Remember that when you leave this Earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, only what you have given, a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage. -St. Francis of Assisi

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Montana State Parks and Forest Service Campgrounds

The crazy schedule that I work in Cody -  2:00 - 10:30 - has affected my usual "morning person" routine. I no longer leave a campsite early in the morning. I left the KOA at the 11:00 am checkout time.

I decided to follow part of the self-guided tour loop that I printed from the internet and I also added a side trip to Chief Plenty Coups State Park.

The directions on the website and Google maps both stated that it was a 5 mile drive on the gravel Edgar/Pryor Road.  It actually ended up being 17 miles.  The road was in great condition and I enjoyed the drive through the countryside/ranch land.

My reward for traveling along this road, wondering if I should turn around, was the sighting of these beautiful horses.  Again, I was traveling through the "amber waves of grains".
I really like driving through the high prairie area east of the mountains.

There was no traffic on this gravel ranch road, so I just stopped along the side of the road just a few feet from these beautiful horses.  They were very interested in the RV - kept looking towards the back of it.

Montana and Wyoming skies were starting to get hazy from the smoke of wildfires west of here.

Chief Plenty Coups State Park

Situated within the Crow Indian Reservation in south-central Montana, 40 minutes south of Billings, this day-use park preserves the log home, sacred spring, and farmstead of Chief Plenty Coups. This state park is a National Historic Landmark.

Plenty Coups (Aleek-chea-ahoosh, meaning "many achievements") was a man of war - and then a man of peace - whose vision has helped bridge a gap between two cultures. Recognized for his bravery and leadership, he was made a chief of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe by age 28.

When Plenty Coups gave up his nomadic ways in 1884, he became one of the first Apsáalooke to own and settle on a farm, which was deeded to him through the federal Indian Allotment Act. On his 320-acre tract, located a half mile east of Pryor, he opened a general store, built a home, and tilled the earth until his death in 1932 at age 84.

At that time, as requested by Plenty Coups and his wife, Strikes the Iron, 195 acres of his land was made into a public park. Upon his death, the Apsáalooke people voted to designate him as their last traditional tribal chief.

Front door should always face "east" to greet the morning sun

It was getting late and I still had a long way to go to make it to Nye, MT and the Woodbine Campground in the Absaroka-Beartooth WIlderness. I headed toward I-90 and drove through the west end of Billings and toward Columbus where I would exit the interstate.  I stopped for fuel in Columbus and bought some salad and fruit at the well stocked convenience store (no cooking tonight) and headed toward Nye.
Columbus, MT has a really pretty city campground along the river and this would have been a good option for the night, also.

When I reached Absarokee the wind picked up and it started to rain. There was a RV park in town, but I really did not want to stay in a commercial RV park. I turned onto a side street and there was the post office with a large parking lot, I pulled in there to wait out the rain.  It was over in about 15 minutes and then I continued on to my destination.  

The drive west on Highway 419 is about 28 miles and the campground is at the end of the road. This is another beautiful drive through the hills and ranches. I have stayed at several forest service campgrounds this month and the sites are large and the scenery is beautiful.

The campsite fee was $17 regular price ($8.50 if you have a Golden Access Pass) - this campground does not have any water or electric hookups and does not have a dump station - but that doesn't really matter for a one night stay. Is it a bad thing to want to be 62 years old so that I can pay half price for my campsite, haha?  I added 56 miles to my trip to stay at this campground but it was well worth it over staying in a cramped site in a commercial RV park.  

Photos of Woodbine Forest Service Campground

Had to force myself to get up at leave at 8:30 am on Friday, as I had to start work at 2:00 and it was a 2 1/2 hour drive back to Cody.

I am now searching out more forest service campgrounds to visit.  I hope to stay at one or more on my trip to Colorado Springs in August. Sites can be reserved at but they charge a $9.00 service fee per reservation.  I took a gamble that there would be a site available at Woodbine and there were around 4 open sites when I arrived.  I also plan to stay at many of these sites when I leave Cody in September and head south toward more National Parks and federal lands. 


  1. On the day I turned 62, I made sure I visited a National Park so I could buy my senior pass!

  2. Yep - I got my pass on my 62nd birthday. Best birthday present ever. Those horses look beautiful. Do you know that in all the years I lived in Billings I never went out to Plenty Coups State Park. Shameful.

  3. I turn 61 this year and I can't wait until I am 62 for that pass! we all want it! They should bring the age down to 60 in my opinion...

  4. I have my pass and it sure makes a difference. I got mine earlier because of a disability. Of course now I'm old.
    The horses are just beautiful. And you parking space was the best.

  5. When I take a long trip, a friend travels with me. We like the same areas of travel and hiking. The other perk is that I have had my Golden Age Pass for over 10 years and we split the cost ~ brings 1/2 to 1/4. Yeah.
    Enjoyed your travels. I love the Pryor area and have friends on the Crow Reservation. I have been fortunate enough to see them during special times on the reservation and in Cody.

  6. You are really taking advantage of the area. We love the Natl Forest CGs too! Enjoy the rest of your summer!


Hi, I welcome your thoughts and comments.

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