Location: On I-90, 48 miles east of Billings. Population: 3500. Visitor Information: State Visitor Center located at Big Horn County Museum, 1 mile east of Hardin, exit 497 or 495. Hardin Chamber of Commerce: Phone: 406-665-1672; Email: email@example.com; Website: www.thehardinchamber.org
Located in southeast Montana midway between Billings and Sheridan (Wyoming) Hardin is a natural hub for travelers planning to visit Yellowstone and the area’s many attractions. The Big Horn County Museum offers an engaging walk through the past on 22 acres featuring 26 historic buildings, antique vehicles, old time railroad depot and fabulous tour guides.
Custer’s famous “Last Stand” battle was engaged just 15 miles southeast of Hardin, where visitors can tour the battleground and museum at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. Across the highway, the Custer Battlefield Trading Post in Crow Agency offers a great café, gift items and beadwork, including fully beaded cradleboards. Held in mid-August, the weeklong Crow Fair hosts the largest present day gathering of Native Americans with up to 1500 tipis. Just a couple miles further on I-90, the Custer Battlefield Museum in Garryowen is brimming with historical art and artifacts.
Hardin’s Little Big Horn Days is held the weekend closest to June 25th, highlighted by the reenactment of Custer’s Last Stand, which was fought on that date in 1876. Other events that weekend include Big Horn Stampede Rodeo, Little Big Horn Symposium, Fort Custer and Plains Indian Exhibit, Indian relay races, historic book fair, arts and crafts fair, parade, pork dinner and street dance.
The Bighorn River is one of the top fly fishing destinations in the US; stay at a lodge, hire a local guide or enjoy fishing this beautiful river on your own. Other major attractions within an hour’s drive from Hardin include Pompey’s Pillar, the sandstone butte which holds the only physical evidence of the passage of the Lewis and Clark Expedition; Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area, a gorgeous lake with incredible views, fishing and boating; Pictograph Caves with prehistoric rock paintings dating back 2000 years; Beartooth Scenic Highway winding through spectacular mountains to Yellowstone’s northeast entrance, and Chief Plenty Coups State Park, the pastoral homestead of the renowned Crow chief and visionary.