Weekend Wilderness Walks include tour of badlands and Ekalaka’s Chalk Buttes

 From Montana Wilderness Association

Montana Wilderness Association summer “Wilderness Walks” program, is winding down, but there are still two great opportunities to get out and explore two of Eastern Montana’s more unique prairie wildlands. 

On Saturday, September 24, hike into the Chalk Buttes near Ekalaka. Described locally as the gem of Southeastern Montana, you will hike up two buttes for remarkable views of limestone cliffs, ash filled draws and canyons dappled with changing fall colors. Starting from the east slope of the buttes, you will hike up to the top of Chalk Butte which is open, flat and grassy.  From there, you will continue down through a long canyon of birch trees up to the top of Fighting Butte. From this second point there are spectacular views of the Powder River Breaks Country.  Along the way you will learn about this historic oasis on the prairie as you look for wildlife and late blooming wildflowers. 
On Sunday, September 25, hike into the Terry Badlands Wilderness Study Area and experience the rugged beauty of this Eastern Montana Landscape. From Terry, the group will cross the Yellowstone River on the historic Milwaukee Railroad Bridge and drive 5 miles along the Calypso Trail through the badlands to the trailhead of the Natural Bridges. At the trailhead you will walk across open grassland to unusual rock formations and natural bridges where scenes from the PBS documentary, Evelyn Cameron: Pictures from a Worthy Life, were filmed.  On the way out, there will be opportunities to take short hikes to scenic vistas with long views overlooking the Yellowstone River Valley.  The Cameron Gallery in Terry will also be opened up to hikers at the end of the walk.
Bring your camera, pack a lunch, bring plenty of water and don’t forget binoculars.
All outings are free and open to the public, but reservations are required. To learn more or register for the hikes, Contact Helen Stevens at 775-8724 (day) 775-6335 (eve) or Wes Marshall for the Chalk Buttes hike and Karen Stevenson,  232-7261 for the Terry Badlands WSA hike.

Published Sept. 21, 2011

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