Yellowstone History & Museums: History of Yellowstone National Park: Tower

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Tower Area History

The Tower area holds a few key pieces of the park's history. Discover the Buffalo Ranch, Pleasant Valley, the Bannock Trail, and a couple registered historic sites.

Buffalo Ranch
The Lamar Buffalo Ranch was established in the early 1900s as an effort to increase the buffalo population within the park. At the time, bison were close to extinction. While buffalo ranching ceased around 1950, a few of the historic buildings still stand. You can drive by for a glimpse but they are not open to the public, other than to host an educational program called Expedition Yellowstone.

Pleasant Valley
One of the first lodging facilities, "Uncle John" Yancey's Pleasant Valley Hotel, once stood here. Built between 1884 and 1893, none of the buildings remain. Today, the park concessionaire Xanterra hosts Old West cookouts at this location.

The Bannock Trail
Once a popular trail for Native Americans to access bison on the east side of the park, the trail follows portions of the Lamar River and in some places is covered by the existing highway. You can see pieces of the trail, but it is no longer in use.

National Historic Sites
Other sites in the area that are registered on the National Register of Historic Places include the Roosevelt Lodge and Cabins and the Northeast Entrance Ranger Station.

Backcountry Offices
While the Tower Roosevelt area has no visitor center or museum, it is home to three backcountry offices (Tower Junction, Buffalo Ranch, and Northeast Entrance). These backcountry offices offer backcountry permits and fishing licenses.

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