Lost Lake/Dry Falls

When I was a kid, we lived in Highwood for a few years. I had no idea I was living 30 minutes from one of the coolest places I’ve seen in Montana.

The curved shonkinite walls of Dry Falls flank the west end of Lost Lake–remnants of what once was Montana’s own Niagra Falls (but bigger.) The history of this area’s features date back to more than one ice age. There’s a great write up here if you want more information.

Standing on the north cliffs, looking southwest

I found Lost Lake on Google Maps (of course,) so we all loaded up and drove out to see what the big deal was.

We ran into some Montana traffic along the way, but eventually made it to the make-shift sign reminding visitors that it is, in fact, private property. The sign also told us that we were hiking at our own risk.

We walked from the sign to the edge of the northern cliffs. I couldn’t believe I lived so close and never even knew this existed. Epic doesn’t even begin to describe this place. Imagining the vast amounts of water that used to cascade off the western edge, we explored (carefully–this is prime rattlesnake country,) for most of the afternoon. Aside from the rattlesnakes, there are hawks, rabbits, and other critters who call the rocks their home.

A lot of places in the US have history, and maybe I’m biased, but Montana seems to have some of the coolest history. Geological history, dinosaurs (see the Bynum post), ghost towns… Montana is full of it.

Looking southeast from the north cliffs

We finished up the day with ice cream in Fort Benton, because, why not?

If you make the trip out to Lost Lake, bring water, watch out for snakes, and be respectful of the rancher’s property. Also, you’re going to be driving on a lot of dirt/gravel roads, so it’s probably not a great idea to go after a heavy rain.

Update: Because it’s on private land, and people were trashing it, the landowner has now (understandably) prohibited public access. This is why we can’t have nice things.

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