• Nez Perce National Historical Park. Front Page banner photograph is of Heart of the Monster, an ancient place where the Nez Perce creation story originates. The secondary page photograph is of Nez Perce beadwork.

    Nez Perce

    National Historical Park ID,MT,OR,WA

Bear Paw Battlefield

Bear Paw Battlefield

Located 15 miles south of Chinook, MT on Highway 240, the Bear Paw Battlefield commemorates the final battle of the Nez Perce War of 1877.

Following the breakout of war in Idaho, nearly 800 Nez Perce spent a long and arduous summer fleeing U.S. Army troops first toward Crow allies and then toward refuge in Canada. Forty miles short of the Canadian border and following a five-day battle and siege, the Nez Perce ceased fighting at Bear Paw on October 5th, 1877, in which Chief Joseph gave his immortal speech: "From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever."

Visiting the Battlefield

The battlefield is open daily, year-round, during daylight hours.

The first stop should be the visitor center located at the Blaine County Museum, 501 Indiana Street in Chinook. The museum offers the audio/visual presentation, "40 Miles to Freedom," which depicts the battle and siege at Bear Paw.

In the summer months, the museum is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Monday through Saturday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (closed noon to 1 pm for lunch) and on Sunday from Noon to 5:00 pm. In September and May the museum is open from Monday through Friday, 8:00 to 5:00 pm. Between October and April the museum is open Monday through Friday, 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. For information please call the Blaine County Museum (406) 357-2590.

A brochure/trail map is available at either the museum or the battlefield. A self-guided 1 ¼ mile interpretive trail winds through the battlefield.

The trail is moderate in difficulty. Please bring a hat and plenty of water during the hotter summer months. Picnic tables and vault toilets are available on site.

Social Media

Bear Paw Battlefield has a presence in cyberspace. The battlefield has a photo sharing site on Flikr; a twitter feed; and is part of the Nez Perce National Historical Park's facebook page.

Did You Know?

Nez Perce male fishing from a canoe. NPS Photo NEPE-HI-783

The Nez Perce often travelled great distances to fish with family and friends. They fished as far away as present day Willamette Falls, near Oregon City as well as Celilo and Kettle Falls to the north.