Yellowstone County – Your Ancestral Past Trail Series
Out in the Boonies Index
By Dave Dodge
& Cleve Kimmel
Monday, December 03, 2012 Added Dedication to Dave Dodge;
A little history
about Dave Dodge: he is the sixth great grandson on Squire Boone, the younger
brother of the frontiersman Daniel Boone. It was this gene pool that
contributed to his urge to get out and explore. He has been exploring with
Cleve Kimmel and he thought that Dave should share his adventures and
misadventures. He usually goes someplace he had researched many time before,
so he does have some strong knowledge of the region. He retired from the
Postal Service and in researching that venue he found that Montana has had over two thousand Post
Offices and only about three hundred fifty remain. Many of his trips include
finding locations of these abandoned post offices, cemeteries, buildings and
towns. Dave Dodge passed away at his home in Shepherd, Mont., on Veteran’s
Day, Nov. 11, of natural causes. He was born May 15, 1942, in Hardin, Mont.,
to Maude and Ralph Dodge. After graduation, he served in the Army in Vietnam and
was proud to be a patriot and veteran. Upon returning home from the war, he
worked as a cook at the Windmill and then the U.S. Post Office where he
retired. He truly enjoyed his retirement years.
Read more: http://billingsgazette.com/lifestyles/announcements/obituaries/dave-dodge/article_152c35c6-e534-55db-bbb5-94641ab78539.html#ixzz2Dtrv4Pj1
Please submit any feed back, extra info, and corrections
Trip Report # 1 - Golden, Weatherman Draw, Bean and
This trail starts from
Trip Report #2 – Twin Monuments & Monument Trail
Trail starts from
either Duck Creek or South
Billings Boulevard in Billings. The Bozeman Trail, built by the
US Army Command in 1865, happens to pass through these two monuments. Note:
The large stone monuments were constructed after c1911.
Trip Report #3 – St. Olaf’s Church, 2nd Crow
Agency, Chance Cemetery, Chance & Tolman
Trail starts from Columbus, and returns to Laurel. However, you can return to the
originating point if so desired. This trip doesn’t require a 4-wheeled
vehicle; but if continuing on to part 3b, it is mandatory. The second leg of
the journey should only be attempted when the roads are dry, and clear of
wetness or snow. The route passes through Absarokee, and then veers off the
highway (78) and onto gravel and dirt roads. There are virtually no road
signs along the way to assist, nor are there local residents near by that
might render aid, so the use of trail Rag Map #36 from the BLM will be
needed. The entire route is expected to take about seven hours to complete.
Separate map sketches are attached for each Trip Section.
The Billings Post, on
March 10, 1883, presented an
article from George Geer a resident of the Park Hotel, about a
recommendation for building a much-needed road from Billings
to Cooke City. He describes where several of
the early trails, including the Nez Perce and miscellaneous wagon roads are
located, and who constructed them. Portions of these trails crisscross the
area noted in this trek, and form a basis for original location.
Trip Section 3a – St. Olaf’s Church and 2nd
You depart from Sammy’s
in Columbus (after
having breakfast & obtaining sandwiches etal for the trek), and head for
Absarokee. After heading south from Absarokee for 5.5 miles turn off onto
gravel roads. The trek is 41.8 miles in length, plus another three miles into
Red Lodge. Section 3b starts from Red Lodge. Travel time will be about 2-1/2
hours. You will pass by the J. E. Madson monument marker enroute.
Trip Section 3b – Mee-Tee-Tse Trail (Chance &
You depart Red Lodge
from 11th & Broadway (Pollard Hotel), and head south. The
trail starts immediately on the left after crossing Rock Creek, and meanders
through the open land leading towards the Wyoming Border. You will pass by
the Mee-Tee-Tse Spires, then into Tolman Flats. The Tolman Cemetery
access is occasionally closed, and is closed during hunting season. Chance Cemetery and the location where Chance
was located are open. The dirt road is not maintained and has grades of 12
degrees. Four-wheeled vehicles are recommended.
Trip Report #4 – Billings
– As It Was in 1956 or Earlier
This is a tour of
Billing’s local landmarks, as seen from the past. Tour is under construction,
and will establish appropriate original references to the area attractions
Copyright © 2003,
2004 Yellowstone County-Montana . All Rights Reserved.
Trip Report #5 – Reverend Thomas Massacre
This is a trip to the
Thomas Marker located alongside of I90 near Greycliff.
Report #6 – Crockett Section House – Pryor Gap
This is a trip to an
abandoned station house and its water tower. Used to service the CB&Q
Railroad that used to run between Toluca
Report #7 – Pryor Valley Area -- Rock Cairns
on the Monument & Bozeman/Bridger Trails
This tour starts at
Twin Monuments as a staging area, and then has four segments that can be
taken collectively, or individually. It requires pre-tour review of local
maps, and reading of the trail locations as noted. It specifically locates
the early trails. Prepared by Cleve Kimmel & Vernon Drake in 2002.
Report #8 – Cowley Rock Cairn – South Entrance to Petroglyph Canyon
Tour starts on HWY 310,
and goes south into Wyoming, then north
The cairn marks the location for numerous mining claims, all unused.
Trip Report #9 – General Hazen Road from Fort CF
Smith to Fort Benton
This road was established
in 1866 when General Hazen was assigned as superintendent of the western
plains Indians. He traveled to Fort
Benton from CF Smith
and back, attempting to initiate a survey of the conditions. This was at the
time when hostilities with the Sioux were just starting. It crosses the Yellowstone River just above Worden.
Trip Report #10 – Gypsum Canyon
Rock Cairns & Lime Kiln
This trek passes
through the southern edge of Pryor Mountain, entering from Warren
and going southeast into Wyoming.
The trail has numerous branches, and needs to be studied well in advance, if
you are unfamiliar with the terrain. Trip #11 can be taken at the same time.
Trip Report #11 – Rock Cairns in Sweet Grass &
Stillwater, Stockade School, Reed Point, Merrill & Stillwater PO’s.
This trek is about a six-hour round trip drive from Billings. The roads are mainly graded dirt
& gravel; and are suitable for rainy weather. A 4-wheel drive vehicle;
however, is recommended. The entire
trek is on public access roads. There are three rock cairns to be seen,
plus the old Reedpoint Siding, Old PO’s at Merrill & Springtime, and the
Stockade School. [Note: the coordinates provided are from the Post Offices of
Montana & GPS sightings. These may vary slightly from NGIS data.] Note
also that the Spring Creek School
is about one mile south of the Stockade School; but isn’t covered in this
Trip Report #12
– McGinnis Peak, Hole in the Wall & Ingomar
This trip, in
its entirety requires a 4-wheel drive vehicle with at least 12” of clearance.
Hole in the wall couldn’t be reached since the area was closed off
(Oct-2007). The others can be viewed with an auto. Plan on a six hour trek if
departing from Billings.
This wonderfully shaped mountain peak was home to the signal corps in the
Trip Report #13 – Visit the Battle Sites of General
Custer & General Crook in June 1876.
requires a 4-wheel drive vehicle when visiting the Rosebud Battlefield; if
you desire to drive about the site. Auto travelers can decide whether or not to
drive on the roadways, or view the site from the entrance. Still very
Trip Report #14 – Visit the
vacated sites of long-vanished post offices in Wheatland County.
Most all po’s sit on private and nil is visible from the road. The scenery is
spectacular. Plan on spending a whole day Enroute & meet new friends. The
road is mostly gravel.
Trip Report #15 – Visit the
town of Castle, and stop by the Bair Museum
on the return trip. This old abandoned town sits on private property within
the Lewis & Clark
National Forest; and it
has several old buildings still standing and visible from the road. The
scenery is spectacular. Plan on spending a whole day enroute.
Trip Report #16 – Visit the
former townsites stretching from Slayton Junction (home of Pecked Indian
Art), and east toward Fort
Pease. This travel
route passes alongside of the abandoned Milwaukee
Railroad line, which is immediately south of Highway 12. Only a few townsites
still exist, as most are turned into ranch land. The former locales are noted
on a map, and pictures are provided. History on these abandoned places is
quite scarce, and additional information for posting would be appreciated.
This is an eight-hour trek via 4-wheeled vehicle as portions of the route are
on mud-soaked trailways.
Trip Report #17 – Travel
through Golden Valley
area and towns. A four-wheeler is required; unless you are
positive there will no wet roads? We started from Billings on HWY 3 North,
stopping at Helm Cemetery south of
Comanche, then traveled through portions of the area to visit towns
and post office former locations.
Click on pictures to enlarge.
Trip Report #18 – Travel to Utica and Beyond. A
four-wheeler is required; unless you are positive there will no wet roads? We
departed from Billings
on HWY 3 North and stopped at Harlowton where we set the odometer to zero.
Then we traveled west to the L&C
National Park, up to Utica, and back via a
variety of side roads. Good maps are a must! Travel time is over 8-hours
Trip Report #19 – Travel to
TeePee Rocks and rock outcroppings. These sites are on
private land and state land. The TeePee Rocks resemble Indian Teepees, and
the outcropping is where the explorers from the 1874 journey camped. Also,
there is a nearby Rock Cairn located at the highest hill top in the local
region. Portions of these sites are now closed to public view; and only the
TeePee rocks can be viewed, and access details are provided. All is by foot
Trip Report #20 – Look at some of
the older Public Schools throughout the county.
Trip Report #21 – Travel the
Maginnis 1882 Trail
Trip Report #22 – Visit ‘Legend
Rocks’ in Wyoming. Details on obtaining route permission and other amenities
are noted. A photo slide of the area’s rock inscriptions are depicted.