Situated near the town ofBillings, Montana, Acton Recreation Area is laid upon 3,800 acres of diverse topography and managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Standing on a high cliff, visitors will be able to see and appreciate this diversity as they survey minor badlands, weathered shale, steep drainages, upland bluffs of Eagle sandstone that date back to the Cretaceous period, and stands of scattered ponderosa pine.
With such versatility of landscape comes an even larger variety of wildlife species. Various species of birds and animals provide visitors with a rich wildlife viewing opportunity.
Photographers and wildlife enthusiasts aren’t the only ones who’d enjoy this recreation area - hikers, mountain bikers, hunters and horseback riders would also appreciate all the opportunities they’ll find at this recreation site.
The 6.6 miles of roads designated for motorized vehicles are enjoyed by all nature enthusiasts who like to go for long drives surrounded by natural beauty. Acton Recreation Area offers endless recreation possibilities year-round.
For example, there are all the historical dwellings Acton Recreation Area has preserved over time. Since the recreation site is part of the Hoskins Basin Archeological District, the aboriginal wooden dwellings are part of its many charms. These dwellings, along with the wildlife in the area, are sensitive, which is why off-road motorized vehicles are strictly prohibited in Acton Recreation Area.
Past the town of Acton, Montana, head north and onto Highway 3. Take a sharp right to Oswald Road, which can be spotted between marker 18 and 19. Continue for a little less than seven miles until you reach Haeg Road and turn right. Two and a half miles away, there is a parking lot and an entrance to Acton Recreation Area.
The entire road from Billings to Acton Recreation Area is very well maintained and paved. Most of the drive is through the town of Billings and hence the roadside is populated. It is only during the last few minutes that you’ll find yourself driving through the flat desert areas.
Another route to the Acton Recreation Area is from Billings. In that case, make sure you head towards the village of Acton because all the alternate routes are on the back roads and you can run into trouble.
If you are looking for a more relaxing and luxurious desert camping experience, then drive down to Billings, KOA which is just about an hour’s drive away from Acton Recreation Area. Billings KOA campground boasts more than 160 RV and tent sites.
RV sites are available with full-hookup services including 20/30/50 amp electric hook-ups, as well as water and sewage hook-ups. The campground has oversized concrete patios and porch swings. Pets are allowed on campsites and the maximum RV length is 99-feet. Restrooms, showers, and laundry services are also available.
Acton Recreation Area is maintained by the Bureau of Land Management and so is the campground present here. There are just two RV campsites here with few amenities. One is located right at the entrance and comes equipped with a picnic table and a cooking grill. The other campsite is located further down the dirt road, and this one too has a picnic table and a cooking grill. Near the entrance of the recreation site, you’ll also find a vault toilet.
Pets are allowed at the campsite as long as they are leashed. Since this is BLM owned land, tent camping is around anywhere in the wilderness region. Make sure to camp in previously disturbed campsites if possible.
If there’s one thing Acton Recreation Area is exclusively known for, it is its bike trails. The recreation area has seven trails and all of them are moderately crowded because of their popularity.
Many visitors and campers alike make the trip to Acton Recreational Area for the sole purpose of mountain biking. These seven trails vary in their difficulty and skill level, yet it goes without saying that there’s a trail suitable for riders of all skill levels. The trail map outlines all the trailheads, so make sure to acquire one prior to biking. Some of these trails are multi-purpose and can be used for hiking and horseback riding.
There are numerous hiking trails at Acton Recreation Site. Red Line Trail, for instance, is a moderate hiking trail with a few drops and jumps. It’s really muddy so you need to prepare accordingly and travel as light as possible. The trail is single-track and has certain challenging sections. There are, however, alternate routes around the jumps, tight bends, and drops. This trail goes downhill only. Other popular hiking trails include Roller Coaster trail, Owl Be Back, Bandit, Tumbleweed trail and many more.
Acton Recreation Area is situated within the Hoskins Basin Archaeological District and therefore home to numerous remains of distinctive aboriginal wooden dwellings that are cribbed and conical. These wooden dwellings are unique and rare, and only ever found in south-central Montana and northern Wyoming.
Sadly, these dwellings are extremely sensitive and time and weather are slowly making them disappear. In a few years, there might be no traces left of them at all. Ask for directions to these dwellings at the front office.
As previously mentioned, the landscape at Acton Recreation Area is diverse and attracts lots of birds to migrate to these parts and call this little oasis their home.
Principal birdlife here includes shorebirds, raptors, waterfowl, eagles, and sharp-tailed grouse. Birds of special interest found here are solitary sandpiper, short-eared owl, long-eared owl, peregrine falcon, and Baird’s sparrow.
Plenty of multi-purpose marked and unmarked trails cut through this diverse terrain and can be explored via bikes, hiking, and horseback. Equestrians will have immense fun taking on the various trails as they pose a variety of challenges.
From flat open plains to rugged and narrow passes, Acton Recreation Area offers an adventurous and thrilling experience to those who prefer exploring wilderness regions on horseback.
Wildlife enthusiasts and nature photographers must sit back calmly and wait patiently and they might just be rewarded with the sight of wildlife here. Common species of wildlife include pronghorn, badger, muskrat, skunk, and coyote. These animals are hard to spot but if encountered, make sure you admire them from afar.