Pompeys Pillar National Monument is a 150-200 foot sandstone butte (a natural rock formation) that stands overlooking the Yellowstone River in Worden, Montana. As a structure itself it provides an impressive landscape and a nice climb to look out over the scenic view. But the real draw to this Montana attraction is the signature of Captain William Clark (of the Lewis and Clark Expedition) etched into the side of the rock with the date, July 25, 1806, along side it. The explorer left his name when he passed along the Yellowstone on his return journey.
Clark carved his signature and the date in the rock and recorded doing so in his journal. There, Clark refereed to the rock formation as Pompeys Tower, probably in reference to Sacagawea’s son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, whose nickname was “Pomp.”
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It was the only known physical evidence left behind of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and can be visited among many checkpoints on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. Pompeys Pillar, a Montana roadside attraction located approximately 25 miles east of Billings, Montana, was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1965 and a National Monument in January 2001.
Before trekking up the 200 steps to get to the top of the rock formation, walk along the rendering of the Yellowstone River carved into the walking path to read informational displays and visit the Pompeys Pillar Interpretive Center to learn more about the expedition and the historical legacy of the monument and to visit the gift shop.
While road tripping in Montana, be sure to also look for the Giant Bull at the Eastern Montana Fairgrounds in Miles City, Glendisaurus in Glendive, and the L.P. Anderson Tire Co. Muffler Man in Billings.
Pompeys Pillar National Monument
Address: 3001 Hwy 312, Worden, MT 59088
Interpretive Center Hours: April 27-September: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily; October: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
Cost: $7 per vehicle, 6 passengers or fewer
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