As the days get longer and warmer, my anticipation for a summer vacation heats up! I am ready for a change of scenery and new adventures! I like to figure out “the best” way to reach my vacation destination so I look for the most creative way to get there. If you are going to Yellowstone on vacation this summer, you really have to plan on starting in Cody, “the wildest way into Yellowstone”. You might not realize how much there is to do and see in Cody and on the road from Cody to Yellowstone. Be sure to plan at least two nights in Cody!
Cody is home to Yellowstone Regional Airport (YRA) which is serviced by Delta Airlines through Salt Lake City and United Airlines through Denver. The airport offers competitive fares and is very convenient. I love that it is a small airport but modern. Not to worry about long lines for check in, security or getting your luggage. Renting a car is also very convenient at YRA. There are 5 major rental car agencies at YRA. There is also a great little restaurant, The Landing, in the airport, a local favorite! Since the airport offers free parking, you will always find a variety of folks eating at the airport!
Cody is the “Rodeo Capital of the World” with a rodeo every night from June 1st to August 31st. It is said that every major rodeo champion has spent time at the Cody Nite Rodeo honing their skills. You never know who will be competing at the rodeo! The rodeo is also proud to have one of the best bull fighters in the country, Dusty Tuckness. If you have never experienced a rodeo, you have to go to the Cody Nite Rodeo. If you have experienced a hundred rodeos, you still should experience the Cody Nite Rodeo! It will be a wild, western night you won’t forget!
There are several “wild” outdoor activities to do while in Cody. River trips and kayaking are popular on the Shoshone River that runs right through Cody. The rafting is just “wild” enough for everyone in the family! You can also get on the water and learn to fly fish. The local fishing outfitters offer guided fishing excursions on the river or area lakes. No need to worry about packing gear. Your fishing guide will have everything you need to hook a nice fish! Cody is horse country and what better way to immerse yourself in the culture than to take a horseback ride in the mountains. There are several guest ranches (just east of town) that offer riding.
Did you know that there is a wild Mustang herd just outside of Cody? You can drive out to the McCullough Peaks Wild Horse Management area to view the horses on your own or take a guided van tour from Red Canyon Wild Mustang Trips. This colorful herd of horses is fascinating to observe. Your guide will even let you do a little hiking to get closer to the herd to observe and take photos. You may also see antelope, coyotes or a golden eagle on your tour.
The drive from Cody to the East gate of Yellowstone is 52 incredibly scenic miles full of wildlife. The road takes you past the Buffalo Bill Dam Visitor’s Center and reservoir. The tour at the Dam Visitor Center is free and worth the stop. There are also several great picnic spots along the reservoir. In early summer, you might even see a pelican or two on the reservoir. The wildlife viewing is great on this route. Be sure to watch for deer and elk in the valley. Big horn sheep, bison and moose are often seen as the road follows the river. I have even seen river otters.
These are just a few of the “wild” activities you can do on your way to Yellowstone. Cody/Yellowstone country has much more to offer.