Spend the night at the Founders Hut and see the Prairie like you never have before!

Rate this Adventure 9 miles 1000 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Crissy Bauman

Come see and experience the prairie like you've never seen it before! Yurts and campgrounds are available through the American Prairie Reserve, accessible via foot, watercraft, or high-clearance four wheel drive vehicle.

The American Prairie Reserve (APR) in northeast and central Montana is the largest conservation project in the Lower 48, and a work in progress.  It's an effort to acquire more than three million acres of land to create the largest wildlife reserve in the Continental US, as well as as an effort to return the grasslands and prairie back to its original state- as well as a safe haven for the wildlife that once thrived there.

There are plenty of outdoor activities- hiking, canoeing, fishing, camping, horseback riding and hunting to name a few.  Depending on when you plan to visit, you may experience bird migrations, wildflowers blooming, elk rut, or juvenile pronghorn fawns.  There are also prairie dogs, deer, antelope and bison.  

In addition to campgrounds, the APR has two yurts available to rent in 2019 (and more opening in 2020) that sleep up to nine people for $125 per night.  For an outdoorsy person, they are practically a five star resort in the middle of nowhere!  Although there isn't any running water- you have to bring your own- they have a composting toilet and a large kitchen complete with a gas stove and utensils.  They also have outlets for plugging in small electronics (cell phone, camera, ereaders, etc) via solar power.

Anyone visitors without a high-clearance four wheel drive vehicle should know that although the Missouri river and other creeks and streams are nearby, they are not easily accessible to the yurts so you should expect to have to haul water about five miles (and maybe 1,000 feet up in elevation) to the Founder's Hut or approximately a quarter mile if you stay at the Craigshead Hut.  In dry conditions the yurts *may* be accessible by an SUV or crossover vehicle, but in wet conditions, even if it's just rain from the day before, the roads may not be a passable without a high-clearance four wheel drive vehicle.

Cell phone service and data are very limited in the area, and it is about an hour drive on dirt and gravel roads to get to the nearest towns.  The yurts are in the PN area of the APR, between the Bears Paw and Judith Mountains, with the nearest "towns" being Winifred and Big Sandy.  Havre and Lewistown are probably the nearest towns of significant size, but are closer to two hours away from the PN.

Prospective guests should know that the American Prairie Reserve is very controversial in the area.  Although the APR is well supported by philanthropists outside of Montana, a lot of locals are very upset that the APR is buying up so much farm and ranch land in northern and central Montana to save the prairie and grasslands.  You may want to think twice about mentioning your trip to the APR between your arrival in Montana and arriving at the APR, lest you get an earful.

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