“This route takes visitors from a high point in the park down into a rugged coulee.”
— Karen Ryberg
Views · Wildflowers
This is a popular trail in the park although many only go part way down to view the coulee. The entire route is strenuous because of the steep climb out of the coulee. Those who make the whole journey will be rewarded with excellent views of many badlands formations including caprocks.
Need to Know
Bring plenty of water, as you'll be exerting yourself on the way out of the coulee, and there is not water available in the area.
The trailhead is about 3 miles into the park. Take a left at the Radio Hill Junction, then the first dirt road to the right goes to the Kinney Coulee Trailhead and parking area.
The trail descends into the coulee and many people only follow the trail for the first quarter of a mile or so because of the steep return. For those looking for a longer adventure, the trail follows the bottom of the coulee then ascends back up the other side, eventually connecting with the original route about 0.2 mile from the top.
The geologist in everyone will appreciate this trail as numerous badlands formations including caprock are visible along the way.
History & Background
Makoshika is Montana's largest state park and Makoshika (Ma-ko'-shi-ka) is a variant spelling of a Lakota phrase meaning 'bad land' or 'bad earth'.