Montana’s State Parks, though not as well known as Glacier National Park or Yellowstone, offer beautiful and historic vacation opportunities, including Sluice Boxes State Park in the Little Belt Mountains South of Great Falls.
Sluice Boxes State Park, established in 1970, consists of the northern most 8 miles of the Belt Creek canyon in the Little Belt Mountains. Soaring cliffs and precipitous ledges mark the Belt Creek Canyon as it slices out of the Little Belt Mountains and winds toward the town of Belt.
Train bridges left over from the mining boom era have been removed, so visitors must cross the creek on foot – a difficult undertaking during high water flows.
Because of these crossings, hiking in the Sluice Boxes is limited to low water season, generally mid-July through September. The spring-fed water is cold year round and weather in the Little Belt Mountains changes on a whim, so be ready for anything.
When mining was the main economic force in Montana, boom town sprung up like mushrooms after a rainstorm. The Little Belts experienced plenty of these pop-up towns that came and went, and today only the small recreational communities of Monarch and Neihart remain.
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