1523 14th St. West, Ste. 2
Billings, MT 59102

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 23535
Billings, MT 59104

Things to Do at the Pillar

Observe the last physical evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1803 – 1806) at Pompeys Pillar National Monument by visiting the place where Captain William Clark etched his name in a rock, he named Pomp’s Tower, on July 25th 1806.

Follow the Riverwalk from the parking lot to the Interpretive Center.

Visit the Pompeys Pillar National Monument Interpretive Center. The Pompeys Pillar Interpretive Center opened in 2006 to coincide with the Bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Exhibits in the 5,700-square foot center cover the Yellowstone River Valley journey of Captain William Clark and his detachment, including Sacagawea and her son Pomp in 1806. The center also focuses on native culture, flora and fauna, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and the history of Pompeys Pillar.

Climb the boardwalk to the top of Pompeys Pillar and enjoy the view that captured Captain Clark’s imagination on that July day over two centuries ago. In Clark’s own words, “…at 4 P.M. arrived at a remarkable rock Situated in an extensive bottom on the Start. Side of the river & 250 paces from it. This rock I ascended and from it’s top had a most extensive view in every direction. This rock which I shall Call Pompy’s Tower is 200 feet high and 400 paces in secumphrance….”

Enjoy bird watching at Pompeys Pillar.  The riparian areas, dominated by Cottonwood and Willow along the Yellowstone, are great habitat for warblers, vireos, tanagers, kingbirds, and other passerines.  Great Horned owls as well as Bald Eagles and Osprey all nest either on site or nearby.  The prairie to the south provides great habitat for falcons, sparrows, pheasant, and a variety of other species.

Enjoy the geological features of the Monument site. The Pillar and the cliffs across the river are composed of sandstones and shales. Although no animal or plant fossils have been documented at Pompeys Pillar, significant fossils have been found in similar sandstone beds nearby.

Directly north of the Pillar is a viewing area of the Yellowstone River, to which both trails and sidewalks lead. The Yellowstone River meanders and is the longest free-flowing river in the lower 48 states and provides rich, fertile farmland and habitat for many wildlife and bird species. The riparian areas along the river contain several cottonwood community types. Many standing cottonwood trees within the flood plain are estimated to be more than 100 years old.

Take a tour of Pompeys Pillar National Monument. Each day, 2-3 interpretive walks are led by a volunteer or Monument Rangers during our open season of May – September.  Talks may cover Clark’s visit, the Native American history, native plants, geology, and other topics.

Visit the Pompeys Pillar Interpretive Center and Gift Store.  Both offer visitors the opportunity to learn about the site’s cultural and natural history as well as the opportunity to take a memento home with you. The Store also features a good selection of books, maps and information about the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Clark’s journey down the Yellowstone, as well as local history is displayed throughout the center.  There is a short movie “About the Expedition”.  The Interpretive Center is open 9:00am to 6:00pm May-September.

Finally, for those who love a good picnic, there are tables set up throughout the monument.  You are also more than welcome to place a blanket on the ground, or in one of our tipis, and have your lunch.  The picnic tables are up year round, so even if the Interpretive Center is closed, folks are still more than welcome to come in and use the area.