Yellowstone Kelly Interpretive Site

Nestled along the Chief Black Otter Trail in Billings, Montana, the Yellowstone Kelly Interpretive Site stands as a testament to the remarkable life of Luther Sage “Yellowstone” Kelly. A revered Civil War veteran and Montana scout, Kelly played a pivotal role in shaping the early history of Billings. This interpretive site, situated within Swords Rimrock Park, not only pays homage to Kelly’s extraordinary contributions but also offers visitors a captivating journey through history and nature.

A Glimpse into the Past

The Man Behind the Legend

As visitors step onto the Yellowstone Kelly Interpretive Site, they are immediately transported back in time to the era of the Civil War. Luther Sage Kelly, better known as Yellowstone Kelly, emerged as a prominent figure during this tumultuous period. Born in 1849, Kelly’s life unfolded against the backdrop of a nation grappling with change and reconstruction. Serving as a Civil War veteran, his experiences would shape the course of history, paving the way for his later endeavors in the Montana frontier.

The interpretive site serves as a comprehensive showcase of Yellowstone Kelly’s life, allowing visitors to delve into the intricacies of his multifaceted persona. From his early years as a soldier to his role as a Montana scout, each section of the site unveils a different facet of Kelly’s legacy. Engaging exhibits and informative displays shed light on his military prowess, resilience, and the indomitable spirit that defined him.

Outdoor 'Rooms' and Interpretive Nodes

One of the distinctive features of the Yellowstone Kelly Interpretive Site is its innovative design, incorporating outdoor ‘rooms’ and interpretive nodes. These carefully curated spaces serve as immersive experiences, allowing visitors to absorb the essence of Kelly’s contributions. Each node is a thematic enclave, offering insights into various aspects of Kelly’s life, such as his time as a warrior, veteran, and scout.

The outdoor ‘rooms’ seamlessly blend with the natural beauty of Swords Rimrock Park, creating a harmonious connection between history and the surrounding landscape. As visitors traverse the interpretive nodes, they embark on a journey that mirrors Kelly’s own adventures in the untamed wilderness of Montana. Browse around this site.

City Views and Panoramic Vistas

Perched atop the iconic Rimrocks of Billings, the Yellowstone Kelly Interpretive Site provides breathtaking panoramic views of the city and its distant landscapes. This vantage point offers visitors a unique perspective, allowing them to appreciate the expansive beauty of the region that once witnessed Kelly’s exploits.

The city views become a canvas, illustrating the symbiotic relationship between urban development and the untouched wilderness that captured Kelly’s imagination. It’s a glimpse into the past and present, where the legacy of a Montana legend converges with the modernity of Billings.

Connecting with Nature

Restoring Legacy, Inspiring Reflection

Beyond the historical narratives, the Yellowstone Kelly Interpretive Site seamlessly integrates with the natural wonders surrounding Swords Rimrock Park. Trails meander through the park, inviting visitors to explore the pristine landscapes that once served as the backdrop for Kelly’s adventures.


The interpretive site becomes a gateway to a broader exploration of nature, encouraging visitors to hike, appreciate wildlife, and immerse themselves in the serene ambiance of Swords Rimrock Park. It’s a holistic experience that combines history, culture, and the great outdoors.

In essence, the Yellowstone Kelly Interpretive Site is more than a mere collection of artifacts and information; it’s a living tribute to a man whose legacy continues to resonate through the ages. By restoring Kelly’s contributions to the forefront of Billings’ history, the interpretive site invites reflection on the enduring impact of individuals who shaped the destiny of a region.

As visitors wander through the outdoor ‘rooms,’ absorb the panoramic views, and connect with nature, they become part of a narrative that transcends time. Yellowstone Kelly’s spirit lives on, not just in the stories etched into the interpretive nodes but in the hearts and minds of those who pause to pay their respects at this hallowed site along the Chief Black Otter Trail.

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