The Occidental Hotel looks...
The Occidental Hotel looks just like it did back in the 1880s when famous people such as Butch Cassidy, the Sundance kid, Calamity Jane, and Buffalo Bill Cody stayed there.
Every now and then you find one of those spots that just happens to be located in the perfect place. Buffalo, Wyoming, is one of those spots. Located where Interstate 25 meets up with Interstate 90, it’s smack dab in the middle of two well-traveled routes. It’s also nestled at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains and offers the only really good route across them for an RV.
The Johnson County cattle wars were centered in this area and the Bozeman Trail passes right through town. Numerous clashes between the Sioux Indians at the many cavalry forts placed along the trail took place in this area. The downtown is also a national historical area and was frequented by many outlaws, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, who were based out of the nearby Hole-in-the-Wall area.
Buffalo is particularly suited as an RV destination. A number of excellent campgrounds can be found in Buffalo and the U.S. Forest Service primitive campgrounds in the Bighorn Mountains are also available for those who prefer to rough it and get back to nature.
The local residents are genuinely friendly, and you’ll feel right at home walking the streets and visiting the shops and eating establishments. RV-related services abound, and the Cenex station on the edge of town is very big-rig friendly, so you’ll have no problem maneuvering to the diesel pumps. A scenic walking trail follows the river from the Bozeman Trail marker to the downtown area and it’s a great place to take your dog for a walk. We found that Buffalo was very pet friendly, and our German Shepherd was invited into the downtown visitors’ center, where they even fed him a treat and gave him a bowl of fresh, cool water.
One particular place of interest is the Occidental Hotel. Walking into the front door is like stepping through a time portal into the past. The lobby is a true museum, and photos of days long past adorn the hallways and the old barber shop. It’s still open for business, and you can choose from any number of restored rooms for your stay. In fact, Owen Wister wrote portions of The Virginian while staying at the Occidental; his suite is one of those available.
The many streams and hiking...
The many streams and hiking trails along Red Grade Road are a great place to exercise your dog.
One thing we always do when stopping in Buffalo is eat dinner in the Occidental’s restaurant, which, go figure, is named The Virginian. The chef has previously managed five-star restaurants, and the menu is excellent to say the least. However, this is Wyoming, so you really need to try the beef or bison. If you are lucky enough to be there on a Friday or Saturday night, be sure to try the Cattleman’s Cut of Prime Rib. That mouthwatering delicacy will give you a whole new appreciation for Wyoming beef.
The Jim Gatchell Museum is one of the best museums covering western history that you’ll find anywhere. Its extensive collections range from the early days, through the Indian wars, settlement of the area, geology, and even include parts of a B-17 bomber that crashed in the nearby mountains. An extensive collection of firearms, wagons, and Indian artifacts is present.
The 25-foot oak bar at the...
The 25-foot oak bar at the Occidental still serves guests today and rests beneath a bullet-riddled ceiling from a more violent era.
This sign at a pullout near...
This sign at a pullout near Burgess Junction is a mandatory stop for trucks and illustrates the hazards involved with descending the west face of the mountains via U.S. Route 14 or U.S. Route 14A.
These graves from the cavalry...
These graves from the cavalry era were found in Soldier Park, which is accessible from U.S. Route 16 as it passes through the Bighorns.