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Four Dances Trail

Easy/Intermediate

Trail

1.8 mile 2.9 kilometer out and back
Easy/Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 408' 124 m
Descent: -407' -124 m
High: 3,569' 1,088 m
Low: 3,205' 977 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 30% (17°)

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Trail shared by Amber Scott

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From the sweeping views of Billings to the hefty 400ft climb, this hike makes for a lovely, close-to-town outing.

Amber Scott

Features Birding · Geological Significance · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly The wide, smooth, well-maintained trails make this route easy for little ones to navigate. Make this an out-and-back of whatever length is appropriate for your family!

Overview

This route includes the highlights of Four Dances—the open and easy upper section, plus the descent to the river, complete with views of Billings and the historic "Yegen Bros" writing along the cliffs. But there's ample opportunity for additional exploration beyond the main roads and trails, especially to the south.

Need to Know

While the cliffs might look fun to climb on, please stay off them—they are unstable and unsafe!

Because it's open and exposed, be mindful of summer sun and heat, and consider hiking early or late in the day. This trail also tends to either be clear or packed in during the winter, but the bit heading down to the river can get messy and muddy so take care or avoid this section depending on the conditions.

Description

Head west out of town, and quickly turn south on Coburn Road at the interchange. Continue for 1.4 miles, then turn right on the dirt road opposite of Canyon Trail Road, and the trailhead will be on the north side of the road after 0.2 miles.

From the trailhead, hike along the main trail, heading back towards Billings and towards the bluffs. At the first major intersection, turn right and follow the most obvious path north (there will be other smaller, game trails intersecting here and there, but the main route is the widest and most obvious route). At the edge of the cliffs, there are views of the Yellowstone River, Billings, and the Beartooth Mountains in the distance.

Carefully follow the trail down a couple of rocky, loose switchbacks to the riverbank. Here, the trail dissipates—be mindful of the more fragile river ecosystems and perhaps keep the exploring to a minimum to minimize your impact on the area! Turn around and look for the "Yegen Bros." writing on the sandstone cliffs, a vestige of Peter Yegen's clothing and shoe store from the early 1900s. Then head back to the trailhead, either along the same route or take the time to wander some of the other trails crisscrossing Four Dances.

Flora & Fauna

Because Four Dances encompasses shoreline of the Yellowstone River, bluffs and cliffs, and open grassland, this is a common place to spot wildlife, including deer, elk, moose, bears, and foxes. It's also a great location for birding as the cliffs are perfect nesting habitat for falcons and the riverbanks are home to waterfowl.

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Contacts

Land Manager: BLM Montana/Dakotas

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  4.0 from 1 vote

#3712

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#76

in Montana

#3,712

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Photos

"Four Dances Natural Area 09" by Bureau of Land Management Montana and Dakotas (https://tinyurl.com/yz6ccj73), Flickr licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/).
Jan 8, 2020 near Billings, MT

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