First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park will host a guided snake hike

First Peoples Buffalo Jump
Posted at 4:59 PM, Apr 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-27 18:59:04-04

GREAT FALLS — First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park will host a guided snake hike on Saturday, May 7, 2022, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

A news release from the park says that although snakes are most active in the summer, that doesn’t mean that people should stop hiking until cold weather returns.

Dan - known as “The Snake Man” - will lead a hike through the park, teaching people about where snakes are most likely to be found, and what to do if they come across any while hiking.

According to Montana State University, the following types of snakes can be found in Montana:

The Western rattlesnake is Montana's only poisonous snake. It has a triangular head, blunt nose, narrow neck, stout body and a tail that ends in a rattle. Rattlesnakes are found in most of Montana and are 15 to 60 inches long.

The rubber boa looks and feels like rubber. This small stout snake (12 to 18 inches long) has small eyes, a blunt tail and is distributed throughout western Montana.

The racer is a long (20- to 65-inch), slender snake found throughout Montana. The belly is whitish to pale yellow with the back of adults varying from greenish grey to brown or blue.

The Western hognose snake is heavy-bodied and can reach 32 inches long. It has an upturned nose and its back is yellowish to gray-brown with three rows of dark brown blotches running longitudinally.

The milk snake is highly recognizable with a series of red-orange saddles or rings that are bordered by black rings and separated by white or yellow rings. This medium-sized, slender snake can reach lengths of 42 inches. It is rarely found in Montana.

The smooth green snake is rare in Montana and only reported in the far northeast. About 26 inches long as an adult, it is bright green in color above and whitish below.

The gopher snake or bull snake is very common in Montana. It can reach a length of seven feet and is readily identified by a series of large black or brown blotches that run down the back, and another series along the sides.

Montana has three garter snake species which can be identified by three yellow stripes running the length of the body. The stripes vary from yellow to orange-yellow to green-yellow along the back. The adults are 16 to 43 inches long and are found throughout the state.

The hike is open to those aged 12 and older, and there is a $4 per person hike fee. Pre-registration is required, and it is limited to 25 participants. The hike may be canceled in the event of rain or inclement weather.

First Peoples Buffalo Jump Park is located west of Great Falls, about 3.5 miles north of Ulm, just off I-15 at Exit 270.

Admission to the park is free for Montana residents; non-residents pay $8 per vehicle.

To register, call the park at 406-866-2217, or email park ranger Alice Southworth at