White Buffalo

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Spirit Mountain Ranch, Arizona

It is said that the odds of a bison being born with white fur are millions-to-one. At Spirit Mountain Ranch in the high country of northern Arizona, Dena and Jim Riley have spent years breeding the white buffalo. They now have eleven of these rare animals (which are technically bison), including several babies. For a modest admission fee, visitors are allowed to walk the grounds and photograph the bison. When I visited in the summer, the adult bison were shedding their fur.

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Two of the white buffalo.


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White buffalo babies.


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A fence covered with offerings left by Native Americans, who consider the white buffalo and the nearby San Francisco Peaks to be sacred.

Directions: Highway 180, 20 miles north of Flagstaff.

Last visited: June 2008. Update: When I returned in June 2010, Spirit Mountain Ranch was closed and for sale; reportedly the owner died and the bison were moved to Oregon.

Standard disclaimer: Sites are described for entertainment purposes only, as they were at the time of my last visit. I can not vouch for the current condition of the site or its accessibility.


Revised: August 28, 2010
Copyright © 2008 Joe Orman
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