Buffalo Trails Tour
At the center of the Northern Plains is a rugged section of Badlands, buttes and fertile grasslands where cattle and sheep graze, and the deer and antelope still roam. This region – bordered by the towns of Hettinger, N.D. and Lemmon, Bison and Buffalo, S.D. – is where Lakota and Dakota people conducted the last hunts of the majestic, wild buffalo that once roamed the grasslands in great herds. Read snippets on events at the locations below. Click here to order your copies of trail companion books "Buffalo Trails in the Dakota Buttes" and "Buffalo Heartbeats Across the Plains" to read the rest of the stories. Start your journey with a visit to the buffalo mount “Prairie Thunder” at Dakota Buttes Museum in Hettinger. Click here for the TR to the Faces Tour of western North and South Dakota.
LAST STAND OF THE BUFFALO 1880-83
Site where the American buffalo made their last stand in a remote and beautiful valley and others like it within a radius of 30 or 40 miles. We call this the Butchering Site because of the many buffalo bones found here.
10 miles east of Hettinger on Highway 12 Hettinger, ND
Hiddenwood Hunt 1882
The is where the "Last Great Buffalo Hunt" began on or about June 20, 1882, near Hiddwenwood Cliff. Hunters killed 2,000 buffalo the first day and quick-butchered them on the second. By the third day, the herd had not moved far and hunters killed 3,000 buffalo that day.
SHADEHILL BUFFALO JUMP
The buffalo jump, an ancient hunting technique, took advantage of cliffs that commonly border creeks and rivers in the Plains. A successful jump depended on having a large number of animals. At the site, two layers of buffalo bones totaling 16 feet thick on the face of the cliff were clearly visible until World War II.
RESCUING FIVE CALVES
This may well be the area where Pete Dupree and his family came with a buckboard wagon in early summer 1881 or 1882 to rescue buffalo calves. This noted rescue by Native Americans was likely here or within 30 miles of this beautiful grassland on the South Grand River.
Slim Butte Hunts
Winters on the Northern Plains vary from snowy, windy and cold to sunny and moderate. The Slim Buttes are a very delightful place for reenacting history. Find a scenic place where you might enjoy viewing buffalo - or joining the hunt and imagine riding with Lakota hunters.