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Three of the five Waterfalls known as
The Great Falls of the Missouri River in
Great Falls, Montana
May 28, 2016

The Great Falls of the Missouri River are a series of waterfalls on the Missouri River in north-central Montana in the United States. The five falls, which are located in a 10-mile area of the river are:

  • Black Eagle Falls (26 feet 5 inches);

  • Colter Falls (6 feet 7 inches;

  • Rainbow Falls (47 feet);

  • Crooked Falls, also known as Horseshoe Falls (19 feet;

  • The Great Falls (87 feet).

The Missouri River drops a total of 612 feet from the first of the falls to the last, which includes 187 feet of waterfalls and 425 feet of riverbed descent.

The Great Falls of the Missouri River were depicted on the Montana Territory territorial seal, and became part of the State of Montana's state seal in 1893.

Lewis and Clark expected to find two falls according to information they had from natives. They found five. Four exist today in this heavily dammed section of the Missouri River. One is flooded by a dam lake. A river road provides access to viewpoints from which you can see the falls.

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

Above and Below: Rainbow Falls (originally "Handsome Falls") is a waterfall on the Missouri River in Great Falls, Montana, just upstream from Crooked Falls and downstream from Colter Falls and Rainbow Dam. It is 47 feet high and 1,320 feet wide. The waterfall is part of the five Great Falls of the Missouri. The river spills over a sheer ledge of sandstone in the Kootenai Formation, forming the falls. The falls used to flow with a great deal of force year-round. In 1914 the river shortly upstream was dammed for hydroelectric power by the Rainbow Dam, which forms a run-of-the-river reservoir. As a result, the falls can almost totally dry up in the summer with only a few narrow strips of water trickling down its face. A railroad bridge crosses the river directly above the falls. The red rocks add to the beauty and the sheer drop off makes Rainbow Falls sort of resemble a much smaller version of Niagara Falls.

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

Below: Crooked Falls - as seen from the above Rainbow Falls overlook

Crooked Falls

Crooked Falls

Sacagawea Scenic Overlook & Black Eagle Falls

Sacagawea Scenic Overlook sign

Lewis, Clark, and Sacagawea statues

Lewis, Clark, and Sacagawea statues

Lewis, Clark, and Sacagawea statues

Lewis, Clark, and Sacagawea plaque

Lewis, Clark, and Sacagawea statues and Lee Duquette

Lewis, Clark, and Sacagawea statues and Lee Duquette

view of the Missouri River

sign about Black Eagle Falls

Black Eagle Falls is located right in town along the riverside trail, plus it can be accessed from the north end of the Missouri River as well. There is an island park on the north side that gives a closer look of the falls than the more popular south shore overlook.

 Black Eagle Falls and dam

 Black Eagle Falls

Menu for the two RV Gypsies Adventures
in Montana
(sites 17-20 on the 2016 USA map)
May 22-31, 2016

You may visit these sites in any order you choose.
There is also a link to Alberta, Canada below.

green bullet travel photos and Billings Village RV Park - (site 17)

green bullet Billings Welcome Center

green bullet Chief Plenty Coups State Park

green bullet Famous Dave's Restaurant

green bullet Pictograph Cave State Park - two pages

green bullet Pompeys Pillar - two pages

green bullet Riverfront Park

green bullet Swords Rimrock Park - Scenic Park

green bullet Yellowstone Kelly

bar & barn divide bar

green bullet Conestoga Campground in White Sulphur Springs (site 18)

green bullet Natural Mineral Hot Springs in White Sulphur Springs

bar & barn divide bar

green bullet RV driving day and snow lingering alongside the road - (site 19)

green bullet Fort Benton, Montana- the birthplace of Montana

green bullet Veteran's Memorial Park

green bullet Upper Missouri River Breaks Interpretive Nat'l Monument

bar & barn divide bar

Places in Great Falls Montana - (site # 20)

green bullet Great Falls, MT: paintings, bridges, statues, Pasta Montana

green bullet The Historical Depot Building

green bullet The Montana Veteran's Memorial

green bullet Lewis & Clark National Historic Interpretive Center - 2 pages

green bullet Giant Springs State Park, springs, waterfall, long & short rivers

green bullet Rainbow, Crooked, & Black Eagle Falls & Sacagawea Overlook

green bullet Gibson Park: statues and a Flower Garden

Look Below for more navigation

continue on to the next adventure of the two RV Gypsies AFTER you have seen all of the above sections, please continue on to Alberta, Canada in June, 2016