5 Hikes to Do on the Rimrocks
Go Hiking on the Rims
With the weather a bit warmer, and (most) of the blustery wind having died down, it’s the perfect time to get out for a hike. It’s cool enough that you won’t sweat out all your water, but warm enough that your fingertips won’t freeze.
Until the snow melts in the mountains, your easier hikes are going to be down low. So why not head right up to the Rimrocks and take in the views? Here are 5 places that you can go hiking and only have to drive about 10 minutes to get there.
Zimmerman Park is pretty much the go-to place for anything on top of the Rims. There you will find dozens of hiking trails, biking trails, rock climbing crags, flat spots for picnics, and some of the best views in Billings. Dogs are welcome, but please be sure to clean up after your pooch; especially if it’s anywhere near the path.
A word of caution: lock your vehicle and don’t leave anything valuable inside. Unfortunately there are people who will break out windows and steal your belongings.
Diamond X/Phipps Park
If you head out past the Yellowstone Country Club as though you’re driving to Molt, you pass a little buttress. That cliff, on the far west end of town, is the home to one of the best disc golf spots I’ve ever seen (even better than a course I had to pay to play in Madison, WI). But you don’t have to be a folfer to enjoy Phipps Park. Take your bike, your dog, or just your walking stick and climb around on the rocks. It’s fun to go in the summer and watch the houses being built down below.
Four Dances Natural Area
Heading to the other side of town, Four Dances is a great place to watch the sunset. The path is easy over the top of the rims, and you get to the edge in just a few minutes. From there you look over the Yellowstone River, across downtown, and down the valley. It’s easily the best area to watch a sunset.
There are birds of prey that nest in the area. If you go to Four Dances between April 1st and August 1st, stay back away from the cliffs so you don’t disturb them.
Most people think of Swords Park as that paved pathway that runs for a couple of miles near the airport. That’s true, some of Swords Park is that. But there is a big area where you can hike, bike, and climb around that is near where the Rims end. Well, they don’t really end, but they split and Main Street is there. If you’re not into off-road mountain biking, then Swords is a great place to take your bike so you can still enjoy the Rims via pedal power.
Rocky Mountain College Park
I never knew this area had a name until I looked on Google Maps. Just West of the airport there is a long section with a gravel parking lot. Not all of that is Rocky Mountain College Park though. It’s just the strip that is directly north of Rocky Mountain College.
Along the edge of the rims you can find a statue of Mary with an inscription referring to the RMC class of ’56 (Click here for a picture from the Billings Gazette). There is also a set of stairs carved into the Rims nearby. Definitely worth a look at this little known place on the Rimrocks.
Go Do Something
The Rimrocks run for miles and miles along the north end of town. There are hundreds of trails, thousands of cracks, and tons of animals, plants, and interesting parts to see and experience.
What’s your favorite hike on the Rimrocks? What secret spot have you discovered?