See the West at its Wildest in the Cowboy State
Located in northern Wyoming near the junction of Interstates 25 and 90 just east of Big Horn National Forest, Buffalo welcomes visitors with its rugged landscapes, Old West roots, boundless options for active outdoor fun, and a lively Main Street line-up of galleries and shops.
Explore Buffalo Outdoors
The 189,000-acre Big Horn National Forest is a visitor's passport to the fabulous Big Horn Mountains. The forest contains three scenic byways for sightseeing on wheels, streams and reservoirs for fishing, and more than 1,500 amazing miles of trails. You can pick up maps and helpful tips from experts at the U.S. Forest Service or U.S. Bureau of Land Management offices on Fort Street in Buffalo.
If you aim to tour Wyoming's countryside on horseback and you travel with horses in tow, you're in luck. Big Horn National Forest offers corrals and ramps that will make your goal easier to achieve. Area outfitters also rent horses for guided riding adventures that last an hour, a day or overnight. And local guest ranches provide ample opportunities for riding horses, participating in cattle drives or going on old-fashioned hayrides.
The scenic Clear Creek Trail System is a winning destination for hikers and mountain bikers alike. You can access the 12-mile-long network of trails from the east side of Buffalo and pedal or walk the paths all the way to the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains. Trail maps are available at the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce.
Mountain Plains Heritage Park features a designated nature trail where you can retrace the steps of early settlers who followed the original Bozeman Trail. Park vistas of Wyoming's imposing mountains and plains are particularly striking, and local fish are likely to strike your bait, too—when you cast a line in the wetlands habitat pond.
Regarding area angling possibilities, the Sports Lure on Buffalo's Main Street is the recommended stop for renting or buying fishing equipment and purchasing your mandated license. You can book guided fishing trips through local ranches or cast out on your own on the Big Horn National Forest's chilly lakes, via the ramps and docks on Lake DeSmet, or at local creeks with wildly descriptive names such as Clear, Crazy Woman and Sourdough.
Hunting is yet another popular pastime in and around Buffalo. Guided hunts for moose, antelope, elk and game birds may be booked through local companies like Sports Lure. Independent hunts on private lands may also be arranged with landowners' permission.
If you are into snowboarding or downhill skiing, plan to visit Meadowlark Ski Lodge. With a 21-foot average annual snowfall and 130-plus miles of groomed trails, it's not surprising that the Big Horn Mountains earn top ratings with snowmobilers, cross country skiers and snowshoers.
Additional outdoor pursuits in Buffalo include golfing amidst fine mountain views at the Buffalo Public Golf Course, swimming or swinging a tennis racquet at the pet-friendly Buffalo City Park, or playing 18 miniature holes accompanied by a frosty root beer float—at Creek Side Clubhouse & Greens Ice Cream Parlor and Mini Golf Course.
Explore Buffalo Indoors
Although Buffalo's outdoor activities list is nothing short of mind-boggling, the town's inside track is also appealing. Buffalo's Historic Main Street boasts a bevy of art galleries, photography studios, and shops brimming with antiques, gifts and sporting equipment. There's custom-made wrought iron work at Arrowhead Forge. Margo's Pottery & Fine Crafts offers ceramics, blown glass, fabric arts and much more. You can see wildlife and landscape photography at Wild Wyoming Images or browse paintings and sculptures by local artists at the Hitching Post Gallery.
Also downtown, don't miss visiting the restored circa 1880 Occidental Hotel, Saloon and Virginian Restaurant. The Occidental once served as a hangout for Butch Cassidy and his sidekick—the Sundance Kid. Another legendary hotel guest, author Owen Wister, reportedly wrote The Virginian—the first western novel—at the historic Occidental. Today's saloon still sports telltale bullet holes from old-time gun showdowns, and the former bank vault is a present-day dining room.
Before you depart from Buffalo, be sure to tour the fascinating Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum at the Carnegie Library site. The museum contains displays of cultural artifacts given to amiable pharmacist Jim Gatchell by Native American friends who lived nearby during the early 1900s. Gatchell's drugstore was a meeting point for rowdy cowboys, Native Americans, homesteaders and army scouts alike. As his eclectic collection of war bonnets, arrows, guns, medicine bags, clothing and tools blossomed in the backroom of the drugstore, other local folks added their families' vintage pieces to the informal exhibit. After Gatchell's death in 1954, his family donated the diverse assortment to the people of Johnson County, and the memorial museum was launched. In addition to Gatchell's original collection and ongoing artifact donations, today's museum site includes a circa 1916 log cabin, early settlers' wagons, a replicated American Indian tipi and a sculpture honoring Nathan D. Champion, a revered resistance fighter in the Johnson County Cattle War of 1892.
When your camping group is ready to eat after shuffling around Buffalo, Wyoming, there are plenty of restaurants to visit. Spring for a hearty stack of blueberry breakfast pancakes at Pistol Pete's, sink your teeth into fresh deli sandwiches on homemade bread at Breadboard and savor the tasty elk tenderloin, duck or steak at The Virginian Restaurant.
Did You Know?
Many Wyoming historical sites are just a short drive from Buffalo, including Fort Phil Kearney, Fetterman's Massacre Site, Wagon Box Fight and the infamous "Hole in the Wall"—the hideout of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid along with the rest of the "Wild Bunch." Cassidy frequently visited the Occidental Hotel in Buffalo.
For More Information:
Wyoming Travel & Tourism
Discover Historic Buffalo