In order to help dispel the overriding cultural myth that the Great Plains are flat, I will devote the next several blogs to various places and regions within the plains which feature significant topographic relief.
The Great Plains on the whole are rarely entirely flat, and generally exhibit a gently rolling character, which is occasionally peppered by buttes or carved by small canyons and washes. There are, however, a number of areas where significant hills, and even mountains, can be found:
The “Island Mountains” of Montana – To the east of the Rocky Mountain Front, the plains are doted by a group of landforms that are collectively known as “island” ranges. They appear out of the ocean of grass as islands appear out of the sea. Some of these ranges have significant local relief (more than 3,000 feet), and it should be noted that although some may be in close proximity to the actual Rocky Mountains, they are not a part of them geographically, geologically, or ecologically. They are their own dog (so to speak). They are also uniquely alluring and beautiful, I think you will find.
Below are a list of the island ranges in Montana with accompanying photos if you click on the links. Enjoy!