Field Notes

Things to Do in Cody, WY

by Monica RobinsonJan 19, 2024
A Herd Of Wild Horses Kicks Up Dust As They Cross The High Desert Of The McCullough Peaks Wildlife Management Area

Located at the foot of the Absaroka Mountains, Cody, Wyoming, is a blend of Western charm, outdoor adventure, and rich cultural heritage. As a gateway to Yellowstone National Park, Cody invites you to embark on a journey of a lifetime where the spirit of the Old West comes to life. Picture yourself exploring the rugged landscapes that Buffalo Bill Cody once roamed, where every turn reveals a new vista of towering peaks and pristine wilderness. From the iconic Buffalo Bill Center of the West to the exhilarating Cody Nite Rodeo, this town is a treasure trove of excitement, guaranteeing an unforgettable adventure!

Clouds Float Over The Peaks In The Beartooth Mountain Range That Can Be Seen From The Iconic Beartooth Pass

Where to Stay

Cody, Wyoming, offers diverse lodging options for every taste and budget. From historic Western-themed hotels to modern accommodations, visitors can choose cozy bed and breakfasts, rustic cabins, or well-appointed hotels. Some establishments provide a nostalgic Old West experience, while others feature modern amenities like indoor pools and fitness centers. Whether you prefer the historic charm of the Irma Hotel or the convenience of a contemporary chain, Cody’s lodging ensures a comfortable stay for those exploring the town’s heritage and surrounding natural wonders.

The Irma Hotel is an historic hotel founded by Buffalo Bill Cody himself, located in the heart of downtown Cody. It offers a unique Western ambiance and modern amenities. The bar in the dining area is particularly impressive; a gift to Colonel Cody from Queen Victoria herself in 1900 and sent all the way from France. Just one of the examples of the rich history of Cody!

The Cody Hotel is a comfortable, contemporary hotel with stylish rooms. Plenty of amenities are available like an indoor pool, hot tub, and fitness center. It is located near popular attractions, including walking distance to the Cody Nite Rodeo.

The Comfort Inn at Buffalo Bill Village Resort is a budget-friendly option with comfortable rooms. It features amenities like an indoor pool and hot tub and is conveniently located for exploring Cody’s attractions.

If you’re leaning more towards a bed and breakfast experience, A Western Rose is a B&B with a classic Western charm. Offering personalized service, it delivers a homely atmosphere. Situated within walking distance of downtown Cody, it is a great place to set up base for your western experience.

These are just a few suggestions of popular places to stay- there are many more wonderful establishments full of history and charming character to choose from!

A Dirt Road Leads Into The McCullough Peaks Horse Management Area Where Wild Mustangs Can Be Seen

Where to Eat

Cody, Wyoming, holds a diverse culinary scene that caters to various tastes and preferences. The town’s eateries reflect its rich Western heritage, offering rustic-themed places like Cody Cattle Company, where hearty steaks and Old West ambiance create an immersive experience. Family-friendly establishments such as Granny’s Family Dining serve homestyle comfort food, with a particular emphasis on nourishing breakfasts.

For those seeking an upscale dining experience, The Cody Chop House is a fine dining steakhouse known for its sophisticated atmosphere and top-quality steaks, complemented by an extensive wine selection. Cody’s brewery scene, exemplified by Pat O’Hara Brewing Company, not only provides a variety of craft beers but also a menu of pub-style dishes, creating a vibrant and casual setting.

Juniper Bar and Market Bistro represent Cody’s contemporary side, offering eclectic menus with a focus on seasonal and locally inspired dishes in a stylish ambiance. Brewgards BBQ caters to barbecue enthusiasts, offering flavorful smoked meats in a laid-back setting. Cassie’s Supper Club captures the charm of a classic Wyoming supper club, serving delectable steaks and seafood in a cozy atmosphere, often accompanied by live music.

Gestalt Lounge adds a trendy twist to Cody’s dining scene, providing a modern take on American classics with craft cocktails and a stylish ambiance. From cowboy steakhouses to modern bistros, Cody’s restaurants offer a diverse array of culinary delights, ensuring a palate-pleasing experience in this vibrant Wyoming town.

Bison Cows And Their Lighter Colored Babies Graze In A Field In The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

Cody Nite Rodeo

Whether you’ve never experienced the excitement of a rodeo before or you’re a regular attendee, the legendary Cody Nite Rodeo is an event you won’t want to miss! This iconic tradition has been captivating audiences since 1938 making it one of the longest-running nightly spectacles in the world. Held during the vibrant summer months from June to August, the Cody Nite Rodeo is a must-see attraction, drawing rodeo enthusiasts from far and wide.

Each night, witness the electrifying performances that showcase the daring skills of rodeo performers. Feel the adrenaline as bull riders, bronc riders, barrel racers, and ropers compete in thrilling events that embody the true spirit of the American West. The Cody Nite Rodeo goes beyond mere observation – you can even let the kids join in the excitement with the lively calf scramble!

Located at the historic Cody Stampede Rodeo Grounds, this event provides more than just a show; it’s a journey into the heart of cowboy culture against the breathtaking backdrop of Wyoming’s scenic landscapes. As the sun sets over Cody, the rodeo grounds come alive with Western entertainment, live music, parades, and an atmosphere that transports you back to the frontier days.

A Wild Mustang Is Seen Standing Alone In The Vast Landscape Of The McCullough Peaks Wild Horse Management Area

Old Trail Town

Ever wished you lived back in the Old West days? Visit the Old Trail Town in Cody and walk into the past to get a taste of what life truly was like back then. Over 25 historic buildings, including cabins, a saloon, a general store, and a schoolhouse, have been meticulously relocated to the site from Wyoming and Montana.

Wander through the town and explore the structures once visited by infamous figures like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Visit the oldest saloon in northwest Wyoming and original hunting cabins. The town is not just a collection of buildings; it’s a curated outdoor museum housing a treasure trove of Old West artifacts, from tools and weapons to beds, clothes, and everyday household items.

As you meander through this captivating town, discover the gravesites of historic figures like Jeremiah “Liver-Eating” Johnson, adding another layer to the rich tapestry of Western lore. Old Trail Town beckons history enthusiasts, families, and adventure seekers alike to delve into the authentic spirit of the Old West, offering guided tours for a skilled interpretation of everything you see, making every visit a journey through time and a celebration of the resilient pioneers who shaped the region.

The Arid Badlands Of The McCullough Peaks Wildlife Management Area Is Home To 70-140 Wild Horses
A Pronghorn Stands In Sagebrush And Eyes The Photographer

Wildlife Tours from Cody

One of the best things about staying in Cody, Wyoming, is its proximity to Yellowstone! Cody is a gateway to the national park via the east entrance, just 50 miles from the park boundary- and we’ve got you covered! Our Yellowstone tours pick you up from your place of lodging and head straight for the east entrance, a route that leads us through the Shoshone River Canyon which will have you awe-struck at every turn. From the east entrance to the Grand Loop, we will travel over Sylvan Pass, offering stunning views of the Absaroka Range with potential bighorn sheep, mountain goat, deer, eagles, pika, and bear sightings!

Our Yellowstone Wildlife Safari Tour takes you on a breathtaking excursion through Hayden Valley and Dunraven Pass into Yellowstone’s northern range in search of our most sought after wildlife. You will explore Lamar Valley in search of wolves, bears, bison, elk, moose, pronghorn and so much more. Take in Yellowstone’s stunning beauty with an expert guide to hone in on the amazing animals that inhabit the park and give you a close-up view with our high-quality optics, sharing fascinating knowledge about the species you see along the way.

Visit all the highlights of Yellowstone in one day on our Best of Yellowstone tour! Consider this a tour of the park’s “greatest hits”- you’ll witness the grandeur of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and the waterfalls that burst through it, the wonder of geothermal features like hot springs and mud pots, search for wildlife through the rolling hills of Hayden Valley, and of course visit the famous Old Faithful Geyser, situated right next to the historic Old Faithful Inn. You’ll return to Cody with a sense of awe for the special and unique natural wonder that is Yellowstone.

Our walking safari is ideal for guests looking to get out of the vehicle and into the wilds! Only a fraction of visitors leave the roadside and venture off on the vast network of trails available. Choose from several small hikes or one long hike to discover mountain peaks, rushing waterfalls, and secret thermal areas that most visitors never see. Breathe in the fresh air and feel the earth beneath your feet as your extremely well-trained guide safely leads you through one of the most beloved natural landscapes of North America.

If grandeur is what you’re searching for, our Yellowstone and Beartooth Pass Tour delivers both wildlife encounters and scenic, mountain views of epic proportions. Travel through the American Serengeti- an affectionate nickname for Lamar Valley- for a plethora of wildlife opportunities and a journey through the famous Beartooth Pass, arguably one of the most beautiful scenic drives in North America. This grand adventure will captivate you from beginning to end before you return to your cozy lodging in Cody.

Looking for a shorter excursion, and interested in finding wild horses? Our half day safari from Cody takes you into the McCullough Peaks Wild Mustang Management Area to find and observe the fascinating family units of Wyoming’s wild mustangs. This four hour tour takes you into the breathtaking Wyoming badlands where herds of wild horses have roamed for 500 years.

Two Wild Mustangs Spar In The McCullough Peaks Herd Management Area Outside Of Cody Wyoming
Beartooth Pass Is A 68 Mile Scenic Byway In Yellowstone National Park That Shows Off Stunning Mountain Vistas And Wild Open Spaces

Getting to Cody

There are several ways to get to Cody depending on your travel plans. Whether you’re traveling straight from home, or Cody is a stop along the way on your grand adventure, you’ll have options that make your journey simple and fun.

If you’re flying to the area, Yellowstone Regional Airport (COD) is the closest airport to Cody, Wyoming, located mere minutes from town. Only flights from Salt Lake City and Denver travel to this airport, so you may need a connection. An easy alternative is the Billings Logan International Airport (BIL) in Billings, Montana which is a less than two hour drive to Cody. Slightly farther away is the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) which is roughly three hours away.

If you are driving, you have a very fun and scenic trip ahead of you! If you’re coming from Jackson or West Yellowstone, you can travel through Yellowstone National Park between the months of May and November when the entrances are open. You will travel the Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway that connects Cody to Yellowstone. During the winter months when the entrances are closed, you will have to bypass the park and take a longer way around- keep an eye on the weather and road conditions! You can easily access Cody from the East and Southeast via Interstates 25 and 90. There is also a shuttle service between Cody and Billings for your convenience.

Cody is more than just a place to stay while you visit Yellowstone, it is an experience in itself that will make you feel at home in the Old West, welcoming you to experience every facet that this unique region has to offer. We look forward to seeing you there!