Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument
This national monument covers about 377,000 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.
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 an attraction 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.
Planning Your Visit
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.
Vast portions of the monument are serviced only by graveled and unimproved roads. Much of the monument is not accessible by any road, inviting visitors to explore on foot. Some of the roads are not suitable for low-clearance vehicles, and many roads cross soils that become absolutely impassable when wet. Off-road driving (cross-country travel) is not allowed in the monument.
Need a Map?
The "Breaks" begins at historic Fort Benton on U.S. Highway 87 and ends 149 miles later where the Robinson Bridge on U.S. Highway 191 crosses the Missouri River.