Buffalo Bill Blog

Nov
02

Bucket List

Cowboys sitting on a ledge looking at mountain peaks across the drawIt seems as though everyone has a “bucket list” these days. You know, the list of everything you want to do and see before you die. It is all about experiences. That’s why bucket list vacations can be so great! Usually you can usually plan a trip that incorporates several items. That’s why Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country is so perfect, it is all about seeing and doing!

If visiting Yellowstone National Park is not on your list, it should be!  Visitors come from all over the world to visit the nation’s first national park. Yellowstone is home to the largest concentrations of geysers and Two bison walking in front of Old Faithful as it eruptsgeothermal features in the world. Cross Old Faithful off your list.  Wildlife viewing is also a major attraction in the Park. Wolves, grizzly bears, and bison are just a few of the animals you may see.  Cross seeing these animals in the wild off your list.  If hiking in the Rocky Mountains is on your list, you can also check that one off by taking a great hike in Yellowstone. There are terrific hiking trails for all skill levels. You may have other experiences on your bucket list that can be done in Yellowstone. No matter what, everyone should visit Yellowstone National Park during their lifetime!

Three people on horseback riding looking at mountains to their rightMaybe visiting a dude ranch is on your list. There are several dude and guest ranches in Cody/Yellowstone Country.  These ranches are located in amazing mountain settings and are staffed with folks ready to treat you to genuine western hospitality. Ranch vacations offer all-inclusive packages that give you a lot of activities to choose from and can be much more affordable than doing the activities on your own. Ranches offer horseback riding, fishing, shooting, hiking and much more.  Some allow you to participate in the ranch chores so if being a cowboy or cowgirl was always your dream, this might be the trip for you.

Have you ever been to a Rodeo?  Cody is the “Rodeo Capital of the World” and the Cody Nite Rodeo is the longest running nightly rodeo in the country. From June 1 to August 31st, there is a rodeo in Cody every night. Cowboy on a bucking horse in a rodeo arenaCowboys and cowgirls from all over the west come to Cody to compete. It is said that every major rodeo star has spent time in Cody!  Rodeo events include bronc riding to bull riding and team roping to barrel racing. It may surprise you that adults and kids compete at the rodeo! Kids in the audience even have the opportunity to participate in a “calf scramble” where they get to chase a calf around the arena trying to get a ribbon off the calf’s tail. It is great fun!

Wild horses grazing on the prairieMost people have never stood on the range and observed a herd of wild mustang horses. What a unique experience! Cody has a herd of wild mustangs just outside of town. You can take a tour with a guide or venture out to the McCullough Peaks Wild Horse Management Area on your own.  If you choose a tour, your guide will take you to areas where the horses typically hang out. Your guide will talk about the history of the herd and will know about particular horses. It is an informative tour and really cool!  No matter how you experience the horse, you will be fascinated watching the horses in their natural habitat.

These are just a few options. There is so much more to see and do in Cody/Yellowstone Country. There should be at least one bucket list item on everybody’s list here! I am sure there are other bucket list items that Kayaker in the air dropping down a small fallcould be checked off as you travel to Cody/Yellowstone Country. With a little creativity, a trip to the area could include a bunch of items!

 

 

Cartoon Cowgirl with pigtailsUntil next time, I’ll be lovin life in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country!

 

Corrie N. Cody

 

Oct
25

Where to Stay in Cody/Yellowstone Country

A vacation in Cody/Yellowstone Country is spectacular! There is so much to see and do that you should plan to stay at least 2 days exploring Yellowstone National Park and at least 2 nights outside the Park in the Cody area.  The options for lodging are varied from motels to ranches to bed and breakfasts. Summer travelers should make reservations well in advance so that you get exactly what you want.


Front of two story hotelHotels and Motels:

When it comes to hotels and motels in Cody/Yellowstone Country, there is something for every taste and every budget. The unique thing about the Cody/Yellowstone area is you will find a hint of the West at each property.  You can choose from national chains or locally owned properties.  There are some motels that offer cabins in addition to their traditional motel rooms. The historic hotels and inns provide a glimpse into the past with their interesting stories woven into their décor. The high-end and boutique hotels keep the western theme of the area but offer all the modern day amenities that you would expect of a high-end property.  You can choose to be in the heart of downtown or a bit out of the way. Either way, you have lots of options. During peak season, Memorial Day to Labor Day, you should expect rates to be a little more than the off-season.

 

Bed and Breakfast:

If you want a quiet, relaxed atmosphere, check out a bed and breakfast.  The town of Cody has several unique bed and breakfasts. Most are charming, historic homes located close to the downtown area.  One is even an old church!  Each bed Front of bed and breakfast with shrubs and flowersand breakfast is unique and has its own personality. Rooms tend to be carefully decorated in a theme and have home-like amenities you just don’t get in a hotel.  Bed and breakfasts are also cost effective. Rates tend to be competitive with area hotels but bed and breakfasts are all about personal service including the breakfast they serve. You also get that personal connection with the innkeeper. They are usually more than happy to visit with you about the area and provide great tips on what to see in their town. This gives you the opportunity to check out the local flavor!

 

Large house at dusk with interior lights onGuest Houses:

If you are looking for a home away from home, then a guest house might be the perfect choice. You might have the mindset that renting a house is an extravagant choice but it can be very reasonable.

Cody/Yellowstone has several guest houses available to rent for one night, a week or even a month. There are several advantages to staying at a guest house. Having access to a full service kitchen may be  healthier than eating out and can save you money. Guest houses are great when traveling with children or your extended family. They are not confined to the small space of a room and can even enjoy playing and exploring outside.

 

Lodges/Guest Ranches:

There are several lodges and guest ranches located throughout Cody/Yellowstone country. These properties are located in spectacular landscapes. Many guests experience seeing the Milky Way for the first time at these lodges and ranches! Trail ride going past cabinsMost offer quaint cabins for one night to seven night all-inclusive packages. Guest ranch packages include lodging, meals and activities.  Horseback riding is the main activity but fishing, hiking, rafting and other outdoor activities may also be part of the ranch program. Some have special children’s programs for kids of all ages. Lodges tend to have al a carte meals and activities. You can count on true western hospitality when staying at a lodge or guest ranch.

 

Motorhome parked at campgroundCampgrounds/RV Parks:

Camping in Cody/Yellowstone country is a treat! You can choose to stay in a campground in or out of town. The campgrounds in town are close to area attractions and all have full hookups. You can choose from spaces for the largest motor coach to spots for setting up a tent.  A sense of community seems to be a part of staying in the full service campgrounds. Some even offer evening campfires and singers. There are also Forest Service campgrounds without hookups nestled near the Shoshone River and Buffalo Bill Reservoir. Campgrounds tend to be a very reasonable choice.

 

Yellowstone National Park:

There is nothing more exciting than staying in Yellowstone National Park! It is thrilling to be in such a majestic and wild place that people come from all over the world to experience. The Park has hotels, cabins and camping available. All areYellowstone Lake Hotel exterior. great options depending upon your preference. Most of the hotels are historic and have their own charm & modern amenities. Cabins tend to be a little more basic but full of personality. There are only a few campgrounds with full hookups so be prepared. No matter where you stay in the Park, you need to make reservations months in advance with the exception of some of the campgrounds that are on a first come, first serve basis.

 

So whether this is your first visit to the area or a regular on your getaway list, you have lots of options. As I said before, be sure to plan ahead and make reservations so you get your first choice in lodging. Until next time, I’ll be lovin’ life in Cody/Yellowstone Country!

Corrie N. CodyCartoon Cowgirl with pigtails

Oct
09

Top 11 Things To See In Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world.  It’s no wonder. This vast wonderland is home to a plethora of wildlife and geothermal features.  Where else in the world can you see a grizzly bear foraging for insects in the morning, a geyser erupting in the afternoon and a wolf howling at sunset? Not to mention the amazing scenery of this corner of the Rocky Mountains. It can be a little overwhelming when planning your trip. So to help with your planning here is Corrie’s Top 11 Things to see when visiting Yellowstone National Park.

  1. overhead view of large geyserOld Faithful  - The most popular sight-seeing spot in Yellowstone should be on your must-see list. It is the most reliable thermal feature in the world. Old Faithful erupts approximately every 91 minutes for a duration of about 2.5 minutes. It is a spectacular site to see! I suggest viewing the eruption from the boardwalk then take the short hike up to the Old Faithful Overlook and watch it from that vantage point.  After experiencing Old Faithful, I usually plan to spend about 3 hours walking the geyser basin. There are some really interesting thermal features to see. This brings me to the next item.
  2. Morning Glory Pool – This beautiful thermal pool is located at the end of the walking trail in the Upper Geyser Basin. It is a clear, robin’s egg blue color with orange colors on the outer rim. The pool’s shape and color resembles the Blue and orange hot springmorning glory flower hence the name.  The pool has an interesting past. For years it was “dismantled” by visitors looking for a souvenir while others threw trash, coins, rocks and logs into the pool. All of this vandalism has clogged its vent some and affected the color and temperatur.
  3. Grand Prismatic Spring – Six miles north of Old Faithful you will find the Midway Geyser Basin. It is home to one of the largest hot springs in the world.  It is 370 feet in diameter with a half mile boardwalk loop that skirts the eastern section of the spring. Heat-loving microorganisms contribute to the colors. The spring has a deep-blue in the middle with green, yellow and orange rings surrounding it giving it a prism effect. The best view of the spring is from overhead. There is a short hike to an overlook on the Fairy Falls Trail just south of the basin.
  4. Norris Geyser Basin – This interesting geyser basin is the hottest geyser basin in North America because it sits on several fault lines. Temperatures of 459 degrees have been recorded just a thousand feet below the surface. The water is very acidic in this basin due to a high concentration of sulfur. Because of this it is a barren place with few trees. There are two easy  walking trails in different parts of the basin. Both take you to a variety of geothermal features. The combined trails are 2 miles round trip and worth it.
  5. Waterfall and rainbowGrand Canyon of the Yellowstone – One of the most colorful and breathtaking spots in the Park is the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The Yellowstone River roars through the canyon for about 20 miles continuing to sculpt the canyon. Two major waterfalls are located in the canyon.  There are several great view points of the canyon and falls. Inspiration Point and Artist Point are popular viewing and photography points. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, be sure to take the half-mile hike down 300 steel grate steps to view the lower fall and get a different perspective of the canyon. Obviously, the hike coming up is more difficult so take advance of the resting spots on the way up and admire the beautiful walls and rock formations in the canyon.  The Canyon is spectacular no matter how you choose to view it!
  6. Tower Fall – Another spectacular waterfall is the Tower Fall in the Roosevelt section of the Park. Volcanic pinnacles above the fall provide a dramatic backdrop. It is a short walk from the Tower Fall General Store to the main viewing point. There is also a half mile hike to the base. This is a steep hike down switchbacks but well worth it. Take the same trail out. Not only is this a beautiful waterfall but it is also a great wildlife viewing area. I have been lucky enough to see mountain goats on the peaks above the fall, an owl nesting in a hollow tree near the main trail and a black bear across the river.
  7. Lamar Valley – One of the best wildlife viewing areas in the Park is the Lamar Valley. It is known as the “Serengeti of the U.S.” because hundreds of bison roam the river valley in the summer as well as antelope, wolf packs and bears. Bison grazingTwo rivers confluence in the valley making it a great grazing spot for wildlife. Wolf watchers set up their spotting scopes and chairs and wait for the opportunity to see a Yellowstone wolf. It is also one of the best fly fishing spots in the Park. It is not unusual to see fisherman in the river with bison grazing nearby. Lamar is also home to some great hiking trails for those wanting to get off the beaten path.
  8. Petrified Forests – Yellowstone is home to the largest area of petrified trees known to exist. The volcanic activity of the region left deposits of ash and mudflows that buried forests for millions of years. Twenty-seven different forests have been discovered on top of each other in Yellowstone.  The Specimen Ridge area has the largest concentration of standing petrified trees. There is no trail to the forest but rangers do lead hikes into the area and maps are available to do it on your own. If you just want to see a petrified tree up close, take the Petrified Tree turn off just past Tower Junction. You can walk right up to the tree and read about its history.
  9. Yellowstone Lake – Yellowstone is home to the largest high elevation lake in North America. Yellowstone Lake has a surface area of 132 square miles with 141 miles of shoreline. You can drive the northern and western shorelines. Since large lake with boatthe lake sits in part of the Yellowstone caldera, there are geothermal features easily accessible. The lake freezes for about half of the year and the temperatures hover around 40 degrees in the summer.  If you want to get out on the water, you can take a scenic cruise, kayak tour or fishing excursion.
  10. Hayden Valley – This valley was once part of Yellowstone Lake. The sediments and glacial till left behind do not hold surface water, therefore, trees do not grow. Instead, lush grasses span this valley making it a haven for wildlife. Keep an eye out for bison, elk, wolves, geese, swans, pelicans and other water fowl. Grizzly bears are also known to frequent the area. There are several pull outs to stop and set up a spotting scope. Spotting wildlife is exciting in this beautiful valley.
  11. Travertine terracesMammoth Hot Springs – The constantly changing hydrothermal features at Mammoth Hot Springs make it a must see each time you visit the Park. This colorful spring deposits about two tons of travertine per day. Some terraces grow by eight inches a year. A boardwalk staircase guides visitors to all the levels of the springs and provides a great overview of the Park headquarters. Be sure to check out the Albright Visitor Center with exhibits and artwork from the early exhibitions in the Park. The center also has a ranger information desk and short films about the Park. It is not uncommon to see bison and elk in the Mammoth area, especially in the fall.

 

So there you have Corrie’s short list of “must –sees” in Yellowstone National Park. This is only the beginning to exploring the nation’s first and largest national park. I suggest planning to spend several days in the Park or plan several trips during different seasons. Fall is a spectacular time to explore Yellowstone. Hurry, Yellowstone’s visitor season ends November 4th.

Until next time, I’ll be lovin’ life in Cody/Yellowstone Country!

Corrie N. Cody

Cartoon cowgirl

 

 

Sep
04

Fall in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country

Mountain road with green treesI am so excited!  My favorite season is right around the corner – Fall!  The first of September signals a change in décor at my house!  Lots of oranges, yellows, reds and pumpkins emerge. There is something very serene about the colors of fall. The hue of the sky even seems golden.  Mix that with the new chill in the air and you can just smell the cider! I am so excited that Cody/Yellowstone is my home because fall is one of the most spectacular times to visit the area!

 

The pace slows down in the Cody/Yellowstone area in the fall. The school calendar has taken many travelers out of the mix. You won’t miss the crowds of summer. You will also find lots of deals.  I find it to be the Street sidewalk with people walkingmost relaxing time to visit. Most of the lodging properties drop their rates after Labor Day so look for some great rates. Many of the stores are liquidating their summer merchandise and have some great deals. I love to do some of my Christmas shopping while traveling in the fall.

 

Early morning photo of Old FaithfulYou will be the envy of all your friends when they see your fall photos from Yellowstone. Fall in the Rocky Mountains is something everyone should experience! The aspen leaves turn gold and quake in the wind making them look like pieces of gold. The reds from the maples and scrub oak add another dimension to the depth of color. The hot springs are even more beautiful as the cool air creates extra steam hanging above the pools. I love the blooming of the sage.  I noticed this week that the sage near my home is beginning to bloom. To the Wyoming cowboys of days gone by, the blooming of the sage was spiritual.

 

The wildlife in the Yellowstone ecosystem is very active in fall.  As some prepare for the upcoming winter by hurrying about collecting food, others have mating on their minds. All this makes for some pretty Chipmunk sitting on a rockspectacular wildlife viewing!  Bears are very active during this time in search of food. They must get as many calories as possible in preparation for hibernation.  The cooler temperatures make it more appealing for the bears to be out during daylight hours. Smaller mammals like squirrels, chipmunks and pikas are also scurrying around gathering food.

 

Frontal view of bisonIn mid-August, the bison of Yellowstone begin their “rut” or mating season. It is exciting to watch bison herds during this time because there is always something going on. The herds are also on the move as the bulls keep everybody moving. Bulls tend to lose about 200 pounds or 12% of their body weight during the rut due to the constant activity. Snorts, grunts and loud bellows from the bulls can be heard for miles to attract the females. Wallowing, or rolling in dirt, is another courting behavior during this time.  Both sexes wallow throughout the year but during the rut, the bulls do it competitively to lay down their scent.  Most of the year, these giants seem to meander through the Park but during the rut they are in high gear.

 

The elk mating season is also in the fall. Like the bison, the bull elk are active and vocal. The males “bugle” to let other males know they are in the area with their harem and not to get too close. They also bugle to the Large bull elk - side viewfemales instructing them to stay close. The sound of an elk bugle in the fall is truly one of the most wonderful sounds of fall for me. When you hear this echoing sound, you will feel very connected to nature. The bulls are gathering cow elk into harems and trying to keep them all to themselves while competing bulls try to get in on the action. This is when the iconic antler battles ensue, each bull displaying his strength to the on looking cows. This time of year can be amazing for wildlife watchers.

 

Front of museum with bronze wolf sculpture and Buffalo Bill sculpuptureA few attractions end their season in early September but there is still so much to do. If you visit before the end of September, most attractions will still be open with the exception of the Cody Nite Rodeo. The world class Buffalo Bill Historical Center is open year round and is a must see when visiting the area.  The quite season allows you to meander through the museum and really experience the exhibits. The Heart Mountain Interpretive Center is also open year round. Visit the camp where more than 14,000 Japanese-Americans were relocated to during WWII. This is a powerful and important piece of American history.

 

Don’t think it is too late to visit Cody/Yellowstone this year. Take a last minute trip this fall or plan to visit next fall. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!  Until next time, I’ll be lovin’ fall in Cody/Yellowstone Country,

Cartoon of a cowgirl with braids and cowboy hat

Corrie N. Cody

 

 

Aug
24

LABOR DAY WEEKEND

Mountains with moonWith a heavy heart, I must admit that summer is ending. Kids are back in school, days are shorter and busy fall schedules seem to be taking over the lazy days of summer. There is still one last hoorah for summer – Labor Day weekend!  There are several opportunities to get out and enjoy the weekend in Cody/Yellowstone Country.

The town of Cody has a great Labor Day festival each year in the City Park, the Labor-Less Music Fest. This year the festival has been expanded to a two day event. Cody’s City Park becomes the ”happening place to be” bandshell with band and spectatorsFriday evening at 6:00 PM when One Ton Pig takes the stage in the bandshell. Based in Jackson, this honky tonk and bluegrass band will make you want to get on your feet and dance! One Ton Pig is best known for packing Jackson Hole’s famous Silver Dollar Bar every Tuesday night.  They describe their music as “fun, dance-worthy, down-and-dirty, outlaw-country, bluegrass and Americana.” The band has played the Labor-Less Music Fest all three years and loves coming to Cody.  Saturday is chock full of fun. There will be “Zumba in the Park” as well as “Art in the Park.” The Art League will have a trunk show and kids art demos. Pack a picnic lunch or stop by one of the food vendors.   And of course, there will be music.  Saturday’s line-up includes The Fireants, Screen Door Porch and 10 Foot Tall and 80 Proof. Grab a lawn chair and chill out at the Park!

 

Tents and evergreen trees at a campgroundFor some, Labor Day weekend means camping! Cody/Yellowstone Country has great camping opportunities. Yellowstone National Park has twelve campgrounds with over 2000 sites. Reservations can be made at five of those campgrounds. The rest are on a first-come, first-serve basis. There is something very special about camping in Yellowstone! The Shoshone National Forest has more than 20 campgrounds. A few of these campgrounds have electrical hookups and some even have horse corrals.  I am partial to the more remote campgrounds that really get you into some spectacular country. Whatever your preference, Cody/Yellowstone Country won’t disappoint!

 

Meeteetse is known for its Labor Day celebration. This year is extra special as it the 100th Annual Labor Day Celebration. The weekend is kicked off on Saturday with the Meeteetse Absaroka Challenge Run, a “Trail rearing horse with cowboy hanging on to horseRunners Magazine” trophy run. Each day is jammed packed with activities!  Everything you would expect from a Wyoming town festival is part of the celebration – rodeos, parades, kiddie carnivals, food and live music. There will also be an Indian Pow Wow and old fashioned box social. A weekend in Meeteetse would not be complete without chocolate!  The Meeteetse Chocolatier will have special chocolates and music on Saturday and Sunday evenings. The weekend wraps up with a rubber Duck Race down the Greybull River. Meeteetse really knows how to celebrate!

 

Bull rider on bull coming out of the bucking shoot“Cody is Rodeo“ with the longest running nightly rodeo in the country. This year, Labor Day also signals the end of the Cody Nite Rodeo. The rodeo finals will be on Friday, August 31st. The summer’s top cowboys and cowgirls compete for the bragging rights and prize money. This is always a great night to see the rodeo!

 

If you are having a hard time deciding what to do, don’t worry. You can do a little bit of everything! If you can’t fit it all into the weekend then you will just have to plan another visit to Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country, you will have a great time!

 

Until next time, I’ll be lovin’ summer in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country,

 

cartoon cowgirl with pigtailsCorrie N. Cody

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