Madison Buffalo Jump was used by numerous Native American tribes for about 2000 years. Young men called ‘runners’ were trained in speed and endurance. The ‘runners’ would wear buffalo, antelope, or wolf skins and cause entire herds of buffalo to stampede off the cliff. By using logs, the tribes would funnel the buffalo to certain points on the cliff where other members of the tribe would be waiting to start the long process of utilizing all parts of the fallen animals. It’s pretty amazing to thing they did all of this without the aid of horses or guns.
We walked the quarter mile to the interpretive center where they had great signs explaining the whole process.
In the picture above you can see the cliff where the buffalo would fall. There are still tons of bones at the base of the cliff where the women of the tribe would prepare the buffalo to be used as food, clothing, shelter and tools. There’s a mile hike that takes you up the side of the cliff to the top…so of course we did it! The path started off just fine until we got to the part where it took us right up the side of the cliff. That’s when we started huffing and puffing and I started slowing down to take pictures of all the pretty flowers…and to catch my breath…but really I was distracted by the flowers. No one complained when we stopped every few feet for me to snap another few pictures!
The view from the top was amazing. We stood there catching our breath and appreciating the view…and the fact that the hard part was over. It’s always hard while we’re in the middle of it, but we’re always so glad we did it. Especially, this particular hike. The lease for the land that this state park sits on is up soon and there’s talk of not renewing it.
Once we got to the top of the cliff it was another quarter mile or so to the front of the cliff. The path was flat and no one complained…I’m not sure if that’s because we were all enjoying the views or because we were all still out of breath.
See that dot toward the center of the above picture? That teeny tiny dot is the interpretive center we started at!
We found a side path while we were on top that led over to a different view of the cliff.
Going down is so much easier sometimes!! You can see that for most of the hike we were surrounded by pretty tall grass.
See y’all on the road!