Custer’s Trail

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Follow the trail of Custer’s famed 7th Cavalry as they marched out of Fort Abraham Lincoln and into the pages of history.  Learn about this enigmatic character and see the largely unchanged terrain which shaped his destiny. Highlights of this 9 day/8 night program include Fort Abraham Lincoln, Custer’s final posting, the Black Hills which he opened to settlement with his exciting discovery of gold, and of course, the site of his final battle in what is now southeastern Montana. Includes six national parks and numerous Native American learning experiences. Tour begins and ends in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Begins and ends in Bismarck, ND

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Tour highlights:

  • Fort Abraham Lincoln
  • Custer House living history
  • Knife River Indian Villages
  • Fort Union
  • Pitchfork Fondue Dinner
  • Medora Musical
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park
  • Free time in Medora
  • Little Big Horn National Historic Battlefield
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial
  • Crazy Horse Monument
  • Custer State Park
  • Jeep ride to the Buffalo
  • Badlands National Park
  • Journey Museum
  • World-Famous Wall Drug
  • Akta Lakota Museum
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Tour Itinerary:

Day 1 – Arrivals

Upon arrival at the Bismarck Municipal Airport participants will be transported to our hotel. We’ll visit the outstanding exhibits at the North Dakota Heritage Center before our get-acquainted dinner-cruise aboard the Lewis & Clark paddle-wheeler as it cruises the Missouri River. Overnight in Bismarck, ND. (D)

Day 2 – Fort Abraham Lincoln / Knife River Indian Villages

Our journey back in time begins at Fort Abraham Lincoln, George Armstrong Custer’s final command post. We’ll get a very special 1874 tour of the Custer home while the Col. and Libby are “out riding” and view the troops, before departing for the only park in the National Park System that is set aside to commemorate the Plains Indian: Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site. The outstanding interpretive center and model earth lodge shed light on the people who continually inhabited this site for as long as 500-600 years ago to 1845. We’ll overnight tonight in Williston. (B, L)

Day 3 – Fort Union / TR National Park / Medora

Another eventful day begins with a tour of the beautifully restored Fort Union. Established by John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company, Fort Union was the most important fur trading post on the Missouri River between 1822 and 1867. Fur Trapping gave way to cattle ranching later in the century and our next stop illustrates one man’s dream of a cattle ranching and shipping empire. Named for the Marquis de Mores’ wife, Medora, the town boomed and busted at the end of the century, but not before Teddy Roosevelt became a resident and formulated many of his conservation ideas and rugged personal qualities. We’ll visit the national park named for the “bully” president, enjoy a unique pitchfork fondue and take in a performance of the much-acclaimed Medora Musical before calling it a day! (B, D)

Day 4 – Medora

Medora’s western hospitality continues this morning with breakfast in the Chuckwagon Cafe. We’ll have ample time to explore the numerous shops and museums (or take an optional trail ride in the park) before heading west into Montana where Custer met his demise. Overnight: Billings, MT. (B)

Day 5 – Little Big Horn Battlefield

Today’s trail leads to the Little Big Horn National Historic Battlefield, site of the famous confrontation between Crazy Horse and the egotistical Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer. We’ll learn how that fateful event transpired on June 25, 1876. The memorial now includes the “other side of the story”: the Natives who staked their lives on preventing white incursion into their traditional lands. Then we travel on to learn about happier days in Custer’s life, the 1874 Black Hills Expedition. Overnight in Rapid City. (B)

Day 6 – Mount Rushmore / Custer State Park

Today we’ll visit America’s Shrine to Democracy, Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Also on the agenda is the still-unfinished Crazy Horse Mountain sculpture. This afternoon’s adventurous jeep tour to see the largest publicly-owned buffalo herd in America will precede dinner at the Lodge – where we’ll dine on buffalo steak! Overnight in Rapid City. (B, D)

Day 7 – Badlands National Park

South Dakota’s Badlands National Park is our destination today, but before our sojourn begins we will visit another Journey – the Museum of that name in the gate city of Rapid City. An impressive collection of four previous museums, our tour here will give us a useful background on the area and its previous inhabitants. Described by early explorers as “hell with the fires burned out”, the Badlands offer unique geologic beauty, Native American culture and of course, world-famous Wall Drug. We’ll spend the day exploring and picture-taking in this incredible natural area. Tonight’s accommodations are at the beautiful Cedar Shores Resort, overlooking the Missouri River just north of Chamberlain, SD. (B)

Day 8 – Akta Lakota Museum

This morning we’ll visit world famous St. Joseph Indian School where the outstanding Akta Lakota Museum offers a view of the Native Americans that Custer so vigorously pursued.  After a day full of natural wonders, we’ll enjoy a festive farewell dinner and overnight in Bismarck, ND. (B, D)

Day 9 – Departures

Airport transfers included. (B)

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Happy Trails!