Making A Day Of It: Missouri Headwaters State Park


If you are looking for fun things to do around Bozeman on your visit, don't miss the Missouri Headwaters State Park in Three Forks. It is rich in history and robust in recreation. For those in the know, this understated park is a favorite and offers a lot of historical importance for those interested in the Lewis and Clark expedition. 

What’s all the hype?

Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery arrived at the confluence of the Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin Rivers, on July 25, 1805. These three rivers, named after the president and two of his cabinet members, join to form the Missouri River, the longest river in the U.S., spanning 2,341 miles.

Located in what was the heart of Shoshone American Indian country, this site is where Sacajawea was captured by the Hiatsa tribe as a child. She was later reunited with her tribe when she returned as a translator with the Corps of Discovery.

Visitors wanting to delve deeper into the history will find interpretive signage and walking trails reaching points of interest. In the warm months, Headwaters hosts a Summer Speaker Series every Saturday at 7 pm in the picnic area. Learn more about the history of the area, followed by a good old-fashion marshmallow roast.

For the kiddos ages 7-10, the Lewis and Clark Discovery Club takes place every Saturday morning throughout the summer. Watch for the 2017 schedule coming this June.

Tell me more

History aside, the recreation is worth the trip. Bring your bikes, fishing rods, and a picnic, and you’ll be set for the day. The trail system is alone is impressive. Bikers can utilize 8 miles of paved bike paths and can connect with other trails in the neighboring town of Three Forks. For those wanting a longer ride, weave around the ponds and through town to reach open roads with few cars.

Walking trails wind along both the Gallatin and Missouri Rivers. The terrain is accessible for any level and dogs are welcome! For the birdwatchers, over 100 species have been identified in the area.

Fishing along the Missouri is great for both fly rods and spinning reels. Or, check out Three Forks Ponds, a day use site, which is the perfect place to learn the sport. Boating, canoeing, and kayaking are popular on both the river and the ponds.

The park is a delightful camping spot with spaces for both tents and RV’s. For an authentic western experience, a tipi is available for rent.

Anything else?

The town of Three Forks shouldn’t be bypassed. Headwaters Golf Course has six water features, and with multiple tee boxes the course is great for novice players and challenging for the more experienced in your group.

End your day at one of the restaurants or watering holes, such as the historic Sacajawea Inn where you’ll find both casual and fine dining. Or simply sit on their grand porch and enjoy a cold beverage.

Open year round, Missouri Headwaters State Park can be a quiet stop on your vacation or a perfect day trip for those spending more time in the area.



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