Diggin’ For Dinosaurs in Montana’s Russell Country

With the varied terrain in Russell Country, it isn’t difficult to imagine different dinosaurs roaming some of the landscapes. Grab a Montana Dinosaur Trail brochure and let’s go exploring dinosaurs!

Our first stop is the Old Trail Museum in Choteau, MT. This is where a discovery by Marion Brandvold, at what is now called Egg Mountain, changed how paleontologists viewed these creatures. Maiasaura, which translates to “good mother lizard”, was found here along with a nest, baby dinosaurs and plenty of eggshell. From that point on, scientists felt that dinosaurs actually did mother their young.

You’ll know you are in dinosaur country when you drive on US Hwy 89 through Choteau. The Old Trail Museum is on the north end of town and dinosaurs are just one part of this great museum complex.

Continue north of Choteau for 13 miles and you’ll be in Bynum, home of Two Medicine Dinosaur Center. The world’s largest full-size skeletal model of Seismosaurus halli is displayed here and this is where people go to actually “dig” for dinosaur bones in Russell Country. Seismosaurus halli translates to “earth-shaker lizard” so let your imagination run wild thinking of how big this guy is!

Next, travel until you reach US Hwy 2, an east-west highway following the Amtrak’s rail route across northern Montana. You’ll hear this part of Montana referred to as the Hi Line, for obvious reasons! First dinosaur stop is in Rudyard, MT and you will see metal sculptures of dinosaurs as you travel closer to the small community of Rudyard.

The Rudyard Depot Museum houses the “Oldest Sorehead” dino, a fully articulated gryposaurus found near the town. Check out the egg nest and the duckbill dinosaur display.

Traveling east on US Hwy 2, your next stop is the H. Earl Clack Museum located in Holiday Village Mall in Havre. Researchers feel the 75 million year old dinosaur eggs and embryos displayed here are from a Lambeosaur, or duck billed dinosaur. Right behind the Museum is Wahkpa Chu’gn Buffalo Jump Site, an interesting and educational archeological display.

Back on US Hwy 2, head east 20 miles to Chinook and the Blaine County Museum. Kids will enjoy the “Look, Touch and Wonder” room where fossils of sea creatures, plants and dinosaurs can be handled. Hadrosaur, Gorgosaurus and Ankylosaurus fossils make up the main display in the Musuem.

A Montana Dinosaur Passport is available for purchase at the Phillips County Museum in Malta, located on US Hwy 2 east of Chinook. If you visit all 15 sites along the Montana Dinosaur Trail, you’ll get a free tee shirt plus lots of memories!

There is one more stop on Russell Country’s portion of the Montana Dinosaur Trail. Grab your map, and if your travels are taking you to central Montana, plan a stop in Harlowton at the Upper Musselshell Museum. Ava, a full size skeleton replica of an Avaceratops found nearby at Shawmut, will greet you! Many other dinosaur fossils are displayed here so plan time to discover and enjoy.

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