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The Montana Triangle: Three Forks, Three Parks

There are interesting forces at work in the "Montana Triangle." No unexplainable disappearances or strange forces quieting, radios, but there's a magnetism created by a unique concentration of history, culture, geography and geology in this small section of southwestern Montana.

The "Montana Triangle" is a trio of state parks within a 20-mile radius of the Three Forks community. Headwaters State Park, just north of town, marks the beginning of the 2,700 mile long Missouri River. In 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition camped near this site and named the Madison, Jefferson and Gallatin rivers which join here to form the Missouri. The park offers interpretive sites, trails, fishing access, developed picnic grounds and camping facilities.

Just to the west of Three Forks is the Madison Buffalo Jump State Park. This Madison River Valley cliff has 4,000 years of documented use as a bison kill site by a variety of Plains Indian tribes. Primitive trails take you on top the promitory, past tepee rings and ancient villages, for a grand view of the surrounding landscape. Interpretive displays illustrate the central role of bison in tribal culture and how the bison kill site was used.

To the west is Montana's first, and most unique, state park. The Lewis and Clark Caverns provides public access to an extensive limestone cave system along with hiking, fishing, camping and log cabin accommodations on about 2,900 acres of mountain and riverside landscape. April through October and again and again during the Christmas holiday, park staff provide guided tours through the cavern's dramatic chambers on a two-mile developed pathway. A visitors center provides information about the caverns and the park's 45-site campground and three log cabin rental facilities.

Give in to the attraction of the Montana Triangle. Visit these and other Montana State Parks.