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Buffalo, Wyoming

Wildflowers in Bighorn Mtns

Wildflowers west of Buffalo in Bighorn Mtns. - Wikipedia Commons

The Big Horn Mountains -- to the west -- dominate the skyline of this town, which is situated near the junction of Interstate Highways 25 and 90. It was one of the first settlements in northern Wyoming, incorporated in 1884. It's now a good spot to stay when beginning the scenic drive over the Big Horn Mountains. Buffalo is an agricultural community with a good selection of motels and campgrounds from which to choose.

The land around Buffalo saw perhaps more Indian wars than any other part of the United States. Fort Phil Kearney, situated 17 miles north of Buffalo off Highway 87, was built to protect the Bozeman Trail and was constantly in conflict with the Sioux, Arapahoe and Cheyenne tribes.

It was besieged frequently by Chief Red Cloud and his warriors before the trail and the fort were closed in 1868. Indians promptly burned the fort and regained supremacy over the land -- for a while. Fort McKinney was originally built near old Fort Reno and was re-established on a site on Clear Creek, near Buffalo. The property is now the Veterans' Home of Wyoming, a home for senior citizens.

All of this Indian vs cavalry conflict is commemorated in the Jim Gatchell Museum in Buffalo. The museum contains more than 10,000 artifacts of that era: of the Union soldiers, the Indian tribes of this vast wilderness and the early pioneers who settled the area.

The area has more than a few guest ranches with mainly cabin accom-modations ranging from rustic to deluxe. Riding is the primary recreation.

One of the largest is Paradise Guest Ranch, (13 miles west of town on Highway 16 (307-684-7876). There's a history here with 100 years of experience in hosting and entertaining visitors to its working ranch. This is a family-oriented ranch, with western excitement for kids and adults. There are 18 luxurious log cabins containing fireplaces and kitchens with family meals served in the lodge dining room. The facility is equipped with a hot tub and fishing is nearby..

A much smaller and more intimate ranch is the Rafter Y Ranch, (307-683-2258) on the slope of the Big Horn Mountains 18 miles northwest of Buffalo in Banner. Again, there are log cabins and buffet meals are served in the lodge.

Paradise Guest Ranch

Where to Eat

Bozeman Trail Steak House
675 East Hart Street, Buffalo, 307-684-5555
This popular Buffalo restaurant has a western motif and serves American cuisine, including its namesake steaks. It is also suitable for family dining and is located west of I-25.

The Occidental Saloon
10 North Main Street, Buffalo, 307-684-0451
This is definitely a period place, the period & place being the old wild west of the pioneer days. In the early days it served as a gambling hall with high stakes pioker and games lasting for days. It's a bar first and foremost, and they serve food including bison burgers. Thursdays is Bluegrass jam night, and a band plays on Friday and Saturday nights. Its somewhat shady beginnings brought on certain strains of violence from time to time, There are 23 original bullet holes in the ceiling. The place is more peaceful now.

 

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