The National Monuments of the west are no longer considered to be lesser known sideshows when compared to the famous National Parks. The increased exposure is primarily due to information that is easy access on the internet. However, there are some recently established National Monuments that are so new that the detailed information is still scant, which can complicate matters when trying to access one of these parks. A GPS mapping system may guide visitors to the general area of a new National Monument, but the actual access points may still be unknown. The side roads and trails within the boundaries may not yet appear on a map, so some old fashioned exploring will come into play.
The Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument is a recently established park that certainly can be confusing for a first time visitor to figure out. Overall, this park protects a large wilderness area surrounding the Missouri River headwaters in central Montana. The boundaries also cover a narrow strip of land along the winding Missouri River between Landusky and Loma to the west. This stretch of river goes through long established farm country in the high plains and the towering river bluffs are the main attraction. Access to both the wilderness and the river in the privately owned farm region is limited, which can present a navigational challenge to overcome.
From personal experience, plenty of fuel will be wasted when seeking access points along the Missouri River in this region and the few gas stations in this area are equally as challenging to find. In fact, most are just old farm pumps with no digital display, so be sure to carry some cash for the ride. When asking the residents at a station about the National Monument access points the answer will likely be, "Well, you will have to be a local to find a spot, because the farm roads are not on the map!"
For an automobile trip to the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, you will likely be on your own as far as navigation is concerned. That is until one remembers a few American history lessons from grade school. The old stories about the Lewis & Clark expedition will surely cause the imaginary light bulb to shine brighter on this subject matter. This historical event will also provide a clue as to the best transportation mode for exploring this National Monument. Small craft boating, river rafting, kayaking or canoeing just like Lewis & Clark absolutely is the best way to experience the Upper Missouri River Breaks, especially in the lengthy farm land section!
There are a few river craft excursion companies to be found in the local small towns and there are local guides to be found too. Floating down a lazy river sure certainly does sound like a dream come true when the heat of summer rolls around and fly fishing for trout along the way will keep the belly full. Exploring the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument by car will likely result in endless frustrating moments, while opting for the same means of transportation preferred by Lewis & Clark will present an opportunity to experience an adventure that will be fondly remembered for a lifetime!
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