National Bison Range in Montana

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National Bison Range

Over a hundred years old and located in western Montana, a trip to the National Bison Range is sure to excite with picturesque views of bison herds roaming the prairie.

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  • Just an hour north of Missoula!
  • The National Bison Range is home to approximately 350 to 500 American bison.
  • Also home to mammals including elk, coyotes, pronghorn antelope and over 200 species of birds.
  • Scenic drives provide fantastic views of the wildlife and the Mission Mountains.

Overview

The National Bison Refuge, found in western Montana, is home to roughly 350-500 bison. Established over a hundred years ago in 1908, the bison range covers 18,500 acres of protected land.

Your visit to the National Bison Range won't leave you only musing over the bison. Over the years other species have discovered this open prairie and now live side by side with the bison. Don't be surprised to see elk, bighorn sheep, mule deer and some of the 200 bird species.

Because of the open grassland of the National Bison Refuge, bird watching and photo opportunities are abundant. If the skies are clear, don't miss the amazing views of the Mission Mountains.

Location/Information

Only an hour north of Missoula, the National Bison Refuge is the perfect day excursion.

From Missoula, take US Hwy 93 north to Ravalli, head west on Hwy 200 until you meet the junction with Hwy 212. Turn right, west, and travel the 5 miles to the entrance.

58355 Bison Range Road
Moiese, MT 59824
Phone: 406-644-2211
Fax: 406-644-2661
http://www.fws.gov/refuge/national_bison_range/ 

Season/Hours

The National Bison Range is open year round.

Visitor Center is open daily 9am-5pm.

All scenic drives must leave with enough time to exit the range before dark.

Red Sleep Mountain Road is closed in the winter.

Fees

  • $5.00 per vehicle
  • $15.00 for an annual National Bison Range pass
  • No fee on weekends during the winter

Activities

A stop by the Visitor's Center is a must upon arrival. Learn about the sad history of the American bison, the ecology of the range, and talk to one of the enthusiastic rangers. And, who doesn't love an informational video and 3D display. The display lights up to reveal where the bison are on that day, no guess work needed.

Two self-guided drives take you through the range for up close views of the bison. The Red Sleep Mountain Road is two hours one way or for a shorter option, try the Buffalo Prairie Drive. It's only half an hour. Follow the rules and stay in your car.

Picnic areas and hiking trails are great places to stretch your legs after your scenic drive.

Fun Facts

The bison may look like old, shaggy beasts lumbering along in search of the perfect blade of grass, but when provoked they can run up to 35 miles an hour. Their tail is a great mood indicator. If it is straight up, they are mad and about to charge. Don't run, they will beat you. Just stay in your car like you were told to do in the first place.

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