Perhaps we should start with the fact that the highway signs should read “Bison Herd Overlook.” And we need to change the lyrics to Home on the Range (“Oh give me a home where the Bison roam…”) while we’re at it. As you’ll learn from an informational sign by a meadow where these big creatures often graze, “buffalos” are found in Africa and Asia; the North American Bison is the animal that roamed the American West in the millions until they were nearly wiped out in the late 1800s.
The herd you’ll (hopefully) see at this exit belong to the City and County of Denver, and are descendents of 7 of the remaining wild animals found in Yellowstone National Park in 1914. The city also brought 23 elk to this newly-created Denver Mountain Park.
Don’t be tempted to stick an arm through the fence to try to entice one of these giants to come closer or to pet it; bison are temperamental animals, and can be quite dangerous. Keep your distance.
Speaking of Bison, did you know…
|They weigh close to 2,000 pounds – and some males may top that weight.|
|A bison can outrun a Quarter horse in its favorite race length of ¼ mile (although it seems more likely that the bison would simply gore the quarter horse rather than race it).|
|They can jump a 6 foot fence from a standing position, or an 8 foot fence on the run. This helps explain the tall fence separating people from bison.|
By the way, be sure to check the large meadows on both sides of the Interstate for bison; they are able to pass under I-70 through a tunnel created to join the two parts of their pasture that were divided when the highway was built.
Update 11/2016: There is also a new buffalo overlook plus a trail connection at the next intersection at Chief Hosa. You head north off the exit, turn right and travel down the dirt road. This is where they feed the buffalo. This stop is along the Lariat Loop National Scenic Byway.
For more information, contact:
Denver Parks and Recreation Department
201 W. Colfax Ave., Dept. 108
Denver, CO 80202