Montana's Custer Country
Montana's Custer Country: In most Americans’ minds, “Custer Country” resounds with images of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer’s ill-fated 'Last Stand' at the Battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876. But Custer Country has much more to offer both history buffs and adventure seekers than tours of the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.
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The Bighorn River, one of North America’s finest fly fishing streams, flows through the Crow Indian Reservation and the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. Bighorn Lake, created in 1965 by the building of Yellowtail Dam, offers water skiing and other aquatic fun.
The Pryor Mountain National Wild Horse Range west of Bighorn Canyon is a must-see.
The Crow and Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservations occupy a 2,679,771-acre chunk of Custer Country. Residents provide opportunities for visitors to become acquainted with their traditions through pow-wows and rodeos.
The Custer National Forest’s Ashland Ranger District affords bird and other wildlife watching and some hiking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
The bones of the Earth protrude in Custer Country; dinosaur bones, too. Some of the region’s remarkable rock formations are historically significant. Many have spiritual significance for Native Americans. The Yellowstone River corridor is noted for a rich trove of agates. Custer Country includes eight state parks, most created around a natural attraction or some aspect of Montana’s human history. Medicine Rocks, Makoshika and Tongue River Reservoir State Parks offer camping. Others are day-use parks.
Much of the region is plains country, home to cowboys, cattle drives and working ranches. Some open their spreads to guests.
That ethos is reflected in Billings, the region’s largest city and Montana’s most populous. The small towns sprinkled across Custer Country, microcosms of a culture unique to the Great Plains, project the unique flavor of this big-shouldered, sprawling region of Montana.
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