Carter County Museum
Photo courtesy: Shirley White
Photo courtesy: Medicine Rocks State Park
Photo courtesy: Carter County Chamber
Ekalaka is named for Ijkalaka, the Ogallala Sioux niece of Chief Red Cloud and the bride of David Russell, who opened a store and saloon there in 1885. A trade center for cattle and sheep ranchers, the town became the county seat of Carter County in 1917 and reached its peak population of 400 a few years later.(Copyright 2009, Montana Historical Society: Montana Place Names from Alzada to Zortman, Montana Historical Society Research Center Staff)
Though small, the community meets the needs of the traveler with two motels, a campground with hook-ups, several restaurants, a grocery store, service station, and a collection of main street businesses and two city parks.
Ekalaka is the home to one of the most significant local museums in Montana. Carter County Museum, founded in 1936, holds the distinct honor of being the first county museum founded in the State of Montana. This museum houses some of the finest paleontological discoveries in the United States as well as numerous artifacts depicting the lives of Native Americans and the early settlers of Carter County. The town is one of the stops on the Montana Dinosaur Trail.
Nearby Medicine Rocks State Park was once a place of "big medicine," where Indian hunting parties conjured up magical spirits. Wind and water have sculptured soft sandstone into beautiful and unusual forms.
Chalk Buttes, Long Pines, and Ekalaka Hills near Ekalaka are Custer National Forest lands that provide excellent hunting for mule deer, whitetail deer, and wild turkeys. Long Pines is noted for the Capitol Rock National Natural Landmark. This area is known for having a very high density of nesting raptors.