High atop Lookout Mountain, towering above Golden, CO (home of Colorado School of Mines and COORS Brewing Company), is the final (and fitting) resting place of one of America's legendary frontiersmen, William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody.
I-70 from Denver, will get you there just fine (with a turnoff at Lookout Mountain Rd...find a GPS, don't take me at my word, though it's easy enough to get there)...the winding switchbacks of the historic Lariat Loop Byway will take you up the other side from Golden. Plan to take the Loop for the scenery and vistas of the Great Plains, at least one of the ways, either up or down.
Born in 1846, Buffalo Bill went on to dabble in fur trapping, gold mining, riding for the Pony Express, soldiering in the Civil War, scouting for the Army, and buffalo hunting - but was undoubtedly most famous for his world renowned "Buffalo Bill's Wild West", in later years.
This beautiful little museum will cost you all of $5.00 to tour ($4.00 for seniors, $1.00 for children 6-15...under that, you're free). There is no charge for wandering up the hill to the grave if you choose to skip the museum and just enjoy the beautiful views the area affords (do the museum, though - you'll be glad you did).
The museum is featuring a special exhibit presently, dedicated to the American Indians who travelled with the show. "Oskate Wicasa - One Who Performs" will be on display until January of 2014.
Performers re-enacted the riding of the Pony Express, Indian attacks on wagon trains, and stagecoach robberies. The show was said to end with a re-enactment of Custer's Last Stand, in which Cody portrayed General Custer, but this was more legend than fact, in all actuality. The finale was typically said to be a portrayal of an Indian attack on a settler's cabin. Cody would ride in with an entourage of cowboys to defend a settler and his family.
Trick and sharp shooting were also on the bill during the shows - there's a little something for just about every old west history buff at this museum...plus a hands-on area for the little ones, where they can dress up cowboy style - boots, chaps, the whole nine yards - and rope a steer. An approximate 15 minute video at the beginning of the museum gets you off on a great start to your self-guided tour through the displays.
The Pahaska Tepee was built as the original Museum in 1921 and remains today as the Museum gift shop and cafe - a regional tourist destination for many decades, we had some pretty fabulous Root Beer Floats there that afternoon, after paying our respects to old Bill, up the hill, behind the "Tepee".
Cody died, in Denver, in 1917. There's been quite a bit of controversy over the years, that continues to this day, between the city of Denver and Cody, WY (and most recently, NE), over where exactly his final resting spot should be (after ALL these years). Family and friends affirmed, before burial, that Lookout Mountain was indeed his own, personal choice.
On June 3, 1917, Buffalo Bill was buried on Lookout Mountain, a promontory with spectacular views of both the mountains and plains, places where he had spent the happiest times of his life. His wife, Louisa, lies beside him. The walk to the grave is paved, and on a slight incline - nothing strenuous...just a beautiful stroll through the pines.
The grave and museum are open year-round - for more info on times and driving directions, as well as an online look at the museum offerings and special events, please visit BUFFALO BILL MUSEUM AND GRAVE.
As you travel through the foothills (or Colorado's larger mountain ranges) keep your eyes open for wildlife on the sides of and/or crossing roads (these are Mule Deer, or "Mulies", as they are also affectionately known). A late winter/early spring storm was moving in the day we visited the museum, or those skies would be as brilliant blue as the background of the CO flag.
Til' next week on "Travel Tuesday", happy trails and SAFE travels! Holding the people of Granbury, TX and Moore, OK, in our hearts - XOXO