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GREAT FALLS BUBBLY

Native Americans revered it, directly connecting it to a Blackfeet Indian Sun god.Lewis and Clark stumbled into it while portaging around the "Great Falls" of the Missouri River. And today, you can still experience it for yourself---by the gallon.

“It” is Giant Springs, one of the largest freshwater springs in the world. Flowing at a measured 338 million gallons of water per day the water stays at a constant temperature of 54 degrees and has been carbon dated to be about 3,000 years old. It originates high in the Little Belt Mountains where rainfall and melted snow filter down through cracks in the 250 million year old Madison Limestone Formation.

More than a quarter million people visit the historic springs each year at the Giant Springs Heritage State Park located in Great Falls. They come to picnic on its shores, visit the fish hatchery (the rainbows and browns thrive in the cold, crystalline water) and visitors center, walk along the Rivers’ Edge Trail and view the nearby Rainbow Falls or visit the neighboring Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center.

Some come just to wiggle their fingers or skip a pebble in the shortest river in the world. Yes, that is correct.The Guinness Book of World Records has proclaimed the Roe River, fed by one of the “largest” springs in the world, to be the shortest river in the world. It has been measured on different occasions, with lengths varying from 58 feet to 200 feet. The tiny river connects Giant Springs to the Missouri River.