Long before Europeans or Americans first set foot in this country, the Nez Perce left behind vivid evidence of their association with this land. On either side of an eddy formed by a series of sharp bends in the Snake River, are densely grouped clusters of petroglyphs and pictographs. Known as Buffalo Eddy, the unique petroglyphs contain hundreds of distinct images that possibly date from as early as 4,500 years ago.
Getting to Buffalo Eddy
Buffalo Eddy is 18 miles south of Asotin, Washington on Snake River Road.
Driving to Buffalo Eddy
From Lewiston, ID follow U.S. Highway 12 and cross the blue bridge across the Snake River. At the first intersection veer to the left onto State Highway 129, following the signs to Asotin, WA. State Highway 129 heads south, along the bank of the Snake River. Continue following the river along County Road 209/Snake River Road. Travel approximately 15 miles and the turn out for the trail head will be on the left side.
Taking a Boat to Buffalo Eddy
The petroglyphs on the Idaho side are only accessible by boat. There are various Snake River outfitters that can be contacted for additional information on river boat tours.
Things to Do at Buffalo Eddy
Explore the Site
This site consists of two groups of rock outcroppings with several petroglyphs on both sides of the Snake River. One side is in Washington and one side is in Idaho, approximately 20 miles south of Lewiston, Idaho. On the Washington side near Asotin, there is a small hiking trail that has interpretive signs that explain more about the Nez Perce people and the petroglyphs seen here.
Buffalo Eddy is located approximately 34 miles southwest of the Nez Perce National Historical Park's visitor center where further information is available.
Fees, Permits, and Reservations
The general public does not need to pay entrance fees, make reservations, or obtain permits from the National Park Service for any recreational activities at Buffalo Eddy including hiking.
Respecting Sacred Ground
These ancient petroglyphs are sacred to the Nez Perce and protected by federal law. The digging, collection, or damaging of these resources is a felony offense punishable by fines up to $100,000 or imprisonment or both. Please help us protect and respect Buffalo Eddy so that generations of visitors will be able to experience them.
Learn more about Buffalo Eddy
By studying the remnants of ancient sites like Buffalo Eddy, we attempt to understand the traditions of the Nez Perce ancestors.
Last updated: June 8, 2022