Steeped in history and surrounded by mile after mile of beautiful landscape, Fort Benton is a wonderful destination for a weekend break. The town has often been nominated as one of the prettiest small towns in the US and has something to offer everyone. The Fort Benton Historic District is lined with interesting old buildings like the Grand Union Hotel (1882), the Bank of Northern Montana and the Masonic Lodge. There are several museums which tell the exciting history of the steamboat era and the 1880’s Gold Rush. Close by, you can go canoeing or floating down the Missouri River to see the famous White Cliffs in the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


1.Missouri Breaks National Monument Interpretive Center

Missouri Breaks National Monument Interpretive Center
© Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail

The Missouri Breaks Interpretive Center welcomes visitors who would like to expand their knowledge about Fort Benton and learn about American Western Frontier history in Montana. The monument is just one of a collection of museums and research facilities in Fort Benton which tell the fascinating story of the pioneer days along the Missouri River. As you make your way through the museums you will learn about the early fur traders, the boom of the steamboat era, the Montana gold rush and the somewhat difficult living conditions of the early Montana settlers. You should anticipate spending at least 90 minutes at the monument and a good 2 days to see all the museums in the Museums and Heritage Complex.

Missouri Breaks National Monument, 701 7th Street, Fort Benton, MT 59442, Phone: 406-622-5316

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2.White Cliffs, Fort Benton, Montana

White Cliffs, Fort Benton, Montana
© Iliya Mitskavets/stock.adobe.com


You will find the famous White Cliffs in the spectacular Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, which encompasses 149 miles of the Upper Missouri River. The White Cliffs are located along the famous Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, where they rise dramatically to a height of up to 300 feet above the river banks. Over the years, the constantly moving water has carved dramatic rock formations into the soft limestone cliffs. The popular recreational area attracts many nature lovers who come to canoe or float on the river, fish, hunt and enjoy the outstanding landscape from the water. Many adventurers explore the length of this scenic area by canoe over 2-3 days, enjoying primitive camping along the way.

White Cliffs, Fort Benton, MT 59442

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3.Shep Memorial, Fort Benton, MT

Shep Memorial, Fort Benton, MT
© gnagel/stock.adobe.com

Your visit to Fort Benson would be incomplete without taking a few minutes to visit the Shep Memorial, which honors the faithfulness of Man’s Best Friend. As the story goes, in 1936 a sick shepherd made his way to the St. Clare Hospital in Fort Benton, followed by his faithful dog. When the man died his body was sent home to relatives by train, and his long-time companion was left behind in Fort Benson. For years afterwards the dog lived by the station, where he met each and every train hoping for the return of his master. To honor such unflagging loyalty the residents of Fort Benton had a statue made which now stands in a prominent position, surrounded by memorial bricks which people place in remembrance of a pet or loved one.

Shep Memorial, Shepherd’s Court, Fort Benson, MT 59442

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4.The I.G. Baker Home, Fort Benton, Montana

The I.G. Baker Home, Fort Benton, Montana
© The I.G. Baker Home


Built in 1867, the I.G. Baker House was home to the owner of Montana’s largest mercantile company. When Mr. Baker originally built a home for his family the structure consisted of two adobe rooms covered by a sod roof. A large fireplace kept the Montana winter chills at bay and in the years which followed an additional two rooms were added to the rear of the building and the sod roof was replaced by iron. Later, the outside of the house was covered with clapboard and a front portico was added. Visiting the Baker Home, which is furnished with period pieces, gives visitors valuable insight into the life and times of early Fort Benton residents.

The I.G. Baker Home, 1604 Front St, Fort Benton, MT 59442

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5.Historic Landmark District, Fort Benton, MT

Historic Landmark District, Fort Benton, MT
© Historic Landmark District


Fort Benton’s Historic Landmark District is probably the best place for visitors to start uncovering the interesting history of this frontier town. As you make your way along the Steamboat Levee Walk, which follows curve of the river from 7th Street to 18th Street, you can follow interpretive signs which tell the exciting history of one of the wildest of the Wild West gold rush towns, back in the 1800’s. The walk is lined with historic buildings including the original old fort, the Museum of the Upper Missouri, a replica keelboat and many statues and memorials. The landmark Old Fort Benton Bridge is clearly visible from the walk and you can also visit Fort Benton’s first firehouse to see an original old hand pumper.

Historic Landmark District and Steamboat Levee Walk, Fort Benton, MT 59442

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6.St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Fort Benton, MT

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Fort Benton, MT
© St. Paul’s Episcopal Church


In 1881 St. Paul’s Episcopal Church was built in Fort Benton to serve the spiritual needs of the burgeoning community. The town had gradually changed from a rough-and-tough frontier-town to a respectable little city which was home to several cattle barons and their families. Prior to that time, church services had been held in an abandoned saloon and the local courthouse. It was time to have a permanent church and the community contributed to the building of the church. Today visitors can still attend Sunday services in the oldest continuously operating Episcopal Church in Montana. The church was built using local Benton soft bricks and is enhanced by several beautiful stained-glass windows.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1112 14th Street, Fort Benton, MT 59442, Phone: 406-622-5516

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6 Best Things to Do in Fort Benton, Montana



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