Truth be known, it’s difficult to find solitude at Little Bighorn, even on trails away from the main road (watch for rattlesnakes!).
Nearly everyone makes the short drive from the Little Bighorn visitor center and military cemetery to the Custer monument atop Last Stand Hill. Be sure to cross the road and wander amid the Stonehedge-esque tribute to the tribes that fought here. The Crow and Shoshone aligned with the cavalry. The Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho united against them.
No Indian battlefield in America is more tourist-oriented than Little Bighorn, where 263 soldiers lost their lives at the hands of Sitting Bull and other Sioux and Northern Cheyenne chiefs on June 25-26, 1876. The visitor center has an extraordinary collection of books and gifts. Interpreters give diverse talks highlighting all sides of the battle. The 4.5-mile tour of Little Bighorn and adjacent Reno-Benteen Battlefield features numerous stops for cell phone narratives.
Before or after visiting, be sure to stop at the Custer Battlefield Trading Post and Cafe. Highlights include Indian history books and an assortment of gifts made by members of the Crow tribe. You can get a burger and fries at the cafe, but we suggest the famous Indian taco and/or the Indian fry bread.
Hardin doesn’t offer much, but it’s worth taking a couple hours to explore the 35-acre Big Horn County Historical Museum.
If you do decide to stay in the area, options are lean: A Super 8 and Rodeway Inn, plus a couple mom-and-pop motels. Our choice is the Kendrick House Inn Bed & Breakfast, a 1915 Edwardian inn with five rooms.
If you can, schedule your visit around the annual Crow Fair Celebration Powwow and Rodeo. Every third week of August, Crow Agency becomes “the largest tipi in the world”. Some 50,000 people come from around the world for an extraordinary glimpse into a culture clinging to its ways. Note: 2018 should have a little extra bounce because Crow Fair will be celebrating its 100th year.