The Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument (UMRBNM) covers about 375,000 acres of BLM-administered public land in central Montana. These lands hold a spectacular array of plant life, wildlife, unique geological features, endless recreational opportunities and significant historical and cultural values. The rugged landscape has retained much of its unspoiled character over the centuries and, as a result, offers outstanding opportunities for solitude and dispersed recreation. In some areas, the BLM lands are intermingled with State of Montana lands and private property. The monument designation applies only to the BLM-managed lands. Landowner permission is required prior to using private property for any activity. A permit is required for recreational use of state lands.
The 149-mile Upper Missouri National Wild and Scenic River flows through the monument. The land and the rugged, surrounding uplands (commonly call the Missouri Breaks) are defined in part by their history. The entire region was the homeland and lifeblood of American Indians. The river served as the pathway for Lewis and Clark, then the waterway for steamboats and a drawing card for fur trappers and traders. Later, the river and the Missouri Breaks were sanctuaries for desperados trying to stay a step ahead of the law. The land was also a source of hope and inspiration for several generations of homesteaders. Today the public lands in the monument make a significant contribution to the local lifestyle and the regional economy.
Within the monument you can float the river, fish, hike, hunt, drive for pleasure, find a little solitude, enjoy a sense of exploration or simply marvel at the variety of resources around you. If you cannot float the Upper Missouri or visit the backcountry, you'll still be able to experience the cultural and natural history of the monument at the Missouri Breaks Interpretive Center at 701 7th Street, Fort Benton, Montana. Winter hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday except for federal holidays. Summer hours (the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend through September 30) are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.
Visiting our parters page is another great way to learn more about the history and recreation opportunities within the monument.
Roads and Access
U.S. Highway 87 accesses the western portion of the monument at Fort Benton. On the eastern edge, U.S. Highway 191 crosses the monument (and the Missouri River) at the James Kipp Recreation Area. Montana Highway 236 provides access through the communities of Lewistown, Winifred and Big Sandy near the center of the monument. Between these three routes, vast portions of the monument are serviced only by graveled and unimproved roads. Some of these roads are not suitable for low clearance vehicles and many roads cross gumbo-type soils that become absolutely impassable when wet. Much of the monument is not accessible by any road, inviting visitors to explore on foot. Off-road driving (cross-country travel) is not allowed in the monument.
There are no motels, service stations or eateries in the interior of the monument. We encourage you to obtain supplies in the gateway communities on the perimeter of the monument. These communities offer information about special events, local history and other interests that can add to your experience. Before setting out, it's important to get a good map, listen to weather information and inform others of your travel plans.
For more information, contact either the:
|Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument|
920 Northeast Main
Lewistown, MT 59457
|Missouri Breaks Interpretive Center|
701 7th Street
P.O. Box 1389
Fort Benton, MT 59442
877-256-3252 (toll free)