Snowy Buffalo Gap, gateway to far western Augusta County and beyond

By Lynn R. Mitchell

??????????Ten miles west of Staunton is Buffalo Gap, a pass through Little North Mountain in western Augusta County. It lies in the shadow of Elliott’s Knob at 4,456 feet elevation. At an elevation of almost 1,800 feet, it is the gateway to Goshen, Warm Springs, Hot Springs and The Homestead and further west but many years ago when buffalo still roamed the area it was their gateway to the Shenandoah Valley for winter grazing.

??????????About 15 years ago an older resident from Craigsville who regularly visited GOP Headquarters in Staunton told about traveling to Staunton when he was a boy before Rt. 42 was through the Gap. The mountain blocked all but a small passage along the creek so anyone heading east turned onto the Parkersburg Turnpike at the little white Buffalo Gap Presbyterian Church and traveled over the mountains to Deerfield, then took Rt. 250 east where they stopped at Buckhorn Tavern i.e. Buckhorn Inn at Jennings Gap to spend the night. The next day they would complete their travel to Staunton and then retrace their tracks to return home. In later years (I haven’t been able to find out when) the mountain’s rock ledge in the Gap was blasted away to make room for Rt. 42 to pass through the Gap for a straight shot from Craigsville to Staunton. What took two days in the past now takes about 20-30 minutes.

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??????????The famous buffalo on top of the only service station in Buffalo Gap is a traditional tourist sight on the way west to The Homestead.

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??????????Buffalo Gap is populated with the high school, the gas station and convenience store, and cabins, homes, and camps.

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??????????Buffalo Branch flows through the Gap. It’s easy to imagine buffalo shuffling along its bank as they made their way east to west and back again.

??????????This little log cabin flocked with snow reminded of something from a fairy tale.

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Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
March 6, 2015

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