Sweet Grass Hills

The Sweet Grass Hills have been a prominent landmark of northern Montana since the buffalo days. They rise nearly 3000 feet above the surrounding prairie and are visible for miles. The “Hills” were created by an igneous intrusion through older sedimentary rocks during the Eocene, about 50 million years ago. The Hills average 18-20 inches of annual precipitation or about double what falls on the surrounding prairie. This provides an island of mountainous, forested habitat for elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer and a few moose.

The Sweet Grass Hills produced minor amounts of gold and silver as well as other minerals in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Federal minerals in the Hills are now withdrawn from mineral entry to protect other resource values. Several American Indian Tribes have spiritual and historic associations with the Sweet Grass Hills and they have been determined eligible to the National Register of Historic Places.

Please respect this historic legacy by preventing disturbance and reporting vandalism to this special place.

Camping on undeveloped BLM-administered lands

  • Camping is limited to 16 consecutive days at any one location
  • Use only certified weed-free forage
  • Pack out all refuse unless trash cans are provided
  • Dispose of sewage and petroleum products properly
  • All vehicles, including OHVs, must stay on roads and trails
  • Use only down and dead firewood for campfires

Adventure is at Your Fingertips

Geographic Coordinates

48.847222, -111.375278


Public access is available on the north side of East Butte. From US HWY 2, about 2 miles west of Chester, turn north onto Whitlash Road. In Whitlash, turn east onto Black Jack Road, in about 9 miles turn right (south) and park on public lands marked by a sign at the base of the Butte. It is a steep, but beautiful walk from this point.