CROWSNEST Horseback rides
RIDE FROM THE CROWSNEST TO THE LITTLE BIGHORN - split over 2 days
You must be insured to do this ride and you must sign an indemnity waiver taking full responsibility for your choice to ride from the Crow’s Nest to the Little Bighorn.
This is a 18 mile trail, taken over 2 days wth about 4-5 hours riding each day to complete.
This ride covers uncharted reservation lands.
There are NO conveniences,
There is NO cell service,
You MUST pack in everything you may need - food, water etc
You MUST pack it out too! Y
You must wear heeled shoes or boots. Absolutely no trainers or flip-flops please. If you don't have safe footwear you will not be able to ride and will lose your deposit.
IMPORTANT TO KNOW:
This ride is NOT available every year. Some years we are not able to get the necessary permissions from the multiple land-owners across the Crowsnest Trail. Please call if you are interested. If we cannot offer a Crowsnest ride, sometimes we can offer an alternative long trail ride.
If you want to ride from the Crow’s Nest to the Little Bighorn you MUST be an experienced rider, and should be used to very long rides. No exceptions!
The wranglers will not take anyone on this ride unless they are convinced they have the experience, horsemanship and stamina to do it. As it is, we split the ride over two days because it is a tough one! We do NOT offer this ride as a one day - 10 hour experience. Nobody ends up enjoying that... not even the wranglers who are worldclass horsemen and used to very long hours in the saddle.
Please don't overestimate your abilities in the saddle. Understand that should you fall off you are a long way from help, and you have undertaken this ride knowing this is the case. Please do not book this ride unless you already know you can manage approx 5 hours in the saddle both days.
We start early at 7am to trailer the horses up to the start of each day's Crow’s Nest ride, and then take the rest of the day to ride, as Custer rode, toward the fateful scene of the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
STILL INTERESTED? READ ON...
Custer was hell bent on finding and subduing the Cheyenne and Lakota Indians; for what better way to make his presidential pitch to the American people than to have solved the ‘Indian Problem’ and gained a great victory on the Plains?
Custer was part of a three pronged campaign intended to shepherd the Sioux and Cheyenne back to the reservation, and consisting of General John Gibbon, marching east from Fort Ellis (near present-day Bozeman, Montana), General Alfred Terry (and including Custer) headed west from Fort Abraham Lincoln near Bismark, North Dakota, and General George Crook moving north from Wyoming into Montana.
Sent to scout ahead of the planned June 26th rendezvous, Custer departed June 22nd and fervently marched his men 84 miles in just three days in search of the Lakota and Cheyenne. Near present day Lame Deer, MT, he discovered evidence of the Great Sundance at which Sitting Bull had pledged his flesh in exchange for a vision of victory to come for his people and then as he and his command drew closer, fresher evidence of a native presence through the area arose.
By early morning of June 25th Custer was concealing his command at the Crow’s Nest. The Crow’s Nest was a vantage point in the Wolf Mountains, in the divide between the Bighorn and Rosebud valleys from where he could see the smoke of the Indian camps, watch the pony herds mill and graze, and certainly would know if or when the villages started to move.
And it was up here that Custer decided that he had been discovered and would need to organize and attack quickly before the villages scattered. Dividing his forces into four groups, he gave orders to Major Reno and Captain Benteen, told his Crow scouts (who were singing their death songs, knowing what was to come) that they were discharged from duty, and the fate of the 7th Cavalrymen was sealed.
Where: The Crow's Nest to the Little Bighorn Battlefield
Duration: 7 am start and probably finished around 1pm each day
Meeting Place: Garryowen (full directions emailed to you upon booking)
Availability? This is a specialized trail and you must call the office
Activity level: High! You must be an experienced rider and be used to long rides.
Cost: $550 for the first person, $350 per additional rider in your group.
How hot does it get in Montana in summer?
Temperatures vary through the summer, anywhere from high 70s to mid 90s, but expect hot days and balmy nights.
What should I wear?
Be comfortable! Jeans are fine, and if its a hot day, long sleeves are a good idea to avoid sunburn - there is no shelter from the sun out on the battlefield. You need shoes/boots with heels. Please don't try to ride without - it is not safe.
Bring sunscreen, and a hat is a good idea.
Note: The wranglers do not offer riding helmets. If you feel you need one, please bring one with you.
Do I need to be a good rider?
No. You don't need to be an experienced rider, and the wranglers will make sure you know what you are doing before you leave the to cross the Little Bighorn River. That said, you do need to have the confidence that you will enjoy your horseback experience. If you are a nervous rider, this may not be for you. Please do NOT persuede friends/family members to ride if they don't want to - it's miserable to be on horseback if you are scared. We can offer you ideas for other things in the area to occupy non-riders in your party while YOU ride.
Will my wrangler tell the story of the battle as we ride across the battlefield?
This is a ride across the battlefield and your wrangles will point out land features and historical places, but they are not historians per se, and the point is the experience of riding in the footsteps of Crazy Horse and Custer rather than a blow-by-blow account as you ride.
Is there a weight restriction for riders?
We need to know if anyone in your party is 230 lb or above. This doesn't mean you can't ride, but we do need to have the right horses available.
Is there an age restriction for riders?
We don't have a specific age, but we don't recommend the ride for kids. This is not nose-to-tail riding, and although we can sometimes offer kids horses or leading reins, it can be a hot and lengthy ride for youngsters. Most 13 year olds (and up) love this ride.
We don't have an upper limit either - people know their own abilities and usually know if they feel able to sit on a horse for 3 hours, but if you are older, please don't over-estimate yourself. If the ride does become too much for you, we can have someone come and pick you up, but please understand we have to pay them and pass the $100 charge on to you.
Am I insured to ride?
Not by us. You should check your own vacation insurance to be sure you are insured to ride. Not all insurance packages include horseback riding, and you may need to pay an additional charge to cover yourself. Like everyone who rides in the Western states, you MUST sign a waiver form indemnifying us and holding us harmless in the event of any injury of any kind. We (Little Bighorn Tours, Go Native America or the Real Bird Family) are not responsible for any injury you may sustain on a Little Bighorn Horseback Ride.
Will I get to ride on Last Stand Hill?
The Monument at Last Stand Hill is out of bounds to riders. It is a pedestrian area and we do not ride horseback to it. You are welcome to visit the area yourself on foot before or after your ride, and you should definitely take time to visit the Indian Memorial while you are there.
Will there bathroom breaks?
No. Sorry, but there are no facilities on the battlefield, and not even any trees/bushes where you couldn't be seen from most directions!
Riders need to be able to manage without a comfort stop for 3 hours. The nearest bathrooms are at the gas station or the Custer Battlefield Trading Post on the hill across from the National Park Service entrance to the battlefield.
If you have further questions, please EMAIL HERE
Riders in this group came from Sweden, Australia and Philadelphia! Image taken near Medicine Tail Coulee
Little Bighorn Battlefield Ride wranglers are as experienced horsemen as you will find anywhere in the world.
Outside Explorer TV show presenter, Tierza, looks across the battlefield for a landmark where Crazy Horse rode.
Did you know: the US Army still brings companies of soldiers on 'staff rides' every year to study the tactics that were used here at the Little Bighorn
RIDE TO THE LITTLE BIGHORN FROM THE ROSEBUD
Can we do this? Can we really offer you the chance to ride the Rosebud Battlefield
Actually we can, but it takes A LOT of arranging. But this is a LONG ride - several miles, rough ground, and takes multiple hours. If you want to do this you better be pretty hardy, and fully insured!
Please EMAIL THE OFFICE to discuss dates, rates and logistics. We are starting a special mailing list for folks who would be interested in doing this ride in the hope that if we have several people sign up we can defray their costs somewhat.
We will need your name, phone number and the month you would ideally like to ride.
We will not call you unless we know we are getting close to having enough prospective riders.