|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – October 2009
Close your eyes and hear the bullets fly: These three routes pass through parks drenched in United States military history.
BIG HOLE NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD, MT
Hike where Chief Joseph fought.
When a band of Nez Perce famously resisted confinement on a reservation in the late 1800s, Chief Joseph shepherded them across 1,200 miles of rugged backcountry to evade the U.S. military. The 1,170-mile Nez Perce National Historic Trail memorializes their journey from Oregon through Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana (they were stopped just shy of the Canadian border). Hike to Big Hole, the site of their narrowest escape, in southwest Montana on a 10-mile segment of the NPNHT through lodgepole pines to the meadow where the refugees camped in August 1877. Colonel John Gibbon's troops surprise attacked at dawn the following day, killing nearly 100 men, women, and children. The Nez Perce launched a fierce counter-offensive before fleeing southeast through Yellowstone National Park.
Soak your bones in Jackson Hot Springs ($5 per person). (406) 834-3151
From Wisdom, drive 18 miles west on MT 43. Pass the battlefield on the way to the Trail Creek turnout (FS #106). Follow signs a quarter-mile to the Nez Perce Trail.