Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

Overview

Introduction

This large, impressive battlefield, 55 mi/89 km southeast of Billings, memorializes one of the final armed efforts by Native Americans to preserve their land and way of life. On 25-26 June 1876, Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and 12 companies of the Seventh Cavalry were defeated by several thousand Lakota Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians, including Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, in what has become known as "Custer's Last Stand." The site was originally named Custer Battlefield National Memorial, but in 1991, the U.S. Congress ordered the construction of an Indian Memorial and changed the site's name to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in order to honor the sacrifices of the Native Americans.

Begin at the visitors center, where you can pick up information about the site. Park ranger presentations about the battle and related information are available Memorial Day to Labor Day, with the anniversary commemoration of the battle on 25 June. Allow a full day to visit the museum, see the national cemetery and view the battlefield, which includes Last Stand Hill, where Custer and 209 of his men died. Tours of Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument are available from Apsaalooke Tours of Little Big Horn College; the one-hour bus tour is narrated by a Native American guide.

Self-guided driving tours along the 5-mi/8-km tour road will take you to battle-related sites and the national cemetery. You might opt for an auto/audio tour of the area: CDs that provide commentary can be purchased at the visitors center. The White Swan Memorial Library, the historic original park superintendent's headquarters, houses the office of the park historian and extensive research materials (by appointment only). You can also drive to the Reno-Benteen Battlefield, 5 mi/8 km southeast of the battlefield, where the rest of Custer's command battled the Indians. Rosebud Battlefield State Park, adjacent to the Crow Indian Reservation 40 mi/64 km south of Little Bighorn, is where Gen. George Crook and his troops fought in June of 1876 before the Battle of Little Bighorn.

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