Visiting The Breaks

The Missouri River Breaks Monument

The Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument comprises 375,000 acres of public land in central Montana. It is part of the nation’s system of National Conservation Lands administered by the BLM. The National Conservation Lands include approximately 27 million acres of National Monuments, National Conservation Areas, Wilderness Areas, Wilderness Study Areas, Wild and Scenic Rivers and National Scenic and Historic Trails. These lands hold a spectacular array of plant life, wildlife, unique geological features, endless recreational opportunities and significant historical and cultural values.

Click here to view an interactive map of the Breaks.


Floating the River

Canoeing any section of the 149-mile Wild and Scenic Missouri River is an amazing Montana adventure. This stretch of river has changed very little since Lewis and Clark came upriver in 1805. You’ll enjoy the river’s beauty and tranquility, but did you know that the Wild and Scenic Missouri also played a major role in history of the West? Dozens of historic sites dot its banks, including Native American encampments, Lewis and Clark campsites, steamboat landings, fur trading post sites, and abandoned homesteads. Most people do the classic Missouri float trip — a four-day, three-night float through the White Cliffs section of the river. You’ll launch at Coal Banks Landing, spend nights at Eagle Creek, Hole in the Wall and Slaughter River, and take out at Judith Landing.

For more information, feel free to contact us, Click here for BLM’s information on planning a river trip, or visit the Missouri Breaks Interpretive Center in Fort Benton, Montana.

To check current river conditions, click here to access USGS streamflow data.

Photo by BLM


The entire Upper Missouri Breaks area is world famous for its big game herds; the elk, sheep, and deer herds there are consequently highly valued by hunters. The elk harvest on the Monument almost matches its famous neighbor — the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge — in regards to hunter success. The Monument has outstanding mule deer habitat with a high hunter success rating, but the shining star of big game clearly is the burgeoning Bighorn sheep herd. Common to Ervin Ridge, Dog Creek, Bullwhacker Coulee and significant other habitat on the monument, biologists consistently observe 900 sheep during annual aerial population surveys. Consistently, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks boasts a 100 percent hunter success rate on sheep every year.


The majority of recreation on The Monument is focused along the Missouri River, but there is a total of 375,000 acres of public land to be explored. Whether it is walking in the wide open uplands, or crawling through the slot canyons near the river, hiking in the monument gives you the opportunity to see parts of The Monument few have the chance to experience.


The Monument has a number of designated campgrounds along the Missouri River, including sites at Loma, Coal Banks Landing, Judith Landing and the James Kipp Recreational Area. And as in most of our country’s national monuments, camping is allowed in places where there are no organized campgrounds. Pitch your tent pretty much anywhere on public land, and follow Leave No Trace principles for rivers.