Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument Highpoint Trip Report

Date: July 1, 2007
Author: John Mitchler

General Description: An easily accessible historic hill in south central Montana, in the center of rolling grassland
overlooking the Little Bighorn Creek, at one of the most famous battle sites in the United States.

Distance: 0.1 mile one-way
Difficulty: Easy walk
Elevation gain: 50 feet
Summit elevation: 3,440 feet
Maps: Crow Agency (optional) USGS Quad, DeLorme p. 31.
Access/permits: Open / None required / $10 per car
Best months: Year-round
Visitor Centers: Visitor Center near entrance of Custer Battlefield Unit,
about 4 miles west of the Reno-Benteen Battlefield Unit which hosts the highpoint.

Highpoint Description: Grassy ridge along the park road.

Finding the trailhead:
Take Exit 510 off I-90, and head north on US 212. At mile 0.5, turn right (east) on the paved road to the monument. Reach the park entrance station at mile 1.1. Pay fee and continue to Visitor Center at mile 1.3, from which you can see Last Stand Hill at mile 1.5. This is the site of Custerís Last Stand. Continue east on the narrow park road, passing through Weir Point at mile 5.2, and reaching a pullout at mile 6.0 with the highpoint ridge on your left (north). The park road ends at mile 6.4 at the Reno-Benteen Battlefield site.

Key points along the hike:
0.0   Pullout along park road at the fenced west edge of the Reno-Benteen Unit
0.0   Cross park road
0.0   saddle between road and Sharpshooter Ridge
0.1   Sharpshooter Ridge

The hike:
At the pullout, read the informative displays before crossing the narrow park highway. Hike north cross-country toward the prominent ridge, descending 10 feet at first, before gaining 50 feet to the ridge top. The highest ground on the ridge is obvious, and is well within the park boundary which is marked by wire fencing. Consider wearing long pants for this hike as the grass will scratch your skin and will leave numerous seeds in your socks. Watch for rattlesnakes, and avoid the ridge during thunderstorms. Snow may close the road which would add 4.7 miles to your hike. Many people do hike this route, but not in the summer when the sun can be brutally hot.

About the park: A famous, and infamous, page in the history of the Indian battles, during which European settlement of the West clashed with the Plains Indian culture. Formerly known as Custer Battlefield, this site was renamed by President George H. Bush to reflect the affect on the Indian tribes who participated in defending their way of life. After undergoing serious forensic analysis as documented in National Geographic magazine, a visit to this park will provide you a detail examination of the events of the battles that took place. Monuments scattered across this land mark the location where warriors from both sides fell.

Camping and services:
Exit 510 off I-90 has full services.