S. Fk. Deep Creek
Pine Creek H,C
Passage Creek Falls
Big Timber Area
Creek Falls H,C,V
Boulder Meadows H,C
Twin Lakes H,C
Lava Lake H
Little Belt Mountains
MT Railroading V
Gap Wind Farm V
Beartooth Highway V
Rocks Rec Area V,C
Lake State Park V,C
Selecting a Campsite
Selecting a Tent Site
Selecting a Tent
Sleeping Bags & Pads
The Camp Kitchen
Selecting a Camp Stove
Prairie Dog State Park
Greycliff Prairie Dog State Park is one of the smallest and
least noticeable parks in the Montana state park system. It is located
right next to Interstate 90 but few travelers are ever likely to notice
the park. The park is only 98 acres in total and offers few amenities.
The park really only has one thing ? Prairie Dogs! Greycliff Prairie
Dog State Park is home to a colony of black tailed prairie dogs that
are easy to spot and fun to watch.
It?s hard to imagine that a
park could be easier to find than this one. It is right off Interstate
90 right at Exit 377, the Greycliff exit. The state park is well signed
and easy to find. It is on the south side of the highway and just east
of the exit on the frontage road. The directions make it sound more
complicated than it is.
Black tail prairie dogs are the main feature of
Dog State Park. This is a great place to observe these very interesting
There is not much at the park.
A couple of interpretive signs and a few picnic tables are the only
amenities. There are no restrooms ? not even outhouses ? and no water.
This is a day use only site so no camping is allowed. The park is all
open ground with no trees so plan on full sun whenever you visit. The
entire site is open for hiking and exploring but you will probably find
that the best way to view the prairie dogs is by finding a good spot to
just be still and watch.
watching is the only activity at the park but it is a great way to
spend some time. There are 5 different species of prairie dogs and
Prairie Dog State Park is home to black tailed prairie dogs. Prairie
dogs were once abundant across the western United States but
populations have plummeted as prairie dogs are considered to be pests
by many and large scale extermination campaigns were historically
conducted to try and wipe them out. Today prairie dogs are recognized
as a keystone species that is incredibly important to the ecology of
many western habitats.
In the late 1960s Edward Boehm, a
Livingston, MT wildlife photographer, realized that prairie dogs were
vanishing and new highway construction threatened the Greycliff colony.
In 1969, according to the Montana Standard ?Prairie dog champion Edward
Boehm, Livingston, is waging a one-man crusade to save a prairie dog
village threatened by interstate highway construction near Greycliff,
southeast of Big Timber. Boehm wants the dog village designated a state
park or wildlife refuge and has entered petitions to the state.?
Ultimately, the state paid heed and the site was set aside to protect
the prairie dogs. We all owe a debt to unsung heroes like Edward
Boehm who did so much to leave a legacy for us all.
This is what the habitat is like at at Greycliff Prairie Dog
State Park. This open sagebrush grassland is excellent habitat for the
prairie dogs. The park is right next to Interstate 90 but the traffic
zooming by is ignored by the prairie dogs.
Be sure to bring binoculars to the park and plan
to spend some time watching these social creatures. You will notice
that there are a number of family groups inhabiting their own homes
that combine to make the town. Watch carefully and you will see lots of
interesting interactions between various sexes, ages and families. Be
sure to listen too. Prairie dogs are said to have as many as 11
different calls or sounds that they use to communicate. They have a
complex series of warning sounds and have different calls for each type
Prairie dogs spend much of their time below
ground and their tunnels can reach up to 14 feet in length. They
typically have separate rooms for sleeping, bathroom, a listening room
and several other rooms. The bare tunnel entrances are easy to spot and
the dogs will often be found close to the tunnel mouth.
Prairie Dog State Park is a great place to stop and stretch your legs
if you are traveling on I90. Although the prairie dog town on this
hundred acre park is tiny compared to the hundred mile ling town in
Texas, this is a great place to get a close up view of the fascinating
world of the prairie dog.
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