Just a mere 12-minute drive from the hotel is the Four Dances Trailhead. This pretty natural area on the banks of the Yellowstone River is the perfect place to stretch your legs for a few minutes and soak in some Big Sky Country views. It's one of the best hikes near Billings, MT, and since it's so close to town, it's a must-see attraction.
FOUR DANCES OVERVIEW
Four Dances is a Special Recreation Managed Area. Through cooperative efforts, 765 acres remain undeveloped and preserved. The trailhead is just two miles outside of Billings, making it a quick and easy way to get out of town and enjoy nature.
FOUR DANCES GEOLOGY
The Yellowstone Valley has impressive geological features. This area was on the shore of the Western Interior Seaway around 80 million years ago. As the sea retreated, it left behind sand deposits, which compressed into Eagle Sandstone.
During the last million years, the Yellowstone River was carved through this sandstone to create canyon walls known as Billings Rimrocks or The Rims. Today's visitors can contemplate the massive forces that have made this unique area.
FOUR DANCES HISTORY AND NAME
Humans have used the Four Dances area for millennia. In the Pictograph Caves, five miles to the south, an 8,000-year-old stone tool was recovered.
The area was named after an important Chief of the Crow Nation. Chief Four Dances used this area to fast in the 1830s and received his name in a vision at this particular location.
Restrooms are available in the parking lot. Visitors can hike Four Dances in all seasons. In winter, the area is perfect for snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing.
The Four Dances area has several trail options. All routes take hikers on a fabulous journey through Montana's dramatic landscapes.
The Rim Loop is a one-and-a-half-mile loop that rewards hikers with great views of the Yellowstone River.
The Four Dances Trail is a three-mile loop. If desired, hikers can add the River Trail to the river before heading back to the main trail. The River Trail extension adds a half-mile total.
The trail is wide, well-maintained, and smooth. Kids can easily navigate the trail, and leashed dogs are welcome, making hiking Four Dances a family-friendly activity.
The Four Dances hiking trail first leads walkers through an open section. This open area can get very hot, so pay attention to the weather, bring lots of water, and hike early or late in the day on hot summer days.
Hikers will also see the well-known "Yegen Bros" writing displayed on the cliffs. This graffiti was used for advertising Peter Yegen's clothing store in the early 1900s. Remember to stay off the cliffs as they are unsafe.
The hike is located on a plateau edged with cliffs that drop between 200 and 500 feet to the river. This hike is perfect for wildlife watchers and photographers.
As you hike, keep an eye out for wildlife. The open grassland, cliffs, bluffs, and shoreline of the Yellowstone River are popular places for wildlife viewing. You might see moose, elk, deer, bears, or foxes. Falcons, including the fast Peregrine Falcon, use the cliffs as nesting habitat, and waterfowl are often seen in the river.
On the Upper Loop, visitors can walk .25 miles to the Upper Junction, .30 miles to Four Dance Junction, and .35 miles to the Overlook.
ENJOY THE BEST HIKES NEAR BILLINGS MT
The Billings area has a lot to offer. Hiking the Four Dances area is a family-friendly way to stretch your legs, watch wildlife, and enjoy nature. This all-around enjoyable trail is one of the best hikes near Billings, MT. If all that hiking has made you thirsty, check out breweries in Billings, MT.