During July 2019, the Big Sky Visitor’s Center greeted almost 2,000 visitors, guests from Alaska to Florida, India, Romania, China, and beyond. Like most of the locals, folks come for Montana’s natural beauty and outdoor adventure opportunities, but the tradition of exploring our region spans back millennia.

Archeologists have found evidence of humans occupying the Greater Yellowstone area 11,000 years ago in the form of tools and bones. The exciting discoveries of bows and arrows, sheep traps and bison corrals from approximately 3,000 years ago provide a more in-depth understanding of ancient communities. At least 26 Native American tribes have historic connections to Yellowstone National Park.

During your next visit, stop by Obsidian Cliff between Norris Geyser Basin and Mammoth Hot Springs. While marveling at its unique beauty, take time to read the signage about its historical importance as the premiere site for arrowhead creation. Archeological and geological evidence proves that this cliff has been used in toolmaking for 11,000 years. Even more fascinating, these ancient tools were found in archeological sites as far away as the Ohio River Valley, speaking to the impressive trade routes of the time.

The spirit of the West is still reflected in the numbers of visitors that come to the Greater Yellowstone region annually. People past and present enjoy visiting geysers, conducting ceremonies and gatherings, hunting and trading. To learn and experience more about area history, the Yellowstone Forever Institute offers year-round programs highlighting the park’s rich history.

Visit yellowstone.org for more information about educational opportunities in the park. For more information about Big Sky and southwest Montana, see Visit Big Sky’s blog.