National Historic Trails Interpretive Center
Print Page

<< Back to Historic Trails Map

covered wagon.
Bozeman Trail


John Bozeman pioneered this route as a shortcut between the Oregon Trail at Fort Laramie and the gold camps recently opened in western Montana. The Bozeman Trail, located along the eastern foothills of the Big Horn Mountains, became the most hated of all the western emigration trails. Bozeman's route violated the cherished home and hunting grounds of the Sioux. Red Cloud and his allies vowed that no white man should invade this territory. The battles fought along the Trail were the most violent, frequent and devastating of any during the Plains Indian Wars.

The brief history of the "Bloody Bozeman" ended in 1868 when the Army abandoned Fort Phil Kearny, the Trail's chief outpost of protection. Indians burned the Fort to the ground before the last troops were out of sight.

The actual route of the Bozeman Trail is not well marked, although numerous monuments and informative signs are located at places where the Trail intersects modern public roadways. Much of the Trail is located on private land. 

Last updated: 12-08-2010