On the Eastern side of Montana, in Terry, lies one of the state’s most underrated attractions: Terry Badlands Wilderness Study Area. Most people driving down the interstate bypass Terry altogether, but a stop in the badlands will give you the chance to experience one of the last truly undeveloped and wild places in the country.
The term “badlands” was coined by travelers who had a difficult time navigating their way through the rugged terrain, but the 44,000 acres of naturally formed arches, bridges, spires and tabletops make the area an extremely scenic place to stop. Many say that the Terry Badlands are more majestic than those of Theodore Roosevelt National Park across the state line in North Dakota, and they’re certainly less crowded.
You can access the badlands two ways: State Route 235 and Old Highway 10. The State Route will take you on a scenic drive to some expansive overlooks while Highway 10 will bring you to the beginning of the Calypso Trail where you can access the Wilderness.
In the spring Terry Badlands is host to wildflowers, abundant wildlife, hiking trails and is great for birdwatching. Just don’t visit after a heavy rainfall; you might find yourself stuck in the mud among the massive rock formations.
For more information on the Terry Badlands Wilderness Study Area and Southeast Montana, visit southeastmontana.com. Gas and accommodations can be found in Terry. To plan your trip, go to visitterrymt.com.