Skip to main content

MONTANA

visitmt.com

explore

The Beauty of Little Bighorn Country

Steeped in history, this swatch of southeastern Montana is also brimming with dinosaur bones, rugged landscapes, and outdoor adventures

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
Download the full guide
Outside's Six Ultimate Road Trips

GETTING TO MONTANA IS EASIER THAN EVER

The Beauty of Little Bighorn Country

The wide-open spaces and canyons of eastern Montana take travelers through epochs, from dinosaur bones to the Little Bighorn battle site to classic western ranching towns like Miles City. If history, solitude, and space are what you’re after, you’ll find them in abundance on this road trip.

The Beauty of Little Bighorn Country

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

Book one of Indian Battle Tours’ Native American guides to explore the site where soldiers led by Lieutenant Colonel George Custer clashed with Sioux and Cheyenne warriors under the leadership of Sitting Bull. In addition to highlighting the history of the battle and the life of the Plains Indians, the site is also home to Custer National Cemetery, the interment site for unknown veterans of past wars.​

EAT & STAY: Buy one of the many historical books at the Custer Battlefield Trading Post & Café, then sit on the patio and order a hand-cut rib-eye steak. Oakwood Lodge, 25 miles west of Broadus, sits on 1,000 acres, and its owners whip up a hearty ranch breakfast.

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

Ekalaka and Surroundings

On the way to Ekalaka, detour to the Chalk Buttes, white sandstone formations in the Custer Gallatin National Forest. There are no designated trails, so make sure you have the proper maps and supplies before you set out to explore these lesser-known buttes. In Ekalaka, visit the Carter County Museum, home to the first juvenile T. rex skeleton, before moving on to Medicine Rocks State Park, which Teddy Roosevelt called “as fantastically beautiful a place as I have ever seen,” thanks to its sandstone pillars and abundance of antelope and sharp-tailed grouse.

EAT & STAY: Not surprisingly, RB’s Home Cooking in Ekalaka offers home-cooked daily specials. In Baker, 36 miles north, stay at one of ten new Jackson Village Cabins, each with full kitchens and barbecue grills.

Ekalaka and Surroundings

Makoshika State Park

Makoshika State Park, off I-94, is Montana’s largest state park and a bounty of badlands fun, with more than ten miles of hiking and mountain biking trails and a newly remodeled visitor center that houses a triceratops skull.​

EAT & STAY: In Wibaux, 30 miles east of Makoshika State Park, Beaver Creek Brewery makes pizza and brews tasty beers. Yellowstone Bluffs Bed and Breakfast sits on a sandstone bluff overlooking the Yellowstone River.

Makoshika State Park

Billings

Billings will feel like a metropolis after the solitude of the last few days. The Yellowstone River flows right through town. Check in with Big Sky Fly Fishers to hire a guide on the Yellowstone or nearby Bighorn River. The sandstone Rimrocks surrounding the city are where the locals blow off steam climbing, hiking, and mountain biking. Steep World Climbing and Fitness has details on climbing, and the Spoke Shop rents mountain bikes. Be sure to check out the Western Heritage Center downtown, which covers the history of the 72,000 square miles of the Yellowstone watershed.

EAT & STAY: After visiting one of the city’s eight breweries, be sure to save room for meatloaf at The Fieldhouse. The freshly rehabbed Northern Hotel has an impressive wood-burning fireplace in the foyer and antlers on the carpeting.

Billings

In Partnership with Outside

Outside Online

In Partnership with Outside

More Montana