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Feb 22nd
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Home Places to Visit Historic Towns Visit the Town of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Buffalo, Wyoming

Visit the Town of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Called the Gateway to Yellowstone

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Buffalo, Wyoming, known to some as the "Gateway to Yellowstone," is an American gem that many visitors only discover on their way to one of the West's most popular outdoor destinations.

But this little town, tucked between the rolling plains of the rugged western landscape in northern Wyoming and the towering peaks of the Big Horn Mountains, as well as the vast Big Horn National Forest, is just dripping with the dramatic history of the "Old West."
 
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For example, few people know about Buffalo's important contribution to the history of the western frontier. This is the place where infamous western characters such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, as well as many other outlaws, holed up after their numerous exploits.

Visitors to the Buffalo area today can enjoy views of the spectacular red rock buttes and wide open spaces of "The Hole in the Wall." This is the old stomping grounds of these wild outlaws who frequented this area of Johnson County while having their run-ins with the law. Buffalo also was a stop-off for miners smitten with gold rush fever who were traveling on the Bozeman Trail.

Some of the most famous Indian battles in American history occurred in this area, as well as the Johnson County Cattle War, a rangeland dispute in the 1880s which historians often deem as one of the most notorious events in the history of the west, and visitors can still see those sites today.

Those who crave a true taste of the western heritage can pay a visit to the Occidental Hotel, a destination frequented by Owen Wister, author of the epic American novel, The Virginian, who based many of his characters on the real-life people that he encountered in Buffalo. Other famous hotel guests included Buffalo Bill Cody, President Teddy Roosevelt, General Phil Sheridan, and Calamity Jane.

Then there's Fort Phil Kearney, one of the three forts built as the U.S. Army moved north to protect immigrants on the Bozeman Trail; it's located at the foot of the Big Horns outside of Buffalo. The largest stockade post of its time, it was under almost daily attack by Lakota and Cheyenne warriors during its brief two-year existence.

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A visit to this site includes walking trails, historical markers, stunning scenery, and great wildlife viewing opportunities. A visit to the Jim Gatchell museum gives visitors an overview of important historical events and sites such as the Johnson County Cattle War, Fetterman Battlefield, Wagon Box Fight, Bomber Mountain, Bozeman Trail, Pioneer history, and the Native Americans that inhabited the area.

The charming main street, complete with quaint shops, inviting restaurants, museums, and a public picnic area, is a great place to take a stroll and experience a town that personifies the "Old West."

The U.S. Department of the Interior now lists all of downtown Buffalo a part of their National Register of Historic Districts program.

The outdoor adventure, however, might be the most surprising aspect to tantalize travelers. The Big Horn Mountains and the National Forest create a veritable year-round outdoor playground. The area is alive with color in the spring and summer months as the wildflowers blanket the terrain.

Moose, antelope, and deer can be seen with their young around the spring and summer months, making it a perfect time for hiking, biking, and camping. Lake DeSmet, just seven miles north of Buffalo, brings boaters, surfers, swimmers, and fisherman out to enjoy the great outdoors. Day hikes and camping spots in the wilderness can be found within 30 minutes of Buffalo, and pack trips by horseback are popular activities during summer months.

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The yellows and oranges of fall open the doors for hunting season, which begins in October. Buffalo is a popular location for hunters looking for game and fine western hospitality.

Winter sports enthusiasts will not be disappointed with the miles of picturesque cross country, downhill, and snowmobiling trails in Buffalo's Willow Park and Pole Creek. Snowshoeing, ice fishing, and ice skating areas are also all within a short reach of the historic downtown area.

Of course the best part about Buffalo is the fact that travelers won't rub elbows with too many people. The population of Buffalo tops off at just below 4,000 residents, and many tourists have not discovered this little hideaway yet, despite of its great location en route to Yellowstone and all of the surrounding outdoor recreation.

Buffalo offers adventure and the spirit of the "Old West," but for far less money than other tourist-favored spots. For more information about Buffalo, Wyoming, visit the website at
www.buffalowyo.com or call (800) 227-5122.

Editor's Note: Stephanie Moreland is a freelance writer based in Houston, Texas. Her website can be found at
www.morelandwrites.com


 
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