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Press Release - Killdeer Mountain History Hike Offered at Killdeer Mountain Battlefield State Historic Site

Contact: Diane Rogness

Killdeer Mountain History Hike Offered at Killdeer Mountain Battlefield State Historic Site

KILLDEER – The public is invited to participate in the 12th annual Killdeer Mountain History Hike on Saturday, July 27, sponsored by the State Historical Society of North Dakota. This free program is a guided hike starting at the base of Killdeer Mountain and ending at what is known as the Medicine Hole. Along the route, the 1864 Battle of Killdeer Mountain and the Medicine Hole’s significance will be discussed.

The hike guide will be Chris Johnson, Museum Division director for the State Historical Society of North Dakota, which manages the site. The Killdeer Mountain Battlefield State Historic Site is 11 miles northwest of Killdeer in Dunn County in west-central North Dakota. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes and to bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and a bottle of water. A hiking stick is also suggested.

A car pool will depart from the Runnings parking lot in Dickinson on Saturday, July 27 at 8 a.m. (MT). This car pool will also stop at the public swimming pool’s parking lot in Killdeer at 8:45 a.m. (MT) to pick up additional participants. For more information, contact Diane Rogness at 701.328.3508 or email

The Battle of Killdeer Mountain occurred July 28, 1864, when a U.S. military force commanded by Brigadier General Alfred Sully attacked several groups of the Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota (Sioux) nations camped at this location. Sully’s force had been sent into Dakota Territory to develop routes to western gold fields and to punish Indians who had participated in Minnesota’s Dakota Conflict of 1862. Many of the Sioux groups gathered at Killdeer Mountain had not participated in the Dakota Conflict and had sought to make peace with the government. Sully’s force, equipped with several cannons, attacked and shelled the encampment, causing warriors, as well as unarmed men, women, and children, to flee into the Little Missouri Badlands. American Indian oral tradition says that many of these people escaped through an opening at the top of Killdeer Mountain known as the Medicine Hole. Sully estimated between 100 and 150 Sioux were killed, but the exact number is unknown. His troops suffered two deaths. The Sioux lodges and all winter supplies were destroyed by Sully’s men who then moved west across the Badlands to Fort Union Trading Post at the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers near what is now Williston, ND. During this march, the soldiers skirmished with many of the warriors they had faced at Killdeer Mountain. The conflict at Killdeer Mountain further embittered relations between many Northern Plains tribes and the U.S. government. Sully’s campaign, culminating at Killdeer Mountain, was a prelude to the Sioux Wars of the 1870s.

For more information about SHSND events, call 701.328.2666 or visit

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