Trails and Maps
- Sprague’s Pipit
- McCown’s Longspur
- Chestnut-collared Longspur
- Baird’s Sparrow
- Grasshopper Sparrow
- Loggerhead Shrike
- Marbled Godwit
- Long-billed Curlew
- Ferruginous Hawk
- Swainson’s Hawk
- Mule Deer
- Short-horned Lizard
- Swift Fox
- White-tailed Jackrabbit
- Northern Leopard Frog
- Great Plains Toad
- Claret Cup Cactus
Drive Britsch Road through native grasslands and badlands on the boundary
of the wilderness study area. Hike cross country through public lands (no
trails). In addition, extensive tracts of BLM land surround the wilderness
study area and also provide good birding and wildlife viewing. Drive Kerr
Road to Wards Reservoir to look for waterfowl and wetland wildlife.
NOTE: Britsch Road is most suited for 4 WD vehicles with good clearance and when weather is dry. Kerr Road is gravel and a safer bet for passenger vehicles.
“The grass was the country, as the water is the sea.”
To appreciate the meaning of Cather’s observation of the plains as she knew them in the late 1800s, go to Bitter Creek Wilderness Study Area. This land is wild, big, windy, and lonely, yet teeming with life for those who linger. Here, badlands roll into grasslands brimming with wildflowers, birds and even the swift fox. A fine time to go is the end of May and early June when the grasses are green, songbirds arrive from their winter spent in Mexico and butterflies flutter among pasque flowers, prairie smoke, sego lilies, cactus and scarlet globemallow.
If you’re searching for velvet black skies bursting with stars and views unimpeded by powerlines or paved roads, this is the place. Curlews are keening in the skies. Short-horned lizards bask in the shale rocks of badlands. White-tailed jackrabbits zigzag in front of you. A Ferruginous Hawk soars above you while the honeyed warble of the Chestnut-Collared Longspur gives voice to the solitude.Back to Top
The sheer magnitude of mixed-grass prairie and badlands connecting north to Canada (see Grasslands National Park) makes Bitter Creek of tri-national importance. Many birds nest here and winter in Mexico. Very few grasslands are left of this size and some of our most serious declines in birds are taking place in the prairies. The designation of Globally Important Bird Area recognizes this grassland as a place of hope for species’ conservation and restoration.Back to Top
The Plains tribes long hunted these lands, as witnessed by tipi rings, arrowheads and other signs of thousands of years of human presence. If you find any artifacts, leave them in place.Back to Top
Driving Britsch Road gives you an excellent view of grasslands close by, with badlands further into the study area. Stop often to get out, scan and listen for bird song. Ward Reservoir can be an excellent place to spend some time during spring or fall migration—water in a dry land always proves to be a magnet for wildlife. Avoid driving any dirt roads after rain—mud and ruts can be treacherous.
May through August for grassland breeding birds
April: Dancing grouse
View Google Map
From Hinsdale, go east about 8 miles on Highway 2 to the Britsch Road.
Turn north on Britsch Road (southern boundary of the Bitter Creek Wilderness
Study Area). Turns into Kerr Road heading east and joins Highway 24 north
of Glasgow. Turn south on Highway 24 to return to Glasgow.
Wards Reservoir, a joint BLM and Ducks Unlimited project ,is located just off Kerr Road, approximately 8 miles west of Highway 24 and is a good place to look for waterfowl and wetland associated birds.
No facilities. Nearest services are in Glasgow.Back to Top
Bureau of Land Management Glasgow Field Station, P.O. Box 871, Glasgow MT 59230; Ph: (406) 228-3750Back to Top