About Pompeys Pillar
Pompeys Pillar is at a natural ford in the Yellowstone River. In addition, the mouth of Pompeys Pillar Creek on the north side of Yellowstone and the mouth of Fly Creek on the south form natural passageways leading to the river ford at Pompeys Pillar. As a result, the area has been a crossroads throughout history for hunters and their prey such as the once-prominent buffalo herds. On July 25, 1806, William Clark carved his name and date into the pillar's sandstone surface. The pillar also bears Native American drawings and other historical inscriptions. Clark noted evidence of Native American use, "The Indians have made 2 piles of Stone on top of this Tower. The natives have ingraved on the face of this rock the figures of animals...." Fur trappers of the early 1800s, military expeditions, railroad workers, and early settlers used the sandstone as a registry of their passing. In a very real sense, Pompeys Pillar's sandstone facets hold a vivid history of the unfolding West.
But the area is more than a static piece of history or a crossroads for bygone cultures. It is alive with wildlife. Pompeys Pillar home to many wildlife species and serves area communities as a viewing area. More than 100 different bird species have been counted in the area including owls, sandpipers, terns and bald eagles. Deer, fox, coyotes, raccoons and numerous small mammals, amphibians and reptiles call the Pillar home. Much of the wildlife population is a result of the site's thriving riparian zone, a healthy plant community of grasses, willows and cottonwood trees that stabilize the river bank and provide important habitat.
Threats to the Existence and Protection of Pompys Pillar National Monument
The Monument is threatened by the construction of a state-approved high speed grain elevator that will create dust pollution and impact the viewshed.
Pompeys Pillar Mountains Facts
- Location: Southeastern Montana (28 miles East of Billings)
- Size: 51 acres
- Date: Pompeys Pillar was designated a national monument on January 17, 2001
- Managing Agency: The Bureau of Land Management