Wildlife Viewing Areas
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National Bison Range
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.
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Skalkaho Wildlife Preserve
Description: This isolated, mountainous wildlife preserve is forested with dense spruce and subalpine fir, amid beautiful lush meadows. The area is totally closed to hunting.

Wildlife to Watch: In the spring and summer, look for gray and Steller’s jays, dark-eyed juncos. Brewer’s sparrows, olive-sided flycatchers, and hairy woodpeckers. Visitors in the fall may see large concentrations of elk and hear bull elk bugle from the high basins in early morning or late evening, especially east of Fool Hen and Kneaves Lakes. Hikers can see mountain goats around Dome Shaped Mountain, near the junction of trails 313 and 86, which follow the ridge around Skalkaho Basin. Watch for moose along trail 321 in the Burnt Fork drainage. Mule deer, badgers, coyotes, and black bears are common throughout the preserve.

Special Tips: Since only the first 10 miles of Montana Highway 38 are plowed, winter viewing by car depends on snow depth.

Other Activities: Mountain bicycling is a good way to see wildlife, especially during the fall road closure period, October 15 through December 1. Trail 313 offers prime opportunities for overnight cross-country ski trips.

Ownership: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 
Size: 23,000 acres 
Closest Town: Hamilton

ParkingCross Country SkiingHikingBicycling

Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

Bull Moose - photo by USFWS
Use link below please

Driving Directions:
From Hamilton, travel 3 miles south on U.S. Highway 93, then turn east on Montana Highway 38 (Skalkaho Highway) and proceed 26 miles east to the top of the pass (20 miles is gravel). Turn north on Forest Road 1352 (closed to all motorized vehicles October 15 through December 1) and drive for 5 miles into the Skalkaho Basin (past Dam Lake). A wildlife interpretive sign and orientation map is on FR 1352 right after turning off MT 38.

For more information call (406) 363-7161.

Map Link

Skalkaho Wildlife Preserve : Wildlife Viewing Area