The largest National Park in Montana is not Yellowstone, as 96% of Yellowstone is in Wyoming, 1% in Idaho, and the remaining 3% is in Montana.

If it is not Yellowstone, it has to be Glacier, right? Again, no.

If we are talking about visitation, those two are the top dogs by a wide, wide margin. Yellowstone shows 3.3 Million guests in 2022 and Glacier reported just under 3 Million visitors.

The largest National Park in Montana registered 150,484 guests a year ago. Any guess?

Makoshika State Park- photo credit

If you guessed Makoshika State Park, you are far smarter than I. Makoshika State Park was originally proposed as a Badlands National Park in 1938, by the Glendive Chamber of Commerce. After reviewing the initial proposal the National Park Service determined the location was not of national significance.

A year later in 1939, the site became a state park when Dawson County donated the initial 160 acres, southeast of Glendive, to the state of Montana for the park. From the initial 160 acres, the park has grown steadily over the span of six decades to cover some 11,538 acres today.

Makoshika comes from the Lakota phrase ‘Maco sica’ meaning bad land, or land of bad spirits. Makoshika is firmly rooted in the badlands of Montana. The park features a visitor center, scenic drives, trails, campgrounds, and picnicking facilities, as well as an archery center and amphitheater.

Makoshika State Park- photo credit

One of the park’s significant draws is the fossils that have been discovered in the park. Fossils discovered in the park include a Triceratops, and Thescelosaurus. The park’s visitor center houses a 600-pound juvenile female Triceratops skull that was unearthed in the park.

World-renowned paleontologists Jack Horner and Bob Harmon have led expeditions in the area, in 1997 they exhumed what is considered to be the largest and most complete skeleton of a thescelosaurus in existence.

So there is one to add to your bucket list, the largest National Park in Montana, Makoshika State Park, outside Glendive Montana.

You can learn more about the park, campground reservations, amenities, etc. on their FWP PAGE HERE.

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