Washita Battlefield National Historic Site
The Washita Battlefield National Historic Site marks the location of Lt. Col. George A. Custer's November 27, 1868 surprise dawn attack on the Southern Cheyenne village of Peace Chief Black Kettle. Nestled along the Washita River, the Washita Battlefield stands as a nationally significant and protected area that highlights the United States government's Indian policy during the 1800s, as well as the Cheyenne's struggle to maintain control of their traditional homelands. Visit and witness the site of this tragic clash of cultures during the Indian Wars era.
Before heading out onto the park trail, stop at the park's visitor center to see exhibits, browse through the Western National Parks Association bookstore, or watch the 27-minute film "Destiny at Dawn - Loss and Victory on the Washita." The film focuses on the military engagement that happened here and the events leading up to it, and provides an informative history lesson before exploring the site. Visitors will also enjoy a breathtaking view of the Washita River Valley from the visitor center and Hwy 47A overlook.
Beginning at the park overlook, the self-guided trail around the Washita Battlefield National Historic Site spans 1.5 miles and is open to visitors from dawn to dusk. Trail guide booklets are available at the trailhead or inside the visitor center. Visitors can also request ranger-led talks and tours beginning Memorial Day weekend and available through Labor Day weekend. After Labor Day, tours can be arranged depending on the availability of park staff. Guided talks and walking tours are also available during the week on a pre-arranged basis.
This site also contains the Washita Native Garden, a wheel-shaped garden that features plants traditionally used by the Cheyenne people. The garden is separated into four sections: daily living, medicinal purposes, edible herbs and plants used within the home. Learn about various native plant species and discover their importance in Plains Indian culture and tribal communities.
Admission to the Washita Battlefield National Historic Site is free.
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