Sundance Lodge was a working ranch before the BLM aquired it in 1997. The Nature Conservancy
, the Yellowstone Chapter of Pheasants Forever
, and the BLM combined efforts to acquire the land. It is now designated a Special Recreation Management Area and its purpose is to provide a dispersed recreation experience near the communities of Laurel and Billings, ensure public access to the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone, and protect wildlife habitat.
Based on historical research, Laurel High School students recommended the name of this site. According to the research, the historical Crow name for the Clarks Fork River is Ashkisshipouoo, translated as "Where the Sun Dance Lodge was run over.” This refers to an incident in which an abandoned sun dance lodge was run over by a herd of buffalo.
Activities: Wildlife watching, environmental education, photography, hiking, biking, and horseback riding on designated roads and trails. Archery hunting and limited shotgun hunting is available through a Block Management Program with The Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks. Day use only is allowed. Overnight camping is only allowed for special events approved by the BLM. Motorized vehicle use is not allowed.
Location/Access: The area is located near the confluence of the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone and the Yellowstone River. There are about 380 acres of river bottom intermingled with the irrigated hay lands. From Laurel, Montana,, take Highway 212 (the road to Red Lodge) over the Yellowstone River. About ¼ mile past the bridge, turn east (left) onto Thiel Road. Drive down Thiel Road 1.3 miles to the parking area.
Season/Hours: Open year-round, day use only.
Billings Field Office
5001 Southgate Drive
Billings, MT 59101