First Peoples Buffalo Jump Montana State Park
Located near Ulm Montana
Take a journey into the past at First Peoples Buffalo Jump Montana State Park outside of Great Falls. Back a millennia ago, before Rome, or Greece, or even before the earliest civilizations in ancient Mesopotamia, Montana’s landscape was ruled by massive herds of buffalo, providing the native tribes who lived here a source of food and culture.
The visitor’s center and interpretive walking path make this one Montana’s most beautiful State Parks, describing in vivid detail how the First Peoples were able to work between many tribes, work together, and develop sophisticated tactics to survive and flourish in the Montana landscape.
As far back as 20,000 years ago, even before horses were introduced to North America, the First Peoples indigenous tribes who lived throughout Montana harvested buffalo herds at this buffalo jump. To the First People, buffalo was an essential part of life, providing perfect, warm, fur coats for the harsh winter and an essential food for the entire tribe. Before horses, the First Peoples would carefully select and coax a group of buffalo away from the main herds.
Boys wearing wolf pelts would agitate them so the buffalo would bunch up and become nervous, another boy wearing a buffalo calf hide would continue to call out to lead the herd towards the jump. With the wolves pressing from behind, and the calf calling for help leading them the herd would slowly be drawn into position. Then finally spooked into a run over the cliff.
This video is fifteen feet before the cliff looking over First Peoples Buffalo Jump. To the buffalo, it was an easy run towards the endless prairie.
Now, walk in the footsteps of the First Peoples and the ancient buffalo, watch for prairie dogs, rattlesnakes, great horned owls and coyotes. Tiptoe alongside the cliff side and look down for a safe place to jump to avoid the stampeding buffalo.