Lonesome Lake - Big Sandy

Lonesome Lake is a unique prairie wetland complex, heavily used in the past by American Indians. It has one of the highest concentrations of teepee rings in Montana. (Remember, it is illegal to collect or disturb cultural resources.) The short grass prairie habitat in this complex is a wildlife oasis in a desert of cropland. The shallow lake provides a resting spot for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds, especially in the spring. Look for pintails, mallards, bluewinged teal, gadwalls, shovelers, willets, American avocets, and dowitchers. Occasionally tundra swans and snow geese have been spotted. South of the parking area, in short grass prairie habitat, watch for chestnut-collared and McCowan's longspurs, horned larks, and Swainson's hawks. In the summer, burrowing owls, pronghorn, coyotes, foxes, and badgers are present. In the fall and winter rough-legged hawks, prairie falcons, and waterfowl can be observed. Since Lonesome Lake is a shallow prairie pothole, it is often dry by late summer unless rains have been especially plentiful.

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Phone: 406-262-2820

From US Highway 87, turn west on Montana Highway 432 at Big Sandy. Travel west 4 miles, then turn right (north) onto a graveled county road and proceed 5.5 miles. Turn left (west) onto an undeveloped trail and proceed approximately 0.33 mile to the edge of Lonesome Lake.

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