Pompeys Pillar National Monument is a fascinating destination located in south-central Montana, rich in natural beauty and American history. The centerpiece of the monument is Pompeys Pillar, a towering sandstone rock formation that rises 150 feet above the Yellowstone River.
This unique landmark played a significant role in the Lewis and Clark Expedition, with William Clark carving his name into the rock during his exploration of the area in 1806. In this guide, we’ll delve into the rich history and significance of Pompeys Pillar, as well as provide practical travel information for visitors who want to explore the area.
From hiking trails to scenic drives, we’ll cover all the best ways to experience the natural beauty and historical significance of Pompeys Pillar National Monument. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or simply looking for a unique and memorable travel destination, Pompeys Pillar is definitely worth a visit.
Table of Contents
Pompeys Pillar National Monument is a sandstone rock formation located in south-central Montana, in the United States. The monument covers an area of 51 acres and includes a visitor center, picnic areas, and a walking trail. Here is a brief history of the site:
Native American Presence:
The area around Pompeys Pillar has been inhabited by various Native American tribes for thousands of years, including the Crow and Cheyenne tribes. The site is considered a sacred place by these tribes, and the rock formation is an important cultural and spiritual site.
Lewis and Clark Expedition:
Pompeys Pillar gained national attention in 1806 when William Clark of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition arrived at the site during the expedition’s return journey. Clark named the rock formation “Pompeys Tower” after Sacagawea’s son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, who was nicknamed “Pompy.” Clark carved his signature and the date, July 25, 1806, into the rock, making it the only remaining physical evidence of the expedition.
Settlement and Development:
In the late 1800s, the area around Pompeys Pillar began to be settled by ranchers and farmers. The Northern Pacific Railway also passed through the area, bringing increased development and traffic to the region. In 1939, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management acquired the land around Pompeys Pillar and designated it a National Historic Landmark.
National Monument Designation:
In 2001, President Bill Clinton signed a bill designating Pompeys Pillar a National Monument, officially recognizing its historic and cultural significance. Today, the monument is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the site’s rich history and explore the surrounding landscape.
The nearest major city to Pompeys Pillar National Monument is Billings, Montana, which is about 30 miles west of the site. The monument can be accessed by car via Interstate 94, which runs through the area. There is also a small airport located in Billings for those who prefer to fly.
A visit to Pompeys Pillar National Monument is a unique and educational experience that offers a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the area. With its stunning rock formation and unique historical significance, it’s a must-visit destination for any traveler to Montana.
The area around Pompeys Pillar has been inhabited by various Native American tribes for thousands of years, and the rock formation is considered a sacred place by these tribes. It gained national attention in 1806 when William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition carved his signature into the rock. The site was later settled by ranchers and farmers in the late 1800s, and in 1939, it was designated a National Historic Landmark. It was later designated a National Monument in 2001.
The nearest major city to Pompeys Pillar National Monument is Billings, Montana, which is about 30 miles west of the site. The monument can be accessed by car via Interstate 94, which runs through the area.
Visitors can view William Clark’s signature and the date, climb to the top of the rock formation for a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape, and explore the walking trail that leads through the surrounding landscape. The visitor center offers exhibits and information about the history and cultural significance of the site.
The admission fee for Pompeys Pillar National Monument is $7 per person for those over 16 years old. Admission is free for children under 16.
No, pets are not allowed on the walking trail at Pompeys Pillar National Monument in order to protect the natural environment and preserve the site’s cultural significance.
Some nearby attractions include the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, the Yellowstone River, and the Pictograph Cave State Park.
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