Called Awaxaawippiia by the Apsaalooka (Crow) Indians, the Crazy Mountains, which you can see to the northwest, are an igneous formation forged about 50 million years ago. For the Apsaalooka, they are the most sacred and revered mountains on the northern Great Plains. Awaxaawippiia was a place of refuge and protection. The Apsaalooka's enemies would not follow them into the mountains. Because of their great spiritual power, Awaxaawippiia continues to be an important vision quest site for the tribe. Famed Chief Plenty Coups has a vision there in 1857 in which, he said, the end of the plains Indian way-of-life was shown to him.
There are several stories about how the mountains got their current name. The most popular story goes that a woman traveling across the plains with a wagon train went insane. She escaped from the party and was found near these mountains. So they were called the Crazy Woman Mountains, a name which was eventually shortened. Perhaps the mountains were named, as others have claimed, because of their crazy appearance. The Crazy Mountains were an important landmark for Bozeman Trail emigrants in the Yellowstone Valley. This district was great cow and sheep country in the days of the open range, and there are still a number of large ranches in this vicinity, though now under fence.