Montana Outdoors

February 16, 2012

The icicles of Buffalo Bill Canyon

Filed under: ice art, Winter — Tags: , , , , — montucky @ 10:15 pm

Buffalo Bill Canyon icicles

Although this may look something like a series of fountains, it is really a display of naturally formed ice on the side of a cliff about three hundred feet above the bottom of a small canyon. They are formed by water from small seeps through the rock, aided to some extent by snow-melt, which drip and trickle down, freezing over months of cold nights into icicles. I would estimate that the taller ones are six to ten feet tall.


  1. The crazy roughness of the rocks brings out the pristine beauty of the ice…. Very nice!


    Comment by seekraz — February 16, 2012 @ 10:23 pm

    • It’s a beautiful cliffy area. The bottom of the canyon is quite brushy and so it’s difficult to get a wide shot of the whole thing.


      Comment by montucky — February 16, 2012 @ 11:47 pm

  2. Too many long days of computer screens at work have kept me away from many of the blogs I enjoy visiting – one page of yours and I am kicking myself for not having checked more recently. As always, great shots.


    Comment by Daveabirding — February 16, 2012 @ 10:53 pm

  3. Great shot! We have some canyons in the area that develop similar “icefalls” every winter, but I’ve never been able to get a good shot. Where’s Buffalo Bill Canyon?


    Comment by aarontheisen — February 16, 2012 @ 10:57 pm

    • It’s about 7 miles west of Plains, off Highway 200, just east of Weeksville Creek. You can drive about 2 miles up the canyon and then the road is closed as it enters Plum Creek land, but non-motorized use is OK. The ice is about a mile and a half past the gate.


      Comment by montucky — February 16, 2012 @ 11:50 pm

  4. Beautiful capture of these ice falls. I have seen similiar looking ice along the roads. But, we have have warmer weather and there is not much ice around. I love your photo, it is pretty. Have a great day!


    Comment by eileeninmd — February 17, 2012 @ 3:28 am

    • We have ice columns along several of the highways locally too, although this year they are not very pronounced. These form every year in a fairly small section of very high cliffs above the canyon. The photo was taken at a focal length of 210mm. Perhaps I will post more photos later of some of the other formations.


      Comment by montucky — February 17, 2012 @ 11:41 pm

  5. It’s interesting how grounwater will seep all winter through frozen soil. I’d like to get in there for a closer look at the lichens that are all over those rocks. it might be quite a climb though, by the looks.


    Comment by New Hampshire Gardener — February 17, 2012 @ 3:58 am

    • There are literally walls of lichens along that cliff face, many in very bright colors. One huge rock near the top of the cliffs had an areaI would estimate to be 40 feet X 50 feet covered with Candelaria concolor lichens.


      Comment by montucky — February 17, 2012 @ 11:46 pm

  6. It’s Old Man Winter’s beard! See him smiling behind it?


    Comment by shoreacres — February 17, 2012 @ 7:51 am

    • He has actually had a pretty good year here so far. Lots of snow up high and fairly mild in the valleys. We are having lots of light snow showers now that should continue for at least another week.


      Comment by montucky — February 17, 2012 @ 11:50 pm

  7. It is beautiful! I love the mossy accents on the earth painting.


    Comment by sandy — February 17, 2012 @ 8:59 am

    • Yes, the winter moss is about at its peak now. Amazing stuff!


      Comment by montucky — February 17, 2012 @ 11:51 pm

  8. Hi Montucky, We had tiny ones on our cars last week when it got quite cold here. Yours are so much lovelier! Have a splendid day!


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — February 17, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

    • We also had a few weeks where there were a lot of icicles too. They are probably about over for the year now in the valley locations.


      Comment by montucky — February 17, 2012 @ 11:53 pm

  9. As always, spectacular photo! Your pictures always warm my heart, so I nominated you in my post today – – for the Sunshine Award.


    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — February 17, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

    • Thank you for thinking of me for the award! I’m so pleased that my photos warm you up, even the winter ones. Seeing the beauty that nature holds warms me as well.


      Comment by montucky — February 18, 2012 @ 12:16 am

  10. All kinds of curves in this photo. Lovely!


    Comment by Emily — February 17, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

    • There are several scenes like this one in that area and the layout of the ice is just incredible.


      Comment by montucky — February 17, 2012 @ 11:54 pm

  11. I enjoy seeing sights like this.


    Comment by Tammie — February 17, 2012 @ 11:18 pm

    • I do too, Tammie. I wish I could show to whole scene to show where these are located on the tall cliffs, but I just haven’t been able to capture it.


      Comment by montucky — February 17, 2012 @ 11:56 pm

  12. Nice wonders of Nature. Cliffs are looking so rough. I just wonder what there is behind of the back of photographer.


    Comment by Sartenada — February 18, 2012 @ 2:34 am

    • The photo was taken from a snow bank just above the canyon bottom that I had climbed in order to get above the brush and get a clear shot of the ice.


      Comment by montucky — February 18, 2012 @ 8:57 pm

  13. Wow, 10 feet tall, that would be awesome to see!


    Comment by Candace — February 18, 2012 @ 7:08 pm

    • They really are awesome to see, Candace. There is quite a variety of them too.


      Comment by montucky — February 18, 2012 @ 8:59 pm

  14. Just beautiful…it does look very much like a frozen waterfall.


    Comment by kateri — February 19, 2012 @ 8:20 am

    • It does. I could imagine a cascade of water like that, but in summer, the scene simply doesn’t exist.


      Comment by montucky — February 19, 2012 @ 10:47 pm

  15. Nice ice.


    Comment by knightofswords — February 19, 2012 @ 8:40 pm

    • They are pretty, but like all ice art, very short-lived.


      Comment by montucky — February 19, 2012 @ 10:50 pm

  16. Is there a waterfall there in the summer, or is this weeping cliff a winter-only phenomenon?


    Comment by Anonymous — February 19, 2012 @ 9:56 pm

    • It is not a waterfall, just slow seeps through the rock with a little help from snow melt. In summer all that can be seen is a slight shimmer from the dampness.


      Comment by montucky — February 19, 2012 @ 10:52 pm

  17. Love this!! It always surprises me when waterfalls freeze like they do. It has to be so cold to arrest this formidable force of nature!


    Comment by Marcie — February 20, 2012 @ 7:11 am

    • It takes a lot of very cold nights to create these ice scenes. They are all amazing!


      Comment by montucky — February 20, 2012 @ 9:22 pm

  18. Great shot – another place I need to visit. 🙂


    Comment by Mike — February 21, 2012 @ 12:10 am

    • I’m hoping some day this might be preserved as a wildlife sanctuary, but who knows.


      Comment by montucky — February 21, 2012 @ 11:46 pm

  19. We have lots of these, especially on north facing bedrock slopes. They are stunning, especially in the early morning sun. Nice interesting photo, a beautiful study.


    Comment by WildBill — February 22, 2012 @ 5:57 pm

    • I haven’t seen the sun hit these, but I’ve not been there early in the morning either. Might be worth a try!


      Comment by montucky — February 22, 2012 @ 11:17 pm

  20. Beautifully rustic, rough, natural and frozen. I really like this! Great capture! 🙂


    Comment by Anna — February 23, 2012 @ 9:40 am

    • Yes, it’s all of that. A beautiful place awaiting those who will make the effort to go there.


      Comment by montucky — February 23, 2012 @ 10:14 pm

  21. I can see the currents and froth of this frozen river. I can see pools and streams of glass…a perfect winter’s vision.


    Comment by aubrey — February 24, 2012 @ 1:46 am

    • Yes, it’s like a celebration of winter, but a very private display at the most.


      Comment by montucky — February 25, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

  22. I really enjoy seeing frozen water facings such as this. Very picturesque!


    Comment by Watching Seasons — February 26, 2012 @ 11:14 pm

    • I really enjoy them too. There are about a dozen sets in this canyon, and about half of those are quite large and all different.


      Comment by montucky — February 26, 2012 @ 11:46 pm

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