Lamar Buffalo Ranch

Lamar Buffalo Ranch

Lamar Buffalo Ranch - Lamar Valley Overlook

Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley is known worldwide for its breathtaking beauty and abundant wildlife. The Lamar River meanders through the valley and is flanked by the impressive Absaroka Mountains. Dramatic vistas reveal groves of cottonwood and aspen trees, complimented by a dazzling array of lakes, creeks, and ponds.

Such is the setting for the Lamar Buffalo Ranch. The ranch was established in 1907 to preserve Yellowstone’s bison after they had been hunted to near extinction. The buffalo ranch remains a significant structure and symbol for its role in the history of wildlife management and the preservation of the American bison.

The Lamar Buffalo Ranch serves as a field campus for National Park Service and Yellowstone Forever Institute educational programs for visitors of all ages and interests.

What to expect at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch

Yellowstone Forever Institute programs and facilities benefit from the hard work and generosity of volunteer program assistants. You will likely meet one, or more, of the program assistants assisting your program. Program assistants receive professional training in Wilderness First Aid, emergency response, and bus driving.

Additionally, they help with program logistics, cleaning and maintenance of facilities, and anything you might need during your time with us.

Your program payment includes lodging, tuition, and transportation during your program. It does not include transportation to the park, food, park entrance fees, and instructor gratuities.

For specific class details, including an agenda, a letter from the instructor, class specific equipment, and a recommended reading list, see the course letter listed in the program details.



The communal bunkhouse is open at all times and is the center of activity at the Ranch. It houses two classrooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom. Students are urged to make themselves at home in the bunkhouse by meeting new people, enjoying a midnight snack, and relaxing with classmates. The first classroom is used as a mudroom where coats and boots can be left by the door. Be sure to bring a pair of slippers or moccasins to wear in the bunkhouse!


The ranch has a shared, heated bathhouse complete with men’s and women’s bathrooms and private showers.

As there are no bathrooms in the individual cabins, the bathhouse is nearby the cabins and has paper towels and hand soap for convenience. Students will be provided a code for the bathhouse door on arrival. Students will need to bring their own toiletries and bath towels.


Yellowstone Forever Institute students in Field Seminars stay in our rustic lodging at the historic Lamar Buffalo Ranch as part of their class. During summer 2023, all participants
will stay in a Private Single Cabin (cabin to yourself) unless otherwise requested (folks traveling together).

Each log cabin has three single beds, chairs, propane heaters, and reading lamps. Bring a sleeping bag, pillow, extra blankets if you like, a flashlight for getting around at night, and a non-electric alarm clock (cabins do not have outlets).

Stoves, lanterns, and candles cannot be used in or around the cabins, and smoking and food are not permitted in the cabins. Camping and pets (with the exception of service animals) are not allowed.

All lodging is available for check-in at 4:00 p.m. MST on the first evening and lodging check-out is at 9:00 a.m. MST on the final course date. On-site lodging is required for Lamar Buffalo Ranch courses, and dates are non-negotiable.

Kitchen and meals

Guests bring and prepare all their own food, including snacks. The kitchen is a community area where everyone does their own cooking and cleans up after themselves. Meals should be kept simple since you will be preparing your meals in a shared cooking facility. It is equipped with gas stoves, a microwave, toaster, plates, silverware, cooking utensils, pots, and pans. Additionally, ranch staff supply spices, coffee, tea, sugar, and creamer.

We can cater to most all food allergies/restrictions; please note them in your registration.

The shared kitchen has all the equipment you need to make simple meals.

Frequently asked questions

What airport should I fly into?
Commercial airlines serve the following airports near Yellowstone National Park all year: Cody and Jackson, WY; Bozeman and Billings, MT, and Idaho Falls, ID. The West Yellowstone, MT airport is serviced from early May to mid-October from Salt Lake City, UT.

Does YF offer a shuttle service?
Yellowstone Forever does not currently have a shuttle service available.

Is alcohol allowed at the ranch?
Yes, however it is BYOB and you must be 21+ years of age to consume.

Are tents or trailers allowed at LBR?
No, all participants must stay in a designated cabin.

How do I communicate with the instructor before the class?
All questions and communication about the program can be directed at the Instructor, who will reach out to you first. For general questions please reach the Contact Center at 406-848-2400 or [email protected].

What is an emergency number I can give family to reach me?

Can my spouse/partner stay with me and not take the class?
No, all participants must register in the class if they are utilizing lodging at the ranch.

Can participants stay in Lamar lodging before or after the class?
Yes, only on a case-to-case basis. To inquire if there is availability, please contact YF at

What are YF’s Covid-19 Protocols?
For the most current information, please visit our website:

What kind of food should I bring?
The kitchen has everything needed to make any basic meal. Breakfast and dinners typically take place at LBR and participants are able to cook full meals, however, remember you are sharing a fridge room and will have a large plastic tub (of your own) to put non-perishable items in. For many of the programs plan on bringing sack lunch items for lunch in the field.

Does YF provide linens for the cabins?
We do not. Please bring your own.

Can I rent equipment from YF?
YF does have limited rental gear, please reach out directly. Otherwise, there are locations in Bozeman, Gardiner, and Mammoth Hot Springs where gear can be reserved.

Can CPAPS be accommodated?
In most cases, yes. Please reach out to YF directly for more information.

Where can I park my car when on my Field Seminar?
There is a large, gravel parking lot at the ranch where you will be able to park your vehicle while attending your program.

Is an instructor tip included in my program payment?
Gratuities for the instructors are not included but are recommended and greatly appreciated.

  • LBR, Lamar Buffalo Ranch, cabin