Map of Big Hole National Battlefield in Montana
Basic information for visitors to the Big Hole National Battlefield In southwestern Montana, near Wisdom.
Big Hole National Battlefield in southwestern Montana, near Wisdom.
One of the West's most tragic stories played out on this battlefield. In 1877 the U.S. Army was charged with forcing resistant Nez Perce Indians onto a reservation in Idaho. In the same year, a few Nez Perce warriors killed several white settlers as retribution for Nez Perce deaths and mistreatment at the hands of white people. The bloodshed provoked a massive manhunt and the beginning of a 1,500-mi odyssey. The Nez Perce fled north from their homeland in central Idaho, pursued by the U.S. Army. The tribe engaged 10 separate U.S. commands in 13 battles and skirmishes. One of the fiercest of these took place at Big Hole Battlefield, where both sides suffered serious losses. The site was established as a national monument in 1910, transferred to the Park Service in 1933, and changed to a National Battlefield in 1963.
WHAT TO SEE & DO
Cross-country skiing, fishing, picnicking, snowshoeing, touring battlefield, watching introductory video. Facilities: Visitor center, museum, movie, guided tours, hiking trails. Book and map sales, picnic tables. Programs & Events: Guided hikes, interpretive talks (June-Aug.). Big Hole Battle Annual Commemoration (weekend near Aug. 9). Tips & Hints: Busiest July and Aug., least crowded Dec. and Jan.
FOOD, LODGING & SUPPLIES
& Camping: None at site. In Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest: May Creek Campground (Rte. 43, 17 mi west of Wisdom, tel. 406/689-3243; 21 sites; $7; pit toilets; closed Labor Day-July). S Hotels: None in park. In Jackson: Jackson Hot Springs Lodge (Rte. 278, tel. 406/834-3151; 20 rooms; $33-$75). In Wisdom: Nez Perce Motel (Rte. 43, tel. 406/689-3254; 8 rooms; $53). X Restaurants: None in park. In Wisdom: Antler Saloon (Main St., tel. 406/689-9393; $9-$14), Big Hole Crossing Restaurant (105 Park St. tel. 406/689-3800; $5-$8; no dinner Tues. and Wed. Labor Day-June). Groceries & Gear: None in park. In Wisdom: Conovers Trading Post (Rte. 43, tel. 406/689-3272), Wisdom Market (Rte. 43, tel. 406/689-3271).
FEES, HOURS & REGULATIONS
Entrance fee (collected Memorial Day-late Sept.): $3 per person or $5 per car. Montana state fishing license required. Pets only in parking areas; must be leashed. No hunting. Trails open until dusk. Visitor center open daily 9-5, with extended, variable hours Memorial Day-Labor Day.
HOW TO GET THERE
10 mi west of Wisdom via Rte. 43. Closest airport: Missoula (100 mi).
Big Hole National Battlefield (Box 237, Wisdom, MT 59761, tel. 406/ 689-3155, fax 406/689-3151)
Big Hole National Battlefield. Basic information for visitors to the Big Hole National Battlefield In southwestern Montana, near Wisdom.