Summer doesn’t mean you have to stop hiking; you just have to know what to do if you encounter wildlife on the trail. At 1st People's Buffalo Jump State Park near Great Falls, that wildlife is likely to be a snake, so the park is hosting a guided hike with "Dan The Snake Man” on Saturday afternoon, May 7th. Participants will learn where snakes like to hide and what to do when you find them on the trails. Bring your camera and get some great photos while enjoying the park.

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

First Peoples Buffalo Jump Park is located 3.5 miles north of Ulm, just off Interstate 15 at Exit 270. Admission to the park is free for Montana residents, and non-residents pay $8 per vehicle.

To register, call the park at 406-866-2217, or email park ranger Alice Southworth at alice.southworth@mt.gov   For more information about the park visit the website.

The Montana State University Extension Serbice offers a free MontGuide publication with a lot of information...including how to identify their favorite hiding places in your yard. Download a copy HERE.

According to MSU Extension experts, these are the types of snakes you're most likely to encounter 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.