The Indian tribes that hunted buffalo knew what they were up against and devised ingenious ways of getting the big beasts to arrive at this site. A must visit historic Native American site if you are in the area. The quietness of this place is a chilling reminder of the turmoil that was involved in a great Buffalo Jump.
The buffalo jump at Madison Buffalo Jump State Park was used by numerous Native American tribes for approximately 2000 years, dating as far back as 500 B.C. and ending around 1750 A.D. The indigenous peoples stampeded the herds of bison off the cliff without the aid of horses or guns. They used the bison for food, clothing, provisions and shelter. The bison were forced into a stampede by young men known as runners. The runners were trained for endurance and speed. The bison were also forced into groups by linear cairns and logs that were placed to funnel the bison into specific locations on areas in behind the cliff face. The introduction of the horse to North America by European explorers and settlers brought about the end of the buffalo jumps. The State park has not changed much over the years; bone shards are still scattered at the base of the cliff and tepee rings still gather around the top.
The park is named for a canyon cliff used by Native Americans as a buffalo jump, where herds of bison were stampeded over the cliff as an efficient means of slaughter. Madison Buffalo Jump State Park is a day use-only park. It is open year-round for hiking, wildlife observation, and some picnicking.