"Journey the backroads of the Blackfeet Reservation to expand your understanding of the heritage and geography of the Blackfeet people."
The sites along this scenic route reflect the rich and varied history of the Blackfeet people. The trail provides an opportunity to view the Great Plains where they meet the Rocky Mountains, much as it might have been seen in long-ago days.
BLACKFEET TRAIL TOUR
Site #1 - Two Medicine - Obtained its name from two Sun Dances held at the same time by feuding Piegan bands.
Site #2 - Blackfeet Indian Ranch - In the early reservation period, the government encouraged Blackfeet to farm. It was not until 1915 that the government realized that their land was better suited for raising cattle and horses and changed its emphasis to encourage and support ranching among the Blackfeet.
Site #3 - Badger Creek - In 1830, an expedition of American Fur Company in Fort Union, North Dakota, explored Badger Creek and opened a new era of trade.
Site #4 - Old North Trail - A very old and wisely used trail along the slopes of the Rocky Mountains. It was used primarily by numerous tribes in their travels from Canada to Mexico.
Site #5 - Big Crow Rock - During the early reservation period Big Crow, mourning a deceased son and having family problems, attempted suicide by leaping from this high cliff.
Site #6 - Stone Tipi Rings - Circles of large stones mark the sites in a typical Blackfeet campsite.
Site #7 - Buffalo Drive Site - Buffalo were driven through V-shaped lines of stone piles behind which men stampeded them over a steep bank or into a corral pound where they were killed by hunters.
Site #8 - Old Agency Site - In 1879, the Blackfeet Agency was moved to this site from a previous site south of here to encourage the Blackfeet to take up farming.
Site #9 - Ration Day - With the buffalo gone the Indian was completely dependent on the Indian Agency.
Site #10 - Ghost Ridge - With the disappearance of the buffalo in 1883, the entire tribe depended on the Agency for food. The Agency failed to provide adequate rations during that winter which resulted in over 600 tribal members starving to death.
Site #11 - Buffalo Drive Site - Driving buffalo over a steep cliff was a method of hunting used before the horse and gun were obtained.
Site #12 - James Willard Shultz - The author who came to Blackfeet Country in 1870 at the age of seventeen and worked in a trading post during the last years of the buffalo.
Site #13 - Holy Family Mission - A Catholic mission boarding school begun in 1889, it was the first institution on the reservation to offer Blackfeet children an education.
Site #14 - Fort Shaw-Fort Macleod Road - An important mail route and freight road between Alberta, Canada and Montana opened in 1874.
Site #15 - Holy Family Cemetery - The resting place of several of the leaders of the fur trade with the Blackfeet.
The original tour, Sites 1 through 15 on the
Blackfeet Trail Tour Map (PDF-1.5MB), is a 70 mile drive by PRIVATE auto on mostly paved roads.
The Blackfeet Reservation is one of the last surviving regions where one can imaginatively recreate the west of a century or more ago.
Here, one can view in the mindís eye the immense herds of buffalo, the oceans of grass, the endless vistas of foothills and coulees, the tree bordered streams, the Indian Camps, Sun Dances, and buffalo drives.
Glacier National Park's
Blackfeet Cultural Tour
Daily from St. Mary, East Glacier, Browning areas. Pick up and delivery from your motel or campground. The only park tour with all Native Guides from the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Air conditioned, large window coaches. Bus tours welcome. (800) SUN-9200
Blackfeet Guides Share Unique View of the Park
Native Americans of the past guided early explorers across the mountains on foot and horseback. Today, Blackfeet guides escort visitors through their traditional homeland in comfortable 25-passenger air-conditioned coaches.
Sun Tours of East Glacier, now in its 10th year, treats guests to a view of Glacier National Park's natural, cultural, and historical features through the eyes of native people. A privately owned tribal enterprise chartered under the Blackfeet Tribe, and authorized as a Glacier National Park concessionaire, Sun Tours has a perfect safety record.
"We provide a service that we hope will enrich people's vacation experience by giving them a focus on the land from the people's perspective," said owner Ed DesRosier.
The all-day tour on Going-to-the-Sun Road, "is about the most you can see and do in a day in Glacier," he added. But with Sun Tours, you won't just enjoy the rocks and trees.
The Blackfeet guides frame the scenery with stories of Napi and enhance the beauty of the flowers by explaining their medicinal value. They tell how Montana's Native American populations endured the changing seasons and the changing environment, from before white men came to their homeland, through the days of the trappers and traders, the coming of the railroad, and the development of Glacier as a destination for tourists.
"We are in the business of re-educating people about their myths and stereotypes of native people throughout the West, and myths about the Blackfeet and other tribes that traveled through the area," DesRosier said.
Sun Tours attracts seasoned travelers who seek out the people and places behind a popular destination. They include motor home travelers, bus tour travelers, or people who come in on Amtrak. They stay at hotels or in youth hostels and they come from all states and continents.
Some have never been to Glacier while others have been there many times and want to look at it through different eyes.
The daylong tours, starting when Logan Pass opens and continuing through the summer until it closes, cost $35 per person from St. Mary's, or $55 per person from Browning or East Glacier, with group discounts available. Reservations made 24 hours or more in advance are recommended.
The trip takes guests over Going-to-the-Sun Road from east to west, with frequent stops. After a lunch break at Lake McDonald, buses retrace the journey over Logan Pass from west to east.
Traveling both directions surprises visitors with dramatically different views. The drive from east to west showcases an endless ocean of mountain peaks; traveling the opposite direction shows the big sky switch from mountains to prairie.
"Sun Tours is a really good way for people to relax and see the scenery and learn a different viewpoint about the history," said DesRosier. "And they don't have the stress of driving the road."
Sun Tours is located in the center of the town of East Glacier Park, right on Highway 2 across from the Amtrak Depot.
Contact Sun Tours at 29 Glacier Ave., P.O. Box 234, East Glacier Park MT 59434; by phone at (406) 226-9220 or (800) 786-9220; or by fax at (406) 226-9220, on the Web at Glacier National Park Information.
Article from the Great Falls Tribune: Blackfeet Guides Share Unique View of the Park