Big Hole Battlefield
Early on the morning of August 9, 1877, gunfire awakened a band of 800 Nez Perce. The battle, which lasted less than 48 hours, killed nearly 90 Nez Perce men, woman, and children as well as 38 US soldiers.
Now a National Battlefield preserved by the National Park Service, the area features a visitor’s center, walking trails, interpretive signage, and a picnic area. Inside the Visitor’s Center, learn about the Nez Perce people. View the battlefield from the visitor’s center’s high vantage point to understand the Nez Perce encampment and the US Army’s ambush strategy. The Big Hole National Battlefield was created to honor all who were there.
An Interpretive Sign at the Big Hole Battlefield
Siege Area Trails at the Big Hole Battlefield
Amazing Scenery in a Mournful Setting
The North Fork of the Big Hole River bisects the Battlefield. Watch for trout that dimple the water’s surface as you walk along the park’s trails. Battle Mountain looms above the site while the snow-capped peaks of the Pioneer Mountains are seen in the distance. In summer wildflowers bloom and color the landscape.
North Fork of the Big Hole River
Paintbrushes at the Big Hole National Battlefield
When to Visit
The National Battlefield is open year round. Park staff are very eager to share their knowledge of the site and are passionate about the history and landscape. The Nez Perce hold an annual commemorative service on the anniversary of the battle to honor those lost and pay tribute to the survivors. Check the Park’s calendar for dates.
View of Nez Perce Encampment
A visit to the Battlefield in late June through July is a show of color! Paintbrushes, camas, larkspur, buttercup, wild geraniums, and more bloom in the grasslands and along the North Fork of the Big Hole River. No matter the season, be sure to bring a camera as the landscape is as dramatic as events which occurred so many years ago.
Wildflowers in July