Wildlife Viewing Areas
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Skalkaho Wildlife Preserve
This isolated, mountainous wildlife preserve is forested with dense spruce and subalpine fir, amid beautiful lush meadows. The area is totally closed to hunting.
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National Bison Range
Description: One of the oldest and most spectacular units in the entire national wildlife refuge system, this area contains steep, grassy hills and coniferous forests. It’s a great example of the now rare, native Palouse prairie bunchgrass. The 300 to 500 bison are usually visible.

Wildlife to Watch: You can view bison, pronghorn, elk, bighorn sheep, white-tailed and mule deer, and occasionally mountain goats, making the range ideal for wildlife photography.

Seasonal highlights include newborn bison calves (mid-April through May), blue grouse mating rituals in forested areas (May), elk bugling (September), and bighorn sheep (summer). The area’s 4 habitat types and 2,000-foot elevation change support more than 200 bird species. Look for Clark’s nutcracker and Lewis’ woodpecker in high forests, grasshopper sparrow in bunchgrasses, and lazuli bunting and yellow-breasted chat along Pauline Creek.

Special Tips: No off-road hiking is allowed except on designated trails.

The interpretive and education center has excellent wildlife exhibits. It is open daily in the summer, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., and weekdays only in the winter, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ENTRANCE FEES $4.00 PER VIHICLE; GOLDEN PASSES ACCEPTED.

Other Activities: In summer and early fall (mid-May through late October) visitors may drive either a scenic 2-hour loop (19 miles) or a shorter half-hour loop. The 1-hour winter drive and short loops are available for the balance of the year.

Ownership: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 
Size: 18,541 acres 
Closest Town: Moiese

RestroomsParkingHikingPicnic tablesHandicap AccessibleFee

Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

National Bison Range - photo by USFWS
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Driving Directions:
From Missoula, take U.S. Highway 93 north to Ravalli. Drive west on Montana Highway 200 for 6 miles to Dixon, then north on Secondary Route 212 for 4 miles to the refuge entrance. Or, from Polson, take U.S. 93 to 4 miles south of Ronan. Turn right onto SR212 and travel 13 miles to the entrance.

For more information call (406) 644-2211.

Map Link

National Bison Range : Wildlife Viewing Area