The Chief Joseph Trail Ride is one of the longest-running historic rides in the United States, having been hosted by the Appaloosa Horse Club since 1965. It retraces the route taken by Chief Joseph and his people as they fled capture by the U.S. Cavalry during the Conflict of 1877.
A progressive ride, it covers an average of one hundred miles each year, with the next year’s ride beginning close to where the previous one concluded. This process continues annually, requiring a total of thirteen years to complete the entire journey from Joseph, Oregon to the Bear Paw battlefield in Montana.
In 2022, the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests welcomes approximately 110 riders to experience the route of Chief Joseph located on the homeland of the Nimiipuu people. Riders will begin arriving this weekend and will stage for the week at Mussellshell. The ride will begin Monday, July 25 and end Friday, July 29.
This year, Chief Joseph Trail Ride participants will be riding roads and trails in the greater Musselshell area, including portions of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and Nez Perce (Nee-Me-Poo) National Historic Trail. As always, all visitors and recreationists to the National Forest during this event should please take care to respect one another and share space on the forest. Remember, trail etiquette dictates that horseback riders have right-of-way. For your safety and the safety of horses and riders, please pass horseback riders wide and slow. If there is not safe space to go around the riders, stop until the riders pass you or until they wave you on to continue by.
Those traveling roads near Musselshell should expect to encounter increased truck-and-trailer traffic on the weekends before and after the ride, and horseback riders utilizing roads in the Musselshell area during the week. Drive defensively and be prepared to encounter oncoming traffic – whether it has four wheels or four hooves!
Learn more about the Chief Joseph Trail Ride at https://www.appaloosa.com/chief-joseph-trail-ride.
(Courtesy photo by Kristen Reiter, DVM – Appaloosa Horse Club)