuel or grocery facilities, emergency care services, or “ranger” type employees. We encourage visitors to plan for supply stops in nearby Gateway Communities like Lewistown, Zortman, Harlem, Malta and Glasgow. Plan to arrive with a full tank of fuel and enough potable water for your stay. Remember that emergency services could be more than an hour away from your location.

How far is it between Antelope Creek and Buffalo Camp?

It takes approximately an hour and a half to drive from Antelope Creek Campground to Buffalo Camp. Antelope Creek is located off of Highway 191 on the Mars Vista property. Buffalo Camp is located on our Sun Prairie property, and the majority of the drive to and from this campground is on remote gravel and dirt roads.

What property should I go to?

Aside from the National Discovery Center in Lewistown, our primary visitor facilities are located on our PN, Mars Vista, and Sun Prairie properties. Each property offers a unique prairie experience. You can find directions to each on our How to Get Here page.

For those new to the region, or driving a 2WD vehicle, we recommend a visit to Mars Vista. The property is accessible in all weather conditions via pavement. Mars Vista has a two-mile nature trail with a series of interpretive signs and views of the Missouri Breaks, open prairie, and Little Rockies mountains. Overnight visitors can American Prairie campsites or cabins at the Antelope Creek Campground.

For those looking to journey a little further off the pavement, we recommend the PN property near Judith Landing. This property is accessed via 30 miles of gravel and unimproved roads that may become impassable when wet and requires a 4WD/AWD vehicle. Day visitors can access the Judith and Missouri rivers as well as miles of two-track roads for biking, hiking, or horseback riding. Overnight visitors can reserve one of the Myers Family Huts.

And for those looking to get far from the beaten track, we recommend a trip to Sun Prairie. Sun Prairie is ideally visited as an overnight at Buffalo Camp, which is reached via over 50 miles of gravel and unimproved roads that may become impassable when wet. The property is home to a resident bison herd and has many miles of two-track roads for biking, hiking, or horseback riding.

Where can I camp?

American Prairie maintains two campgrounds: Antelope Creek Campground on U.S. Highway 191 just north of the Missouri River, and Buffalo Camp, which is located 50 miles south of Malta. There are also many regional campgrounds in the area, and we allow dispersed tent camping on our deeded land.

Do I need permission to go on your property?

The vast majority of American Prairie is open year-round for the public to visit and explore without permission. We also welcome the public to cross our deeded land to access adjacent public land. Please follow posted signs regarding road status; some roads are open to non-motorized travel or ranch traffic only. Foot and horse traffic are allowed off-road. Motorized use and bikes are restricted to existing roads.

The majority of hunting on American Prairie's deeded land is managed through the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Block Management Program. Hunting on American Prairie lands requires signing up through the Block Management Program, and detailed information for each property is included on our hunting page.

What is the weather like in different seasons?

Weather on the prairie is unpredictable, and it is the visitor's responsibility to monitor the weather before and during their trip. Please visit our Road and Weather Conditions page for more information.

What is the best time of year to see wildlife and wildflowers?

May and June are the best months to see wildflowers. Wildlife can be viewed any time of year on the prairie, but spring, summer, and fall generally provide the best viewing opportunities. 

Visit our bison viewing page for locations and safety precautions to observe bison.

Are there bears or rattlesnakes on American Prairie?

American Prairie includes occupied bear habitat, and rattlesnakes are present throughout the prairie. We encourage visitors to take the proper safety precautions to ensure their safety and the safety of the prairie's wildlife. Learn more on the Your Safety web page.

What kind of activities are there on American Prairie?

American Prairie offers everything from leisurely walks to hiking, biking, paddling, wildlife viewing, fishing, and hunting. More information can be found on our Plan Your Trip page.

Be sure to also stop by the National Discovery Center in Lewistown on your trip to or from the prairie!

Can I collect items like firewood, antlers, arrowheads, or berries on American Prairie?

We allow the public to take deer and elk antler sheds, but we limit the amount to two sheds per day. We allow foraging for fruit, mushrooms and plants for personal use only. No commercial collection of natural items is allowed. The collection of bison bones or skulls is not allowed as they play an important role in nutrient cycling.

American Prairie does not allow the collection of human artifacts like arrowheads or other cultural items at homestead sites or other historic sites. No cutting or collection of firewood is allowed.

Are dogs allowed on American Prairie?

Dogs are welcome! Dogs must be under voice control (or on a leash) and may not be left outside unattended. Please keep pets close at all times during your visit to prevent them from chasing, disturbing, or harming wildlife. Note that rattlesnakes may be encountered anywhere on American Prairie and may pose a danger to pets.

Can I drive my electric vehicle to Antelope Creek or Buffalo Camp?

Visitors driving EV's should note that dedicated charging infrastructure remains is sparse or non-existent in the region. Visitors may book an RV site at the nightly rate to use 30/50A power (bring necessary adaptors) for charging. 4WD/AWD vehicles with at least 8" of clearance are recommended for travel to Buffalo Camp.