In 1863, John Bozeman and John Jacobs discovered the Bozeman Trail as a shortcut to the gold rush in Montana. Called “the last great overland emigrant trail in the American West,” the trail passed through the Powder River Basin and into the hunting grounds of the Northern Plains Indians. For more than 10 years, the trail saw numerous struggles between tribes and the U.S. military, culminating in the Great Sioux War of 1876.
Today the trail is a major north-south interstate highway, with many historic sites open to visitors. These include Fort Laramie National Historic Site, Bridger’s Ferry and Fort Phil Kearny, host to the annual Bozeman Trail Days.