Big Hole National Battlefield's three trails are open from sunrise to sunset daily year-round. During the summer and fall trail guides are available at the trail heads. Ask for them at the visitor center in the winter. The road leading to the lower parking lot and trail-heads is closed to vehicles each winter, but remains open for use by snow-shoers & cross country skiers.
The Nez Perce Camp Trail
The Camp Trail leads to the site where the sleeping nımí·pu· (Nez Perce) were camped when the army attacked on the morning of August 9, 1877. It is a 1.6 miles round-trip walking trail with no elevation gain. The surface is packed earth and may be muddy in the early summer, and rutted later in the season. Hikers should keep an eye out for ground squirrel dens/holes, which can easily be stepped into. The trail takes approximately one hour to complete.
Siege Area Trail
The Siege Area Trail is 1.2 miles round-trip and climbs about fifty feet in elevation. The trail takes approximately forty-five minutes to complete. nımí·pu· warriors besieged the troops under the command of Colonel Gibbon after pushing them out of the camp. Visitors can look at rifle pits dug by the soldiers and see the historic monument dedicated to the Seventh U.S. Infantry soldiers, erected in 1883.
The Howitzer Trail
The Howitzer Trail leads to the site where nımí·pu· warriors captured a 12-Pound Mountain Howitzer from the military. A replica greets hikers who make it to the site. It is a 0.8 mile spur trail off of the Siege Area trail that climbs 320 feet in elevation, and takes approximately 40 minutes to hike. Many tree roots and other potential trip hazards crisscross this trail as it ascends a steep hillside. The climb can be strenuous, but the view from the howitzer site is breathtaking!
Respecting Sacred Ground
Big Hole Battlefield is sacred ground for all who fought here. It remains a burial ground and a place of mourning and remembrance. As you walk around the battlefield, please be respectful to those who died here.
For Your Safety
Last updated: December 2, 2023