Billings, Montana, is filled with stunning natural beauty, modern amenities, and events like the history of the Crow Indian Tribe. The area around Billings has a long history that spans over 80 million years! There is always something to explore in Billings, so you may be wondering what is Billings MT known for? We give you all the information you will need to discover the historic nature of the town.
Custer's Last Stand
The battle of Little Bighorn, also known as Custer’s Last Stand, took place just outside of Billings proper in June 1876. The battle occurred as American settlers, many from the 7th Regiment of the U.S. Cavalry, clashed with the native Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indian tribes. These tribes were forced to report to a designated reservation on a particular date. When they did not comply, they were considered “hostile” by the U.S. government, and tensions rose. Misinformation and rumors fueled the events that lead to the death of 268 U.S. soldiers, led by Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer, who also died in the battle. The battle was a great victory for the native Indian tribes, but word spread of the fight among western settlers and was used as a confirmation to get Indian tribes to settle in designated reservations.
The battleground is now a national monument that stands about an hour away from Billings’ city, making it a great day trip. The park has hiking trails, a museum, a 4.5-mile driving tour, and guided tours in the summer. There is also a monument to both the U.S. soldiers and Indian warriors who lost their lives on Custer’s Last Stand Hill. You can also visit the Custer National Cemetery at the park.
The Rimrocks, or “The Rims,” as locals like to call this area, is a large sandstone rock formation that overlooks Billings. It’s a truly stunning natural wonder and is worth a visit. These rock formations started 80 million years ago when the area around modern-day Billings was a coastline of an ocean that ran from the Gulf of Mexico and north into the Arctic. Over the years, the water ebbed and flowed, and the sand compressed into hard sandstone, which is what we see today.
Within the Rimrocks area, there are several parks, including Zimmerman Park, Swords Park, and the Four Dances Natural Area. They are a popular place for locals and visitors to hike, bike, and simply breathe in stunning natural beauty. You can also visit Yellowstone Kelly’s gravesite on the Rimrocks or see the angel statue overlooking Rocky Mountain College.
Gateway to Yellowstone National Park
The Beartooth Highway, located about an hour outside Billings, is a scenic 68-mile highway that leads from Red Lodge, Montana, right into one of the most scenic entrances of Yellowstone National Park. The highway has been named one of the nation’s top scenic routes by Forbes Magazine and the National Scenic Byways organization. Over 20 mountain peaks, breathtaking vistas, and natural splendor along the drive, which runs from Red Lodge into Yellowstone National Park.
The road is open for travel from Memorial Day through Labor Day every year. To get to Beartooth Highway, use Highway 212 towards Red Lodge. The highway is just west of the town.
Billings, MT offers history, beauty, and relaxation
What is Billings MT known for? Find out for yourself when you book a room at the Dude Rancher Lodge and explore everything Billings, and the surrounding area has to offer!