No trip to Montana can be complete without a visit to Billings. The biggest city in the state, Billings is home to around 110,000 people, with 170,000 in the full metropolitan area. This city is located in Yellowstone County and initially began life as a small railroad town when founded in 1882 but very rapidly developed into a major cultural, economic, and industrial hub for the state, earning the nickname of 'Magic City' due to its swift growth and development. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


1.Overview

Overview
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Billings is the only city in all of Montana to have a population in excess of 100,000 and is still one of the fastest growing cities not just in the state, but in all of the United States. It's a very popular touristic city due to its prime location very close to many big parks and natural landmarks, as well as being the home to some fun attractions like the Yellowstone Art Museum and Zoo Montana. Local points and areas of interest around Billings, MT include Chief Plenty Coups State Park, Pictograph Cave, Pompey's Pillar, and more.

The likes of Yellowstone National Park, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Red Lodge Mountain Resort, and Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area are also situated relatively close to Billings, making it a super city for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers looking to enjoy some outdoor activities like hiking, climbing, biking, camping, and kayaking.

One of the best ways to visit Billings is in an RV as the local area simply has so much to offer, and there are several highly rated RV parks and campgrounds in the surrounding Billings area to make your stay in Montana's biggest city as enjoyable as it can possibly be. Read on to learn all about the very best RV parks in Billings, MT and choose the best location for your next camping trip in this location.

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2.Billings KOA Holiday

Billings KOA Holiday
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When you choose an RV park, you want a location you can trust. There are plenty of great independent RV parks out there, but some aren't quite as enjoyable to stay at, so it can be a good idea to choose a branded chain of RV parks that has built its way up as one of the top names in the business. That's exactly what KOA (Kampgrounds of America) has done. With hundreds of locations, including one right in the heart of Billings, MT, KOA has established itself as a leading provider of top quality RV parks. The Billings KOA Holiday is a great example of why KOA Is such a beloved name in the RV world.

This park, which is open from April to the end of October of each year, has earned a very impressive 4.5 star rating from hundreds of past guests and actually holds the unique distinction of being the first ever KOA location. Right on the banks of the Yellowstone River, this RV park has a huge list of amazing amenities to go along with its extremely large RV sites. The sites can measure up to 100 feet in length and come with all the standard full hook-up services, as well as complimentary cable TV and Wi-Fi. On-site amenities here include a snack bar, communal kitchen, bike rentals, firewood sales, a hot tub, a seasonal swimming pool, fishing areas, a mini golf course, restrooms, showers, and more.

547 Garden Ave, Billings, MT 59101, Phone: 406-252-3104

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3.Billings Village RV Park

Billings Village RV Park
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One of the top rated RV parks in all of Billings, MT, the Billings Village RV Park has received a lot of very positive reviews from past guests, with many people returning to this RV park for repeat visits due to its cleanliness and excellent standards of service. It can also boast of a great location, offering a quiet little oasis right in the heart of the city, only minutes away from some of the top parks, restaurants, and attractions of Billings.

Billings Village RV Park is open all year long and features a total of 75 individual full hook-up RV spaces that can suit recreational vehicles of all shapes and sizes. The rates at this Billings MT RV park are very affordable and the park itself has been privately owned and operated for over four decades now, so has stood the test of time and only gotten better as the years have gone by. The on-site amenities here include very clean restrooms, private showers, lots of laundry machines, a play area for young children, reliable wireless internet, complimentary cable TV channels, a bike trail, a book exchange program, and more.

325 S Billings Blvd, Billings, MT 59101, Phone: 406-248-8685

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4.Yellowstone River RV Park & Campground

Yellowstone River RV Park & Campground
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One of the primary reasons people visit Billings, MT, is to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the natural surroundings and the iconic Yellowstone River, and you can be situated just a couple of minutes away from the rushing waters of that river if you choose to stay at Yellowstone River RV Park & Campground. Conveniently situated right by Mystic Park for all sorts of outdoor activities, while also being nicely located for trips into Downtown Billings, this RV park is in a great spot, not too far from the Billings KOA location.

Yellowstone River RV Park & Campground is a family owned and operated location, so you can be sure of a warm welcome and friendly service at all times, with a very family-oriented vibe being enjoyed throughout this spacious RV park. Both back-in and pull-thru RV sites are found at this RV park, which also comes with a long list of features and facilities including a gift shop, a pavilion that can be rented out for parties and special occasions, paved roads, a general store, a spa, a swimming pool, wireless internet access, lots of grassy areas, a nature trail, a video game arcade, laundry machines, a play area for little ones, multiple dog parks, a basketball court, and RV supply sales.

309 Garden Ave, Billings, MT 59101, Phone: 406-259-0878

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3 Best RV Parks & Campgrounds in Billings, MT



Attraction Spotlight: DanWalt Gardens

The DanWalt Gardens in Billings, Montana was first started with the purpose of being a backyard garden. Over time, the gardens have drawn loads of excitement due to its beautiful landscaping and the array of plants not seen very often in this region of the United States. After numerous friends and visitors requesting events to be held at the stunning and colorful gardens, the owners of the gardens were able to expand the grounds and their services offered by purchasing another property. Today, DanWalt Gardens comprises of three acres, and includes an event center that accommodates one hundred guests inside and around seventy guests in outdoor seating. The many diverse gardens consist of different areas and feature a variety of themes.

An expansive selection of perennials can be seen at the DanWalt Gardens. These plants are zone particularly for the climate of Billings, Montana and provide the gardens with vibrant colors. In the beginning of June, beautiful irises create a stunning colorful garden. From August to September, hardy hibiscus transform the garden to a new, multi-colored flower wonderland. Hanging baskets and thousands of annuals adorn the grounds of DanWalt Gardens as well.

In addition to providing beautiful gardens for visitors to explore and enjoy as they stroll around the grounds, DanWalt Gardens hosts many special events. A reception hall with a kitchen measuring forty feet by sixty feet is available to the public for rent. During the summer months, weddings take place on every Saturday at the gardens. The gardens and reception hall can also be rented for fundraisers, as well as other events and occasions such as family gatherings, reunions, and business events.

A stunning Memorial Rose Garden can also be found at DanWalt Gardens, where visitors can buy a rose to be planted in honor of a loved one. The gardens also offer several educational programs and workshops for the public. During the month of May, science workshops are available for children of all ages. Luncheons and seasonal tours are also provided throughout the years for visitors to the gardens.

In 1995, Dan Jellison and Walt Williams opened their property of beautiful gardens to the public. Their once private backyard garden has now grown into a main attraction in Billings, Montana. DanWalt Gardens, named by combining the first names of its owners, is now known for its sensory and botanical gardens. The owners are extremely friendly, and often take time from tending the grounds to talk to visitors or show them around the gardens.

These gardens have become a highly sought-after venue for events. The stunning grounds draw people to hold all kinds of events at the site, from weddings to birthdays to reunions to memorials and more. In addition to the many gardens throughout the property, the grounds also contain three houses. Two of these homes are guest houses, while the other is the main carriage house that once belonged to the grandparents of Dan Jellison.

720 Washington Street, Billings, Montana, Phone: 406-248-4003

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Attraction Spotlight: ZooMontana

Located in Billings, Montana, ZooMontana is a 70-acre animal refuge and is the state’s only botanical park, showcasing more than 58 animal species with an emphasis on native Montana wildlife. ZooMontana was established in 1982 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Montana’s native wildlife, with a specific emphasis on wildlife native to the Rocky Mountains and other regions at or above the 45th Parallel.

History

As the state’s only zoo facility accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, ZooMontana serves as a primary educational and recreational wildlife facility for the greater Rocky Mountains area. In addition to animal habitat facilities, the zoo also operates the Botanical Society at ZooMontana, which maintains botanical garden areas throughout the park and serves as a resource for botany and ecology education and conservation efforts.

Permanent Exhibits and Animals

Today, more than 80,000 annual visitors are hosted at the facility, which showcases more than 100 animals belonging to 58 species. ZooMontana’s animal exhibits are divided into two main geographical regions, focusing on animal species native to Asia and North America. Within the park’s Asian Exhibit, visitors can see red pandas, Sichuan takin, and Amur tigers in indoor and outdoor natural habitat areas. North American animals are divided into several exhibit areas, including a Rocky Mountain Adventure area highlighting Canada lynx, gray wolves, grizzly bears, and wolverines. An America’s Waterways exhibit is split by the Canyon Creek waterway, which runs through the center of the zoo facility and provides a natural park-like atmosphere. Bald eagles, North American beavers, and North American river otters are on view for visitors within the exhibit area, along with swan, emperor, and Arctic geese.

Within the zoo’s Homestead Barn exhibit area, visitors can interact with domesticated farm animals, including pygmy goats, Belgian draft horses, turkey vultures, and domestic rabbits, on the grounds of traditional farm buildings. The zoo’s Discovery Center also features Living Wall habitat areas for insects and small animals from Africa, South America, and other international habitats. A variety of snake species are showcased, including ball pythons, red-tailed boa constrictors, and rubber boas. Other animals on display include Madagascar hissing cockroaches, tiger salamanders, box turtles, chinchillas, and western screech owls.

A 40,000-square-foot Sensory Garden is also operated inside the zoo facility, overseen by the Botanical Society at ZooMontana. The Sensory Garden was created in 1991 by Botanical Society committee chair Jane Reger, who wished to create a botanical garden facility with accessibility features for all zoo visitors, including those with disabilities. The garden common area showcases perennial flower beds in landscaped formations alongside mature trees and bushes. Two fountains are located at both ends of the garden commons, including a waterfall fountain at its western end with a shaded arbor providing comfortable views. Visitors may touch all flowers and water areas and may use the garden’s benches for quiet reflection or bring blankets to relax on the common area’s main lawn.

In addition to the zoo’s main animal habitats and gardens, a Koi Pond is located behind the Homestead House, with fish food offered for a nominal fee. A children’s playground and covered picnic shelter are located near the zoo’s entrance, though no on-site dining options are offered. The Grizzly Gifts and Otter Stuff gift shop offers plush toys, postcards, and animal-themed souvenirs, and strollers and wheelchairs may be rented at the zoo’s front gate.

Ongoing Programs and Education

Guided and self-guided tours are offered for elementary and secondary students, tailored to Montana curriculum standards. 30 to 45-minute edZOOcate educational programs are also offered at the park’s amphitheater for school groups, accommodating up to 150 participants and allowing time for question and answer sessions with zoo staff. Materials for self-guided zoo scavenger hunts may also be picked up from the zoo’s front gate, and a Junior Zookeeper program allows young visitors to receive participation badges and certificates in exchange for completion of zoo activities and exercises. Videoconferencing programs are offered for in-classroom distance learning opportunities, and programming for homeschool students is offered periodically throughout the year. Zoo trunks are also available for in-classroom rental.

ZooMontana offers kindergarten prep classes for children ages 3-5 through its ZooSchool Preschool program, open to all zoo members. A monthly ZooTots activity group highlights a different animal each month with up-close encounters and craft activities. Breakfast with the Animals events offer experiences with Education Ambassador animals, and a variety of summer and afterschool camp programs use art projects and activities to teach about native Montana wildlife. Adult art classes are also offered periodically.

2100 Shiloh Road, Billings, MT 59106, Phone: 406-652-8100

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Attraction Spotlight: The Pryor Mountains

Located in Montana, just south of the Wyoming border, The Pryor Mountains are one of the most geologically unique landscapes in the United States. Comprised of many habitats from alpine prairie to arid desert, riparian woodland, and limestone canyons, these mountains remain a nature lover’s haven.

Cultural History

The Pryor Mountains has been home to human occupation for more than 10,000 years according to archaeological evidence. Native Americans consider the mountains to be sacred and the Crow people continue their use of the mountains as sacred lands to this day.

Europeans did not begin their usage of the mountains until just over 200 years ago, when trappers and explorers beginning with the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1805 passed through the mountains. The Pryor Mountains got their current name from Sergeant Nathaniel Pryor, a member of that expedition. Soon after, thousands of people began using the Bozeman trail to travel through the Pryors in the 1860’s.

The Pryor Mountains were also the site of many homesteads in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Many remnants of these properties are still intact in the mountains. There are also many archaeological sites in the mountains that are protected by federal and local laws which are heavily enforced. Many cameras are in the area that are activated by movement and record.

Natural History

The landscape of The Pryor Mountains is unique in Montana and created an island in the middle of vast prairie that was formed from the erosion of limestone rather than glacier carved granite as most of the nearby mountain ranges in the area were. The sub-alpine prairie plateaus peak at nearly 9,000 feet elevation on the south and west slopes while the north and east drop thousands of feet into arid desert landscape.

Within 10 miles the landscape changes from a desert climate with less than 5 inches of rain per year to lush forests of douglas fir trees and subalpine meadows with habitats that include sagebrush, woodlands, and over 1,000 species of plants, many of which are rare and endangered. 40% of the plant species that grow in the state can be found in The Pryor Mountains, including Pryor Mountain Bladderpod which is only found in the Pryors.

The Pryor Mountains are also home to a plethora of wildlife from bighorn sheep, black bear, butterflies, birds, mountain lions, predatory birds such as peregrine falcons and eagles, and ten different bat species. There are over 200 different species of animals that Audubon groups venture into catalogue every year including the pure strains of Yellowstone cutthroat trout. There are 5 known species of snakes that have been identified in the mountains—Bull snake, garter snake, rattlesnake, eastern racer, and milk snake.

In the spring into early fall the landscape becomes a colorful oasis of wildflowers such as pink bitterroot, purple shooting stars, dark blue larkspur, a variety of paintbrushes, lilies, yucca, penstemon, phlox, forget-me-nots, asters, and many others.

Most areas of The Pryor Mountains are open to the public. Areas that are not, such as those under archaeological or geological survey will be visibly noted with signage and/or fencing. Cameras and law enforcement strictly enforce the regulations for visitors accessing and using the mountains for camping and hiking.

Pryor Mountain Road Driving Tour- the primary motorized access into Pryor Mountains on the North side is through a scenic drive that takes visitors through Pryor Mountain Road and the only developed areas of the mountain—Sage Creek Campground and Big Ice Cave Picnic Area. There are caves and trails also accessible from different points on this road which is also signed as Route #2308. Visitors should be aware that this is not an all weather road and is mostly gravel and can be quite rough and sometimes muddy. SUVs are the preferred vehicle to travel this path.

Hiking- Most of the public land in The Pryor Mountains is accessible through Custer National Forest. Unfortunately, there are no signed trailheads or marked trails; however, the Pryors Coalition has provided detailed hiking guides through their website to help navigate the many trails with both driving and hiking directions through the mountains. Many of the hikes are several miles long and offer amazing views of the many ecological habits, archaeological sites and Crow Reservation.

Camping- The only developed campground is the USFS Sage Creek Campground on the North Side. There are 10 campsites with two toilets and drinking water. Primitive camping is allowed as long as you follow no-trace regulations. Backpacking is allowed, but be aware, water is scarce in many areas of the mountains.

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