When we were there: September 6 – 20, 2016
Where we stayed: Cody Cowboy Village
What we ate: Elk Medallions at Cassie’s Supper Club; Cody Crunch from Cowtown Candy
What we drank: local beer
What we did: Spent the day at Yellowstone; rode horses in the Shoshone National Forest; saw a rodeo; attended a town festival in Powell; drove Beartooth Highway; toured the Buffalo Bill Center of the West; enjoyed a day at Buffalo Bill Dam; chuckwagon dinner and show at Cody Cattle Company; toured Heart Mountain Japanese internment camp
Tourism Website: https://www.codyyellowstone.org/
Worth the Trip? Absolutely
Our Trip Advisor Reviews:
Our Place Diner
The Cody Cattle Company
Adriano’s Italian Restaurant
The Irma Restaurant
Proud Cut Saloon
Sunset House Restaurant
Cassie’s Supper Club
Cody Cowboy Village
The scenery will take your breath away
It gets chilly at the top of the mountains even in summer so take a jacket
There are a number of outfitter stores in case you don’t pack warm enough (and you won’t)
The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is a MUST see, and it will take you all day to get through it
Cassie’s Supper Club is very popular, so make a reservation
Have a drink at the Irma and skip the food
Fun Fact: The population of the state of Wyoming is 584,000+-. It is dead last in terms of US state population, yet the 10th largest state by land area.
Yes, I know, you’re going because of Yellowstone. But Cody is a destination in its own right. Wild West history galore and scenic views to die for! Buffalo Bill is way more interesting than you thought and you will spend hours going through his museum. There is a proper town with shops/restaurants/bars surrounded with beautiful western vistas. So get you a hat and some boots, and cowgirl up for adventure!
We stayed at the charming Cody Cowboy Village, about an hour drive to Yellowstone and maybe a mile or so from downtown. The rooms were log cabin cozy, with tasteful western décor and a super comfy bed. We didn’t get a suite, just a room (which is why I have all those restaurant reviews), and I highly recommend you upgrade to get the bigger space and kitchenette. The rooms were downright luxurious and the price was surprisingly affordable even in season.
I’m not even sure where to start describing how much we enjoyed Cody and the surrounding area. There is so much to see and do. The Buffalo Bill Center is a must and probably the best museum I’ve ever been through (except maybe the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville). It tells the story of not only Buffalo Bill, but 1800s life in the West and Native American culture as well. It was $20 or so to get in and an incredible entertainment value. You will spend all day there, so don’t plan other activities that day.
You’re almost certainly considering Cody because of Yellowstone. Neal loves (loves!) Yellowstone and worked there for a summer a few years back. I was somewhat underwhelmed. Driving around looking at trees is not my idea of fun, but once we got to the geothermal features and I could get out to explore the visit got much better. Prehistoric earth stuff is amazing and makes you feel incredibly insignificant in the grand scheme of the world.
Yellowstone is HUGE!! HYOOOOOOGE! So do your homework, decide what you want to see, and put a plan together. We did wait around to see Old Faithful blow, but that was upstaged by a bison wandering into the area, getting upset at all the people, and bashing his horns against a tree until park people came and got him.
The highlight of our trip was NOT Yellowstone; it was horseback riding in the Shoshone. That’s what we still talk about years later. We chose Bill Cody Ranch for our ride, and our guide was terrific. There were newbies in our group and the guide was wonderful with them, even when we nervously rode along a cliff. There are several dude ranches in the area and most of them offer rides for non-guests.
Of course you will see a rodeo when in Cody – it’s the Rodeo Capital of the World. We went to the Junior Championships and the hilarious announcer made the whole thing that much more entertaining. He mocked those who fell off their horse with appropriate music clips (“Another One Bites the Dust”) and told fun stories about the riders. There are no sissies in Cody rodeos and it was all in good fun.
Heart Mountain was touching and inspiring. The camp held almost 14,000 Japanese Americans over three years during WWII, with a peak of 11,000 simultaneously confined, which made the internment camp the third largest city in Wyoming. People were given mere days to close up their homes and businesses before being relocated. Despite that, the inmates weren’t as bitter as you’d think. They fixed up their rooms, socialized, the children went to school, they had gardens and held dances, they were employed, and even had Scout troops. Life went on normally for them…except for the part where they were incarcerated and forced to live in barracks by their own government. I expected to leave infuriated, but the spirit of the Japanese Americans and their ability to overcome hardship was inspirational.
Aside from what we did, there are about 8 million more fun activities and historical interests. You could stay a month and not run out of things to do, so don’t think a day or two will cut it. We stayed two weeks and didn’t even make a dent.
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