Missouri Headwaters

People canoe at the headwaters of the Missouri River in this file photo.

Support Local Journalism


As businesses, churches and Yellowstone National Park close to the public, Montana’s state parks remain open.

Although all visitor centers in the parks have closed in accordance with social-distancing guidelines, the outdoor spaces themselves are open to those wishing to take a hike or just wanting a breath of fresh air.

According to a Montana State Parks Facebook post, other Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks recreation areas are also open, like fishing access sites.

There are a number of state parks near Bozeman.

The 532-acre Missouri Headwaters State Park near Three Forks offers scenic views of where the Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin rivers merge. It’s also a historic landmark where the Lewis and Clark expedition once traveled.

The park has three campsites available now for a fee and more are slated to open on April 1. According to a message recorded on the park’s voicemail, public restrooms may not open due to a lack of sanitary supplies.

Madison Buffalo Jump State Park also near Three Forks is open for day-use. The site that was once used by Native Americans to hunt bison overlooks the Madison River. Interpretive displays are visible to help visitors understand the site’s history.

Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park near Whitehall is not open for summer tours until May 1, although hiking and mountain biking around the area is possible.

It’s not clear yet if public health concerns will affect that opening date.

Unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic, Smith River State Park is temporarily closed to all floating between Camp Baker and Eden Bridge due to excessive ice making it impassable, according to a news release. Boat camps are also covered in snow and ice, making for hazardous conditions.

Up to date information on state parks and the Smith River closure can be found stateparks.mt.gov.

Support Local Journalism

To see what else is happening in Gallatin County subscribe to the online paper.

Shaylee Ragar can be reached at sragar@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2607.