L I TTLE B I GHORN BATT L E FI E LD NPS SITE
Opening hours, facilities and general infomation
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument is open year-round.
Entrance Gate: 8:00 A.M. - 8:00 P.M.
Visitor Center/ Museum/ Book Store: 8:00 A.M. - 7:30 P.M.
Road through the Little Bighorn Battlefield: 8:00 A.M. - 7:00 P.M.
Last Stand Hill & Indian Memorial: 8:00 A.M. - 8:00 P.M.
Spring and Fall hours:
8:00 A.M. - 6:00 P.M.
Tour road: 8:00 A.M. - 5:30 P.M.
Entrance Gate: 8:00 A.M. - 4:30 P.M.
Tour road: 8:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M.
Last Stand Hill & Indian Memorial: 8:00 A.M. - 4:30 P.M.
The Monument is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Fees (raised in 2018)
Private, non-commercial vehicle $25.00
Per person, walk-in or bicycle $15.00
Commercial tour fees also apply
There is no charge for visiting the National Cemetery.
The Little Bighorn NPS site has a visitor center which is open until 1/2 hr before the tour road closes in summer, and the rest of the year is open while the tour road is open. There is a small exhibit about the battle and a gift store where their book section is comprehensive, although highly military-oriented.
Please note that when buying books about the battle it's good to remember that of thousands of books written, many tell stories oriented to the political persuasion of the author, some are deemed 'popular or great' because they are on the back-list of a big publishing house but may never have been updated to include recent research, and few tell both sides of the story. Our reading list and review page is coming soon.
In the visitor center you can view displays about the history leading up to the battle, the weapons used and Indian life in this region. The artifacts on view are being removed soon, and the best place in the area you will be able to see weapons and artifacts from the battle is the Custer Battlefeld Museum at Garryowen.
The only bathrooms available on the Little Bighorn Battlefield site are in the car park across the road from the visitor center.
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument lies in southeastern Montana, and the battlefield itself lies within the Crow Indian Reservation. There are two separate battlefield areas - the Little Bighorn (which some people still refer to as the Custer Battlefield) and also the Reno-Benteen Battlefield area.
The vast majority of the battlefield is on private Crow-owned land and the Park Service has access to the 4 1/2 mile battlefield road, and 6 feet either side of the road. You do not have permission to stray off the NPS area unless you are with a tribal guide who has that access for you.
Without a guide, you should stay on designated paths anyways - to avoid rattlesnakes. Occasionally you will see a snake on a path. Do NOT get close. Do NOT try and make it do it's rattle sound. Snakes can strike two thirds beyond their own length, and their venom is not tolerated well by humans.
To reach the Little Bighorn Battlefield, take I-90 West to exit 510, drive toward the gas station, and up the hill (Hwy 212).
Litle Bighorn Battlefield
Crow Agency, MT
Tours run from May - October. Most tours begin 9.30am
Call for other arrangements.
Meet at the Custer Battlefield Museum at Garryowen
(exit 514 off I90)
Near Last Stand Hill
HOW LONG DOES THE TOUR TAKE?
This tour usually takes between 6 and 8 hours - depending on how many questions you have.
Your choice. If you want to see everything, you need a basic fitness level to be able to walk, but it perfectly feasible to do most of this tour from your car.
Tours are 'step-on' meaning your tour guide will join you in your vehicle with pre-arranged meeting and drop-off points. We do not include meals or hotels although if you would like us to help you organize other aspects of your visit, we can usually help.
ABOUT THE TOUR . . .
Most of our guided day tours at the Little Bighorn start at the Custer Battlefield Museum at Garryowen where you sign up for membership of the association in order to gain access to otherwise non-public lands at about 9:30am. Your guide will meet you there around 10:30am after you have and you are off to the Reno-Benteen fight area first.
Your tour covers some off-site areas that are important to the story, like the Indian camp area, maybe Lone Tipi, and you will explore the 4 mile route through the NPS site, but the difference is that you will be learning about all the landmarks across the battlefield from both perspectives - Indian and military. Because if you don’t understand both sides you can’t really know what actually happened on June 25th, 1876.
Lunch will taken at a local cafe (on your own) and when you meet your guide again, your afternoon will be spent back on the battlefield, tracing the story, hearing about the cultural imperatives of the fight, and retracing the steps of both US and tribal military forces.
Your tour is over when all your questions have been answered, and although you may not think you will have many now, this story is told in such a compelling way and with such passion, that you may be surprised. Most tours are done around 5:30pm.
People tell us that a Go Native America Little Bighorn tour is like going out on the battlefield with one of the participants from that day in1876 who came back for the day to show them around.
Full Day tour (best value) $697 for up to four people
Half Day tour $497 for up to four people
Ride and Guide $550 tour fee plus $145 per rider
Or call 307 699 6015 now
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you consider yourself to be a serious Little Bighorn historian please DO NOT hit the 'book now' button!
Instead please call the office on 307 699 6015 BEFORE BOOKING
Why is it worth spending a whole day on the Battle of the Little Bighorn?
When we claim to offer the best tours at the Little Bighorn, we don't say so lightly. We want our visitors to learn the truth of the events leading to this cataclysmic event on the plains. And remember, the battle was won, but the reverberations of the war still continue to this very day around many Plains Nations.
Of course you will have a great time on your tour, but our guide's responsibility is not just to you. Go Native America guides relate this story for the ancestors, as though the battle participants are standing with you, listening. And their goal is to be sure the story (which cost so many their lives) is told in a way that would make those participants nod, and agree that the truth is being told of their actions, deeds and sacrifices.
To other tour companies, the mission is simply to have a guides learn enough basic information to entertain visitors, load as many mini buses from Billings as they can, and make money. They will 'throw in' excursions to nearby battlefields as a bonus, but don't do that story justice either. To us, this is the difference.
Will I get to walk out across the Little Bighorn Battlefield wherever I'd like to go?
Not just anywhere. The land of the battlefield is privately owned. The Park Service has a lease on the 4 mile road through the battlefield, and has access to 6 feet either side of the road and no further, and permission must be gained for anyone to venture onto the private lands. We get that permission for you, but there are still some restrictions.
Can you offer shorter tours of the Little Bighorn?
Yes. For the first time ever, we are offering shorter tours, but we ask that you consider your tour carefully. If you truly only have a morning or afternoon in your schedule and the alternative is that you can't go with one of our guides at all, then take a 1/2 day tour. Or if you have kids, or other party members with a limited attention span, book the half day or evening tour. But before you do, please read the next FAQ down.
If I do a shorter Battlefield Tour will I get the same information?
No. This story begins long before June 25th, 1876. It is an epic and fascinating tale of the clash of cultures that decimated Plains Indian peoples and it needs and deserves time. We can't tell a story that needs 7-8 hours in half that time, and we don't want to give you less than our best tour. However, sometimes needs must.
Short tours run from 9am-12:30pm, 1pm-4:30pm or 5pm-7pm.
Please call to book - +1.307.699.6015
Why do some people call it the Custer Battlefield?
Very strange that they do! Nowhere else in America is there a battlefield memorial story dedicated to the losers. But here in the West there are many descendants of the US military as well as Native descendants, which may account for the resistance in some quarters to move on and embrace the re-name that was authorized by Congress in 1991.
What's the story with the Indian Monument at the Custer Battlefield / Little Bighorn?
Native people had long asked for there to be something commemorating the battle that noted the Lakota and Cheyenne victory, but this had fallen on deaf ears until finally a competition was dreamed up to design a monument to the indigenous story. Many assumed it would be opened to Native people, so they could tell their own story (something that is lacking in interpretive signs talks at the site to this day) but actually it was opened to artists worldwide.
The architect who won was John R. Collins from Philadelphia, and he won the memorial design contest without ever setting foot in the West, beating 563 others designs.
Can I horseback ride at the Little Bighorn Battlefield?
Yes! We send rides out at 8am and 4pm, but you MUST BOOK AHEAD! We do not accept walk-in bookings because this isn't the kind of nose to tail ride where horses are left saddled and tied all day in the hope that tourists will show up!
You don't need to be an experienced rider, but follow the word of your wrangler, wear shoes/boots with heels (absolutely no trainers or flipflops) and take water and a sunhat. Book here
What else is there to do in the area of the Little Bighorn?
There are multiple related sites in the area and we offer Native American guiding at all of them:
The Battle of the Rosebud - Take the grassy path that leads through the valley toward the Old Buffalo Jump. Hear of the stories of the battle’s participants who were involved in a titanic struggle, which lasted more than 6 hours and how on June 17 went down in Cheyenne history as one of outstanding bravery – the story of the Fight Where the Girl Saved Her Brother was an event of cultural magnitude and inspiration which still resonates in the present day culture of the Cheyenne people.
The Deer Medicine Rocks - It was here, in 1876, that the Lakota chief Sitting Bull had a vision of soldiers tumbling into his camp, and carved this script into the stone - the figures, though a little faint, are very visible. Not long after that, not far from here, at a place history remembers as Little Bighorn, the men of General George Custer’s 7th Cavalry played their parts, as predicted.
The Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation - The Cheyenne culture is complex, deeply spiritual and beautiful, the Tsitsistas language is still spoken, and traditional people have retained their ways. Formerly named the Tongue River Indian Reservation, the 707 square miles of what nearly 5000 residents call ‘God’s Country’ is the home of the Tsitsistas – the Morning Star People, or the Northern Cheyenne.
The Fetterman Miscalculation - If you are interested in visiting the site where Captain Fetterman led his 80 men in a forbidden charge over Lodge Trail Ridge, resulting in ambush finely planned by Lakota military leader Crazy Horse, please call the office on 307 699 6015. We offer this tour only as part of a two-tour package.
Discover the Little Bighorn - If you are very interested in all things Little Bighorn, then this exploration is the trip
for you. Spend three days in the company of one of the finest tribal historians on the Plains, visit places off limits to the general public and learn the intricacies of tribal warfare in cultural context. Learn more here