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 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. The site highlights the United States government's 1800s Indian policy, as well as the Cheyenne's struggle to maintain control of their traditional homelands. Visitors here learn about the tragic clash of cultures during the Indian Wars era.
Stop at the 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 at the site and the events leading up to the massacre, providing an informative history introduction to guests. Visitors will also enjoy breathtaking views of the Washita River Valley from the visitor center and Hwy 47A overlook.
At the park overlook, the self-guided trail around the 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. Ranger-led talks and tours are available beginning Memorial Day weekend 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 holds the Washita Native Garden, a wheel-shaped garden featuring plants traditionally used by the Cheyenne people. The garden is separated into four sections: daily living, medicinal purposes, edible herbs and domestic plants. Learn about various native plant species and discover their importance in Plains Indian culture and tribal communities.