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Before You Go


Centennial Valley is a remote and wild place. There are no services for at least 30 miles. Plan ahead and be prepared in all aspects of your trip.

27700 South Valley Road, Lima, MT 59739


We suggest high-clearance and 4WD/AWD vehicles (i.e. SUVs) for maximum excursion opportunities around the Centennial.

  • Gas up before entering Centennial Valley. From the west (I-15) fill up in DuBois or Idaho Falls. From the East fill up in West Yellowstone or Island Park.
  • There is no cell service in the Valley. Please call the visitor center when you get gas. It helps us know when to expect you. Leave a message with your name, time, and location so we can be on the lookout. Office Phone: 406-276-3320
  • Be aware that South Valley Rd is a well-maintained dirt road. We recommend driving 35 mph (even though the speed limit is 45 mph). Driving Slowly reduces your chance of a flat tire (a common occurrence) and demonstrates respect for both wildlife and Valley residents.
  • If you are driving a personal vehicle, please wash the underside of your vehicle before entering Centennial Valley to reduce the spread of noxious weeds, which can be harmful to wildlife, livestock, and the ecosystem. These seeds often hitchhike on tires and in wheel wells. 

Detailed driving directions can be found on our website. However, searching Lakeview, MT on a navigation app will also work. Please note that you will likely lose cell service before you get to the exit for Centennial Valley. 

Student Dorm
If you are staying in the student dorm (our 19 bed facility) you will need to bring a sleeping bag and pad, a towel and toiletries.

University Village
University Village cabins are provided with a cot and a desk. You will need to bring: a sleeping bag and pad, a towel, and toiletries and a pillow. You will a pad for added insulation and padding on the cot.

Rustic Cabins
These cabins are supplied with bedding and towels, but please bring your own toiletries. We strongly recommend guests staying only a couple of nights to bring a sleeping bag and towel to help us increase our sustainability measures.

  • Cell phone service is not available at the Center, or in most of Centennial Valley.
  • Wi-Fi is available in the meeting hall. Messaging and video chat apps suite most people’s communication needs, and most smartphones are capable of being set up for Wi-Fi calling.
  • If needed, a land line is available in the visitor center.

We encourage our guests to appreciate the opportunity to disconnect, and to use communication services sparingly. 

  • We offer catering services and ask that you inform your instructor about any dietary allergies at least two weeks prior to arriving on site.
  • We also encourage you to bring snacks and beverages. The student dorm and the University Village both have large refrigerators. Our rustic cabins have mini fridges. Traveling quickly to a grocery store isn’t practical, so plan carefully for your stay.

  • If you leave the property – whether hiking or driving-- you must write down your travel plans on the office whiteboard and tell a peer. Traveling in groups is recommended.
  • Mosquitos are common June-July. Bring repellant.
  • Plan for altitude and sun. At an elevation of 6,600 ft, the sun burns and dehydrates quickly. Nights can also be chilly. Bring sunscreen, a canteen, and layers of clothing.
  • On your first night, we will discuss bear safety and other Center protocols. Bear spray is provided and required on all field excursions.

  • Medical care is at least an hour away. Be cognizant of your safety. Please bring your medications, and tell your instructor, in advance, about any allergies or conditions. Alert your instructor and Center staff immediately if injuries or medical conditions occur.
  • The following phone numbers can be used to contact the Center in the event of a serious emergency: 406-276-3202 or 406-276-3207
  • Upon your arrival, we will review our emergency response plan and provide additional safety guidelines and regulations.

  • We recycle plastic bottles (#1 and #2 plastics only), aluminum and tin cans, and paper. There are no nearby glass-recycling facilities. Please bring any glass back with you.
  • We make efforts to limit the amount of trash we generate. This includes not supplying dispensable single-use bottles. We appreciate your help.

  • Possession or distribution of alcoholic beverages by underage students is not allowed per University policy and Utah and Montana state laws. Alcohol misuse and abuse will not be tolerated.
  • Possession and use of illegal drugs and smoking within 50 feet of buildings are forbidden.
  • Use of the firepit must be cleared with Center staff. A faculty member must be present at all times and will be responsible for ensuring campfires are extinguished.
  • Permission from faculty and Center staff must also be granted for the following activities: use of Rosie’s Cantina, climbing the fire tower, and leaving the Center.
  • We strive to be good neighbors to the Red Rock Lakes Wildlife Refuge staff. Quiet hours begin at 10PM.
  • Children under the age of 18 are not allowed as overnight guest at the Center
  • Guests are not allowed to bring pets to the Center


  • Sleeping bag (if in dorms). Pillow, sleeping bag and pad (if in University Village)
  • Towel
  • Toiletries, personal items, medicine
  • Water bottle
  • Sun screen
  • Bug spray
  • Sturdy closed toed shoes
  • Backpack or daypack
  • Rain Jacket
  • Layers for sun and bug protection --pants and long sleeve shirt—as well as some for warmth -- a hat, gloves and warm jacket – as days are sunny but nights can be cold.
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Any additional items required by instructor


  • Sunglasses and/or hat
  • Camera
  • Binoculars

Optional – provided your instructor allows

  • Fishing gear W/Montana permit
  • Swimsuit
  • Bike

Guest Forms

Guest forms must be filled out prior to arrival at the Taft-Nicholson Center

Taft-Nicholson Liability Waiver Form


Last Updated: 3/22/24