Terry Badlands Wilderness Area – Montana

What you don’t see when you’re driving along Interstate 94 in Southeastern Montana is the beauty! Natural Bridges, Chimney Rock and most of all solitude.

Of course to see it all there is only one way there, across a sketchy old train bridge. The old train tracks that once traveled through the area is what gives this trails its name, the Calypso Trail. Let’s say you brave the sketchy bridge you’re next obstacle is the gumbo mud back roads if it’s previously rained. Google search Terry Badlands Wilderness and you won’t find much. Especially on how to get to the actual trailhead location.Lucky me (not) it rained the day I got to Terry Badlands. I then opted to park in the grass off the maintained gravel road for the night so I could run early morning. The couple pages I did manage to find on the area gave only a vague descriptions on the trail length to the natural bridges. I don’t run with a gps watch so I normally go off mileages from maps and my phone. With no map to help I base the run off my phone data. I ended up with 19 miles round trip from where I parked. *Remember I am not near the trailhead due to bad roads. It’s not a difficult trail what so ever. Basically an old road that wanders through the designated wilderness area.If you’re ever in Eastern Montana and looking to hike or run let me know, I’ll gladly point you in the right direction of this cool hidden gem.

2 thoughts on “Terry Badlands Wilderness Area – Montana

  • Your photos of Terry Badlands are beautiful, reminded me of my dad’s story being in the badlands near Poplar, Montana in 1916. Dad was an Indiana orphan put on a train to Poplar, Montana in 1915 at the age of eleven. About a year later struck out on his own, working numerous farms and ranches (Candee, Flock, Dewitt, Alexander, Roe, Blevins, Montana Farming Corp. also badlands).
    Russ Milne, Jr.

    Excerpt taken from Orphan Boy by R. J. Milne, Jr. Amazon.

    I headed for the badlands with Tobe, carrying a pick and shovel to dig coal. We walked about ten miles in freezing weather, finally coming upon an old, abandoned shack. Inside stood one straw-covered, wooden bunk. It looked good, so Tobe and I laid down to sleep. We were restless all night because of the cold, and almost froze to death. Next morning, we found out that the bunk had just a thin layer of hay; underneath was a block of ice. We learned our lesson, and never slept with straw again. We went on our way, and later discovered a small four-by-eight pigsty. After digging beneath it for more room, we moved in, but it was too cramped for standing. We placed boards across the four-foot width to keep from sleeping on the wet, dirt floor. We had one blanket between us to share. I don’t know where we got it, because neither one of us owned enough to equal one dollar. Also, we had very little to eat, some cans of pork and beans, and not much else. Following a month of unsuccessful mining, and with our food all but gone, Tobe left for home. I stayed—I had no place to go. The pig shack was mine, alone, with storms and cold winds blowing. Several days later, a farmer passing through the badlands—with his team of horses that were so skinny and pitiful, they could hardly stand—asked me if I wanted to walk ten miles behind the sled, to his home. He said he’d give me room and board for doing chores. I left with farmer Sam Roe, my last meal in the cold ground was a can of frozen Pet milk.

    • Hey Russ! Thanks for the kind words on the photos! The excerpt from your dad’s book is great. I could feel myself there during the cold. Sure glad I was there when it was nice’ish weather.

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