Everything You Need to Know to Plan an Epic Trip to Terry, Montana
The little town of Terry, Montana is the gateway to the incredible Terry Badlands. Any trip to Terry should definitely include a sojourn to the Badlands, but there are more gems waiting to be discovered right in the town, too.
Where is Terry, MT?
Terry is located in southeast Montana right off I-94 at about the halfway point between Miles City and Glendive. Terry serves as the county seat of Montana’s Prairie County, which had less than 1,100 residents at the last census counting. So, as you can imagine, Terry is one small town!
The small town vibe is of course part of its appeal, but though Terry is small, it is situated among some of the most famous history of Terry and some of its most intriguing natural beauty.
Getting to Terry / Old Highway 10
One of the top things to do in Terry involves just getting to the town. That’s because if you get off I-94 and instead enter Terry via old highway 10, you’ll access the town via some historical geography.
Old Highway 10 goes through the area where General Custer led his troops to the Battle of the Little Bighorn. You can learn more about their journey at the Powder River Historic Point off of Old Highway 10. There is a lookout point and an informational board detailing the history of the event at the spot.
To get to Old Highway 10 from I-94 (off coming from the west), take exit 169 toward Powder River Road. You’ll take a couple lefts to cross under the highway. Then continue for about a half a mile until you come to a T in the road where you’ll turn right onto Old Highway 10. From there it’s about 8 miles to Terry.
Along the way to rown, keep an eye out for the Powder River State Monument sign and informational board, shortly after you cross the river.
The Powder River area is also part of the Lewis and Clark Historic Trail since the famous duo traveled through this region during their explorations.
The biggest draw for most people visiting Terry are the Terry Badlands, a barren section of the earth where limestone rocks have been carved by the earth into incredible patterns and shapes.
Here are some of the best ways to experience the geological wonders of the Terry Badlands.
Calypso Trail Drive
This 5.5-mile drive takes you into the heart of the Terry Badlands Wilderness Study Area. Along the Calypso Trail Drive you’ll see some of the most impressive spires and rock structures of this stretch of badlands.
Take a break from the car at one of the road’s trailheads to hike for expansive scenic views.
Though all terrain vehicles are recommended for the bumpy ride, off-roading is not permitted.
Natural Bridges Trail in the Terry Badlands
Along the Calypso Trail Drive, you’ll see a rustic sign marking the trailhead for the Natural Bridges Trail. This is a short and moderately easy hike that takes you to some epic views of the unique Terry Badlands scenery. Gaze out at coulees, hoodoos (tall rock spires), and vast grasslands.
Another can’t miss site in the Terry Badlands is Chimney Rock. It is a mound of rock with a sandstone spire coming out of the center of it, jutting up into the sky. This elongated piece of rock does indeed look a bit like a chimney and it is a prime photograph spot in the Terry Badlands.
Scenic Drive Road
This badlands drive leads north from 10 Mile Road to the aptly named Scenic Drive Road, where you’ll soon find six miles of breathtaking scenery. This drive showcases incredible rock formations and gorgeous river views. Wildlife may also be spotted along this drive.
Beyond the Terry Badlands
As previously mentioned, there’s more to do in Terry than just visiting badlands. Here are some of the other must-do activities and things to see while in Terry.
Prairie County Museum and Evelyn Cameron Gallery
This museum in Terry teaches visitors about the history of life on the prairie in this part of Montana.
You’ll learn about Terry’s railway past and even see an old red caboose. A pioneer homestead has also been recreated and visitors will no doubt get a kick out of seeing the only steam-powered outhouse located west of the Mississippi. Historic artifacts and exhibits are also on display.
In addition to learning about the prairie of southeast Montana, you’ll also get to see pictures and diary entries by photographer Evelyn Cameron, who is world-renowned for her turn of the 19th century prairie photography. You can learn more about Evelyn Cameron here.
Kempton Hotel: A Historic Hotel in Terry, MT
Kempton Hotel is the oldest continuously operating hotel in Montana, dating back to 1902. Its most recent owners are making huge strides in renovating it to it s former glory with emphasis on historic details.
Fittingly for this hotel, it has an adjacent antique shop. Visitors are welcome to browse through the antique shop and walk around the historic lobby.
Kempton Hotel is part of Terry’s historic walking trail put together by the American Volkssport Association, and the front desk of the lobby has a map of the walking trail with points of interest. You can learn more about the walk here.
As you might have guessed, the Kempton Hotel is also a great place to spend the night in Terry. Click here for pictures and prices.
Agate Hunting Along the River
A great geological pastime in Terry is agate hunting.
Walk along the banks of the Yellowstone River (fishing access points are good places to start) and keep your eyes peeled for these rocks, that may look basic from the outside but are awash in beautiful colors when cut open.
Enjoy Your Time in Terry, Montana!
We hope this guide for Terry helps you plan out your time in this cool little southeast Montana town. Whether you’re going to spend the night there, do a day trip from Billings, or just passing through on your way from Glendive to one of Montana’s National Parks, you’ll enjoy dedicating some of your travel time to beautiful and historic Terry.