Blackfeet Trail Tour
Points of Interest and Highlights along the Drive
The original tour, Sites 1 through 15 on the map (PDF-1.5MB), is a 70 mile drive by private auto on mostly paved roads.
Site #1 - Two Medicine - Obtained its name from two Sun Dances held at the same time by feuding Piegan bands.
Site #2 - Blackfeet Indian Ranch - In the early reservation period, the government encouraged Blackfeet to farm. It was not until 1915 that the government realized that their land was better suited for raising cattle and horses and changed its emphasis to encourage and support ranching among the Blackfeet.
Site #3 - Badger Creek - In 1830, an expedition of American Fur Company in Fort Union, North Dakota, explored Badger Creek and opened a new era of trade.
Site #4 - Old North Trail - A very old and wisely used trail along the slopes of the Rocky Mountains. It was used primarily by numerous tribes in their travels from Canada to Mexico.
Site #5 - Big Crow Rock - During the early reservation period Big Crow, mourning a deceased son and having family problems, attempted suicide by leaping from this high cliff.
Site #6 - Stone Tipi Rings - Circles of large stones mark the sites in a typical Blackfeet campsite.
Site #7 - Buffalo Drive Site - Buffalo were driven through V-shaped lines of stone piles behind which men stampeded them over a steep bank or into a corral pound where they were killed by hunters.
Site #8 - Old Agency Site - In 1879, the Blackfeet Agency was moved to this site from a previous site south of here to encourage the Blackfeet to take up farming.
Site #9 - Ration Day - With the buffalo gone the Indian was completely dependent on the Indian Agency.
Site #10 - Ghost Ridge - With the disappearance of the buffalo in 1883, the entire tribe depended on the Agency for food. The Agency failed to provide adequate rations during that winter which resulted in over 600 tribal members starving to death.
Site #11 - Buffalo Drive Site - Driving buffalo over a steep cliff was a method of hunting used before the horse and gun were obtained.
Site #12 - James Willard Shultz - The author who came to Blackfeet Country in 1870 at the age of seventeen and worked in a trading post during the last years of the buffalo.
Site #13 - Holy Family Mission - A Catholic mission boarding school begun in 1889, it was the first institution on the reservation to offer Blackfeet children an education.
Site #14 - Fort Shaw-Fort Macleod Road - An important mail route and freight road between Alberta, Canada and Montana opened in 1874.
Site #15 - Holy Family Cemetery - The resting place of several of the leaders of the fur trade with the Blackfeet.
Journey the backroads of the Blackfeet Reservation to expand your understanding of the heritage and geography of the Blackfeet people. The sites along this scenic route reflect the rich and varied history of the Blackfeet people. The trail provides an opportunity to view the Great Plains where they meet the Rocky Mountains, much as it might have been seen in long-ago days.
The original scenic “Blackfeet Trail Tour”, defined by its historic roadside markers, was laid out as a cooperative community effort the Museum of the Plains Indian and the Browning Lions Club. The signs have been recently updated by the Blackfeet Planning and Development Department.
This specific part of the Blackfeet Reservation is one of the last surviving regions where one can imaginatively recreate the west of a century or more ago.
Each of the historic sites on the Blackfeet Trail Tour can be appreciated year-round, depending on the weather.
Here, one can view in the mind’s eye the immense herds of buffalo, the oceans of grass, the endless vistas of foothills and coulees, the tree bordered streams, the Indian Camps, Sun Dances, and buffalo drives.
It was in this country, Blackfeet Country, that the Blackfeet truly felt at home. They ~ and those who came later adapted themselves and the patterns of life to this vast region of sky and prairie.
It is hoped that the modern traveler will experience some of the rich history and culture of the people while following the “Blackfeet Trail.”