Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk In Montana

Here is everything you need to know about the Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Montana
  • Length: 0.2 miles.
  • Type: Hiking
  • Surface: boardwalk
  • Managed By: Friends of the Prairie Marsh Boardwalk
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: Info not available.

The Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk holds a significant place in the history of the region, serving as a testament to the rich natural heritage and human endeavors that have shaped its existence. The boardwalk, located in the heart of the prairie-marsh ecosystem, has a history that dates back several decades. It was initially constructed in the early 1960s as a means to provide visitors with a unique opportunity to explore and appreciate the diverse flora and fauna of this delicate ecosystem.

The idea for the boardwalk originated from a group of local naturalists and conservationists who recognized the need to protect and showcase the beauty of the prairie-marsh landscape. With the support of the community and various environmental organizations, the construction of the boardwalk began in 1962. The project aimed to strike a balance between providing access to the public while minimizing the impact on the fragile ecosystem.

Over the years, the Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk has undergone several renovations and expansions to accommodate the growing number of visitors. The initial wooden structure was replaced with a more durable and sustainable material, ensuring its longevity and reducing maintenance requirements. The boardwalk’s design was carefully planned to blend seamlessly with the surrounding environment, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the prairie-marsh ecosystem.

Today, the Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk stands as a testament to the dedication and foresight of those who recognized the importance of preserving this unique habitat. It serves as an educational tool, providing visitors with an opportunity to learn about the history, ecology, and conservation efforts that have shaped the prairie-marsh ecosystem. The boardwalk continues to be a cherished destination for nature enthusiasts, researchers, and individuals seeking solace in the tranquility of this remarkable natural landscape.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk Trailhead: This is the main access point for the boardwalk and is located at the beginning of the trail. It provides parking facilities and information boards about the trail.

2. Prairie Overlook: This access point offers a scenic view of the prairie landscape and is located along the boardwalk. It is a popular spot for birdwatching and photography.

3. Marsh Observation Deck: This access point provides an elevated platform for observing the marsh ecosystem. Visitors can spot various waterfowl, amphibians, and other wetland species from this deck.

4. Prairie Loop Trailhead: This trailhead is located at the intersection of the boardwalk and the Prairie Loop Trail. It offers an alternative route for hikers who want to explore the prairie area further.

5. Marsh Loop Trailhead: This access point is situated at the intersection of the boardwalk and the Marsh Loop Trail. It provides an opportunity for visitors to extend their hike and explore the marshland.

6. Prairie-Marsh Interpretive Center: This access point is located near the end of the boardwalk and serves as an educational center. It offers exhibits, interactive displays, and guided tours to learn more about the prairie and marsh ecosystems.

7. Prairie-Marsh Picnic Area: This access point is a designated picnic area along the boardwalk. It provides picnic tables, benches, and restroom facilities for visitors to relax and enjoy a meal amidst the natural surroundings.

8. Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk End: This is the final access point of the boardwalk, marking the end of the trail. It offers a turnaround point for hikers and provides a view of the entire boardwalk from a distance.

Transportation Available

1. Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk Shuttle – Shuttle service providing convenient transportation to and from the Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk.
2. Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk Taxis – Taxi service offering quick and reliable transportation options near the Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk.
3. Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk Bike Rentals – Bike rental service allowing visitors to explore the area around the Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk on two wheels.
4. Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk Bus Stop – Bus stop located near the boardwalk, providing public transportation options for easy access.
5. Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk Car Rentals – Car rental service offering flexible transportation solutions for those visiting the Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk.


The amenities available at the Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk may include:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available for visitors to use.

2. Parking: There might be designated parking areas for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: Depending on the location and regulations, there could be camping sites available for overnight stays.

4. Picnic Areas: There may be designated picnic areas with tables and benches for visitors to enjoy outdoor meals.

5. Boardwalk: The main attraction, the boardwalk itself, provides a pathway for visitors to explore the prairie-marsh ecosystem.

6. Observation Decks: There might be elevated platforms or decks along the boardwalk for visitors to observe the surrounding nature and wildlife.

7. Interpretive Signs: Throughout the boardwalk, there could be informative signs providing details about the flora, fauna, and history of the area.

8. Benches: There may be benches along the boardwalk for visitors to rest and take in the scenery.

9. Wildlife Viewing Areas: There might be designated spots along the boardwalk where visitors can observe and photograph wildlife.

10. Information Center: There could be an information center or visitor center where visitors can obtain maps, brochures, and additional information about the boardwalk and its surroundings.

Please note that the availability of these amenities may vary depending on the specific location and management of the Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk. It is recommended to check with the local authorities or visitor center for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Prairie-Marsh Inn – A cozy lodging option located just a few minutes away from the boardwalk.
2. Marshside Bistro – A restaurant offering delicious meals with a scenic view of the marsh.
3. Prairie-Marsh Campground – A camping site with basic amenities, perfect for nature enthusiasts.
4. Boardwalk Cafe – A small eatery serving quick bites and refreshments near the boardwalk.
5. Prairie-Marsh Lodge – A spacious lodge offering comfortable accommodations and a serene atmosphere.
6. Marshview Motel – A budget-friendly motel providing convenient access to the boardwalk and surrounding attractions.
7. Prairie-Marsh Visitor Center – A helpful resource for information, maps, and assistance during emergencies.
8. Marshside Grocery – A nearby grocery store for any essential supplies or snacks.
9. Prairie-Marsh Medical Clinic – A medical facility equipped to handle emergencies and provide healthcare services.
10. Marshside Police Station – The local police station ensuring safety and security in the area.

Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk Difficulty Notes

The Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk offers a moderate level of difficulty for visitors. The boardwalk is well-maintained and provides a relatively easy and accessible path for individuals of all ages and fitness levels. However, there are some sections that may require a bit more effort, such as inclines or uneven terrain. Additionally, the length of the boardwalk, which spans approximately 1.5 miles, may pose a challenge for those with limited mobility or endurance. Overall, while the Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk is generally manageable, it is important to be prepared for some moderate physical exertion during the visit.

Features And Attractions

The Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk is known for its beautiful scenery and natural landmarks. Here are some of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks you can find along the boardwalk:

1. Prairie Marsh: The boardwalk itself offers stunning views of the prairie marsh, a unique ecosystem that is home to a variety of plant and animal species.

2. Wildlife Observation Deck: Along the boardwalk, you’ll find a wildlife observation deck where you can spot various bird species, including herons, egrets, and ducks.

3. Wildflower Meadows: During the spring and summer months, the boardwalk is surrounded by vibrant wildflower meadows, creating a picturesque landscape.

4. Historical Marker: There is a historical marker along the boardwalk that provides information about the area’s history and its significance.

5. Interpretive Signs: Throughout the boardwalk, you’ll find interpretive signs that offer educational information about the local flora, fauna, and the importance of wetland conservation.

6. Wooden Footbridges: The boardwalk features several wooden footbridges that allow visitors to cross over small streams and wetland areas, providing unique perspectives of the surrounding landscape.

7. Scenic Overlooks: There are several scenic overlooks along the boardwalk that offer panoramic views of the prairie marsh and its diverse wildlife.

8. Butterfly Garden: Near the boardwalk, there is a butterfly garden where you can observe various butterfly species and learn about their life cycle and importance to the ecosystem.

9. Picnic Areas: Along the boardwalk, there are designated picnic areas where visitors can relax, enjoy a meal, and take in the beautiful surroundings.

10. Sunset Views: The Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk is known for its breathtaking sunset views. As the day comes to an end, the boardwalk offers a serene and picturesque setting to witness the colors of the sky reflecting on the marsh.

These are just a few examples of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks you can experience along the Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are not allowed on the Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk.
2. Smoking is strictly prohibited on the boardwalk.
3. Bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, and other wheeled devices are not permitted.
4. Fishing or any other form of wildlife disturbance is not allowed.
5. Feeding or approaching wildlife is strictly prohibited.
6. No littering. Please dispose of trash in designated bins.
7. The boardwalk is open year-round, but visitors should be aware of seasonal restrictions.
8. During nesting season, certain areas may be off-limits to protect nesting birds.
9. Visitors are encouraged to stay on designated paths and boardwalks to minimize damage to the ecosystem.
10. Photography is allowed, but tripods and other large equipment should not obstruct the boardwalk or pathways.
11. Visitors are advised to dress appropriately for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes.
12. Visitors should respect the tranquility of the area and keep noise levels to a minimum.
13. The boardwalk is wheelchair accessible, and visitors are encouraged to be mindful of others with mobility challenges.
14. Swimming or wading in the marsh or nearby water bodies is not permitted.
15. Visitors should follow any additional rules or guidelines posted on signage throughout the boardwalk.

Seasonal Information

The Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk is a stunning natural attraction located in a picturesque prairie and marshland setting. While it is open to visitors year-round, there are certain times of the year that offer the best experience for exploring this beautiful boardwalk.

One of the best times to visit the Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk is during the spring season, particularly in April and May. During this time, the prairie comes alive with vibrant wildflowers, creating a colorful and picturesque landscape. The weather is usually mild, making it pleasant to stroll along the boardwalk and take in the sights and sounds of nature. Additionally, spring is the breeding season for many bird species, so birdwatchers will have the opportunity to spot a variety of migratory birds in the area.

Another great time to visit is in the fall, specifically in September and October. As the summer heat subsides, the prairie and marshland transform into a stunning display of autumn colors. The foliage turns vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow, creating a breathtaking backdrop for a leisurely walk on the boardwalk. Fall is also a great time for wildlife enthusiasts, as many animals prepare for the winter months and can be observed in their natural habitats.

It is important to note that the Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk may have seasonal closures or limited access during certain times of the year. This is typically due to maintenance work, extreme weather conditions, or to protect the local wildlife. It is advisable to check with the local authorities or visitor center before planning your trip to ensure that the boardwalk is open and accessible during your desired visit.


1. Wheelchair ramps: The boardwalk features ramps at various entry points, allowing easy access for individuals using wheelchairs.
2. Elevator access: An elevator is available at specific locations, ensuring accessibility to different levels of the boardwalk.
3. Wide pathways: The boardwalk offers wide pathways to accommodate wheelchair users and individuals with mobility aids.
4. Handrails: Sturdy handrails are installed along the boardwalk, providing support and stability for individuals with mobility challenges.
5. Accessible parking: Designated accessible parking spaces are available near the boardwalk, allowing convenient access for individuals with disabilities.
6. Braille signage: Some informational signs along the boardwalk include Braille, enabling individuals with visual impairments to access information.
7. Accessible restrooms: The boardwalk provides accessible restrooms equipped with features like grab bars and wider doorways for wheelchair users.
8. Benches and seating: The boardwalk offers benches and seating areas at regular intervals, providing opportunities for individuals to rest or take a break.
9. Assistance animals: Service animals are permitted on the boardwalk to assist individuals with disabilities.
10. Accessible viewing areas: Specific viewing areas along the boardwalk are designed to provide optimal visibility for individuals using wheelchairs or mobility aids.

Safety Information

1. Stay on the designated boardwalk path – To ensure safety and protect the delicate ecosystem, visitors are advised to remain on the designated boardwalk path at all times.

2. Watch your step – The boardwalk may have uneven surfaces, so it is important to watch your step and be cautious while walking.

3. Keep a safe distance from wildlife – Visitors should maintain a safe distance from any wildlife encountered along the boardwalk to avoid disturbing or provoking them.

4. Do not feed the animals – Feeding wildlife can disrupt their natural behavior and may pose risks to both animals and visitors, so it is strictly prohibited.

5. Be aware of slippery conditions – The boardwalk can become slippery, especially during wet weather or in areas with marshy vegetation, so exercise caution to prevent slips and falls.

6. Stay hydrated and bring insect repellent – It is recommended to bring water and insect repellent, as the prairie-marsh environment may have biting insects and the weather can be hot and humid.

7. Respect the environment – Visitors should refrain from littering, damaging plants, or disturbing the natural surroundings, ensuring the preservation of the prairie-marsh ecosystem.

8. Follow any posted rules and regulations – Pay attention to any signs or posted rules along the boardwalk and adhere to them for the safety and enjoyment of all visitors.

9. Be prepared for changing weather conditions – The prairie-marsh area can experience sudden weather changes, so it is advisable to dress in layers and bring appropriate gear for rain or sun protection.

10. Inform someone of your visit – Before heading out to the boardwalk, let someone know about your plans and expected return time for safety purposes.

Conservation Notes

The Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk is a unique and ecologically significant habitat located in the heart of the Midwest. Its conservation status is of utmost importance due to the fragile and threatened nature of the ecosystem it supports. The boardwalk traverses through a diverse range of habitats, including prairies, wetlands, and marshes, providing a haven for numerous plant and animal species.

The conservation status of the Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk is classified as “vulnerable” due to several factors. One of the primary concerns is the loss and degradation of habitat caused by human activities such as urbanization, agriculture, and industrial development. These activities have resulted in the fragmentation and destruction of the surrounding natural areas, leading to a decline in the overall biodiversity of the region.

Additionally, invasive species pose a significant threat to the conservation of the Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk. Non-native plants and animals can outcompete native species for resources, disrupt the delicate balance of the ecosystem, and alter the natural processes that sustain the habitat. Efforts are being made to control and manage these invasive species to minimize their impact on the boardwalk’s conservation status.

Conservation initiatives are underway to protect and restore the Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk. These efforts include habitat restoration projects, invasive species management, and public education programs to raise awareness about the importance of preserving this unique ecosystem. Collaborative partnerships between government agencies, conservation organizations, and local communities are crucial in ensuring the long-term conservation and sustainability of the Prairie-Marsh Boardwalk.

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