One of the most notable features of the Billings area is the Yellowstone River. This wild and majestic river flows out of the mountains in Yellowstone National Park and through the farmlands of eastern Montana. Billings, and many other towns, were built on its shores.
Much of the river is surrounded by lush landscapes and beautiful scenery. You can't fully appreciate this part of Montana without spending at least a little time there. Whether you plan a day trip to Pompeys Pillar National Monument or just a lazy day by the water, the Yellowstone should be on your must-see list.
THE MIGHTY YELLOWSTONE RIVER
The Yellowstone River is one of our area's premier natural resources. The Yellowstone is the last river that is entirely free-flowing in the Lower 48. No other river in the country has no dams and is allowed to flow untamed--as nature intended.
From its headwaters at Yellowstone Lake, the river flows 670 miles to the Missouri River. It passes through Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota.
Along its route, Yellowstone changes dramatically. It starts in the west, with steep-walled canyons and churning whitewater. As it progresses east, the terrain levels out, and the river broadens. It then winds a lazy path through farm country and flows on into North Dakota.
TOP THINGS TO DO -- DAY TRIP TO THE YELLOWSTONE RIVER
The mighty Yellowstone is a must-see sight when you're traveling to Billings. The river flows right through town and provides ample recreation opportunities.
Yellowstone is world-renowned for fly-fishing and colossal trout.
If you're new to fly fishing and want to hire a guide, head out to Stillwater Anglers in Columbus. You'll enjoy a guided fly fishing float with an experienced guide who can show you all the hottest spots and best techniques.
RAFTING AND KAYAKING
Suppose you're looking for whitewater thrills on the Yellowstone, head west of Billings. As the river meanders its way out of the mountains, there are numerous spots where the action gets intense.
If you're looking for a commercial rafting trip, look no further than Adventure Whitewater, located just west of Billings in Absarokee. They do half-day rafting trips, paddle boat rentals, horseback riding, and even fly fishing trips.
PICNICKING AND SIGHTSEEING
Of course, one of the best things about the beautiful Yellowstone is just finding a quiet place to enjoy the peaceful scenery. Here in Billings, you'll want to head down to Riverfront Park. The pretty park lies right on the river's shore at the base of the Billings Boulevard bridge. There are walking, hiking, and jogging trails, plus easy access to the river for fishing or floating.
NATURE AND PHOTOGRAPHY
Just across Billings Boulevard, you'll find the Montana Audubon Center. A bit quieter than the park across the street, the center has short trails around the river marshes spectacular for birding. Kids will love the hands-on exhibits. The center is open year-round.
Adjacent to the park on the river is Norm Schoenthal Island. There are even more trails on the island and access down to the river. If you're looking for a place to stretch your legs, get some fresh air, and see some lovely river vistas, this is it.
HOW TO SEE THE YELLOWSTONE
To the west of Billings, Interstate I-90 parallels the river. To the east, Interstate I-94 does the same. By following these two thoroughfares to the numerous communities on the river’s shores, you can find infinite access points.
FLOAT, FISH, OR RELAX ON THE YELLOWSTONE
No matter what time of year you visit, it's worth taking a quick trip down to the river. There's no better way to get away from it all--and to rejuvenate the spirit--like a day trip to the Yellowstone River.