Dead Indian Pass


Dead Indian Pass - Wyoming - 8,000 feet

On WY-296 about 30 miles northwest of Cody, WY,
and about 32 miles southeast of the intersection with US-12, the Beartooth Pass Highway.
44 44 36.6N 109 22 58.6W
paved - road bike
WY-296 is a super motorcycling road!

photos by Randy Bishop, 6/30/2014


At the summit.
 

At the summit, looking northwest.

At the summit, looking northwest.

At the summit, looking northwest.

At the summit, looking north.

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Google Maps

Garmin Mapsource
 

Google Earth

Google Earth

The plaque reads:
Dead Indian Hill Summit, alitude 8,000 feet. This pass is the summit of Dead Indian Hill. Through this portal great herds of wild game seasonally migrated from the mountains to the plains. This high pass was the gate way for countless Indian hunting and war parties, and through this portal Chief Joseph, in 1877, led his Nez Perce Indian in a strategic and defensive retreat, persued by U.S. Army soldiers. Over this one and only opening of the valleys to the west traveled a vast army of miners to seek the wealth of Cooke City. And down this steep hill the early settlers of Sunlight Basin braved its dangers. The first road improvement was made possible in 1909, by dwellers of Sunlight Valley whose names are here inscribed. Adolphus J. Beam, Wm. V Campbell, Siras J. Davis, Wade W. McClung, Augustus A LaFond, Oliver Whitney, Hervey G. Marvin, Samuel Thompson, John R. Painter, Evelyn T. Painter, Mary E. Painter, Wm. T. Painter, Marguerite M. Painter, John K. Rollinson, Willard D. Ruscher. This historical marker dedicated 1940.

One of the story boards at the summit reads:
The ridge you are standing on was the last significant barrier for more than 600 Nez Perce Indians and their 2,000 horses as they fled the pursuing U.S. Cavalry. After the battle of the Big Hole a month earlier, they knew the Army did not intend to leave any survivors. This became a "flight for their lives."
Now on the run for more than 60 days, they had hoped that by crossing this pass and reaching the plains they could join their old allies, the Crows, or hasten on to join Sitting Bull in Canada. They began climbing to this point from the valley below. By this time, all were exhausted and heartbroken from the long journey and aiding their sick and wounded. But they also knew that winter was closing in. If they could make it over this mountain fast enough, they just might escape the Army and regain their freedom.
Accounts tell us that the Nez Perce left a wounded warrior on this mountain. He was discovered and killed by the Army scouts. Thus this site became known as "Dead Indian Pass."



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2014 Randy Bishop
Last modified: July 12, 2014