A Wild West Adventure: 10 Things To Do In Cody, Wyoming

A Wild West Adventure: 10 Things To Do In Cody, Wyoming
Eunice
Eunice
Updated

Located in the USA’s states of Wyoming, here are some of the top things to do in Cody, WY.

Situated to the east of the spectacular Yellowstone National Park, Cody is known as the gateway to Yellowstone and also as the “Rodeo Capital of the World”. Experience the unbridled spirit of the West that Cody embodies, and spend your days channeling your inner cowboy or cowgirl. When you’re ready to step out from the old West, dive into the beautiful nature that surrounds Cody.

Every day is a venture into a world of excitement, a step into the colorful past, an intake of breath at the extraordinary outdoors.

1. Explore the museums at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Cody-Buffalo Bill Center of the West 11-09-2014 17-51-32
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Paul Hermans used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Inseparable from the history of the city is William Frederick Cody, better known as Buffalo Bill, who helped to found the town of Cody WY. The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is a complex of 5 museums and a research library, namely the Buffalo Bill Museum, Plains Indian Museum, Whitney Western Art Museum, Draper Natural History Museum, Cody Firearms Museum, and the Harold McCracken Research Library. The authentic spirit of the American West is proudly showcased in these world-class museums through the exploration of the life of the iconic Buffalo Bill, western art, native cultures, firearms, and natural history.

With his trademark mustache and goatee, flowing mane of white hair, Stetson hat, buckskin jacket, and well-worn leather boots, Buffalo Bill holds a special place in the hearts of the people who know and love the American West. Back then, he was an international superstar and a beloved figure on stage. The roaring success of his Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, which toured Europe 8 times, was a crucial element in the spread of the “Spirit of the American West” to the world. Reinvented in 2012 with state-of-the-art exhibits and authentic artefacts, the Buffalo Bill Museum is an interactive narrative of Buffalo Bill’s life and legacy, inviting visitors to understand his role on the historical development of the American West. Visitors also get to go a step deeper and delve into the man behind his celebrity persona. With 200 original posters, ranging from single-sheet to billboard-sized, original props, and clothes and souvenirs related to the show, if you only have time for 1 museum within the complex, the Buffalo Bill Museum is not to be missed.

The other museums are equally intriguing and you can find something for everyone, young and old. Art lovers will find themselves fascinated by paintings and sculptures of the American West at the Whitney Western Art Museum, and kids will be thoroughly engaged as they walk through the Alpine, Mountain Forest, Mountain Meadow, and Plains / Basin environment exhibits and get up-close to live birds of prey during the Raptor Experience. Gun enthusiasts will be thrilled at the comprehensive collection of American firearms at the Cody Firearms Museum. It is no wonder that the New York Times described the Buffalo Bill Center of the West as “among the nation’s most remarkable museums”.

Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Address: Buffalo Bill Center of the West, 720 Sheridan Avenue Cody, Wyoming 82414

Price: Adults 19 USD, Youth 12 USD (Admission includes entry for 2 days)

Opening Hours: May 1 to Sep 15 - 8 am to 6 pm daily. (Open all year round but hours vary by month)

Contact: +1 307-587-4771

Website: Buffalo Bill Center of the West

2. Step back into the Old West at Old Trail Town

Old Trail Town in Cody
Source: Photo by Flickr user faungg's photos used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Old Trail Town is a living museum with 26 historic frontier buildings from the late 19th century that house Native American artefacts. The authentic structures were disassembled from their remote locations in Wyoming and Montana, and relocated at this site. As you stroll down the boardwalks with the mountains framing the site, you get an insight into what a Western town looked like. With just a little imagination, you can conjure up a bygone era with cowboys and cowgirls making their way around town on their steeds. Additionally, look out for the original log cabins that were used in the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Old Trail Town

Address: 1831 Demaris Dr., Cody, Wyoming, 82414, United States

Price: 9 USD

Opening Hours: Open May 15 - Sep 30, 8 am - 7 pm

Contact: +1 307-587-5302

Website: Old Trail Town

3. Cody Night Rodeo

USMC-110706-M-SZ222-002
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Cpl. Sean Palmer used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Cody is home to the longest running and only night rodeo in the world, thereby earning its nickname of the “Rodeo Capital of the World”. The annual tradition started in 1938, and is held daily every summer’s night from June to August. A rodeo is a competitive sporting event where cowboys and cowgirls are tested on their skills and speed in different categories. The Cody Night Rodeo features events like bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing, and steer wrestling. The action is non-stop and fast paced, and will keep you gripping the edge of your seat in excitement from start to end. Come prepared to be thrilled and entertained.

Cody Night Rodeo

Address: 421 W Yellowstone Ave, Cody, WY 82414, United States

Price: Adults 20 USD, Children 10 USD, Free for children 6 & under

Opening Hours: 8 pm - 11 pm (Gates open at 7 pm, rodeo starts at 8 pm)

Contact: +1 307-527-9453

Website: Cody Night Rodeo

4. Watch a gunfight show at Irma Hotel And Restaurant

Irma Hotel, Cody WY
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Acroterion used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Built by Buffalo Bill, and named after one of his daughters, the Irma Hotel and Restaurant is a historical landmark in Cody that has withstood the test of time. Enjoy the thrilling gunfight re-enactment during the summer right outside the hotel before going inside for a lip-smacking dinner. The interior is reminiscent of the saloons of the old American West, like a scene straight from an old Western movie with its antique gold cash register, antler chandeliers, red-leather bar chairs, and tin ceiling. Get your protein fix at the restaurant, which is famous for its prime rib steak, at the prime rib buffet offered every night. Also, spot the cherry wood bar counter at the back, which was a gift from Queen Victoria to Buffalo Bill.

Irma Hotel and Restaurant

Address: 1192 Sheridan Ave, Cody, WY 82414, United States

Contact: +1 307-587-4221

Website: Irma Hotel and Restaurant

Gunfight Show

Address: Outside Irma Hotel

Time: Monday to Saturday at 6 pm (Jun to Sep)

Website: Cody’s Gunfighters

5. Get wet and wild on a whitewater rafting adventure

Shoshone River from Buffalo Bill Dam
Source: Photo by Flickr user U.S. Department o... used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Go on an exhilarating whitewater rafting adventure with Wyoming River Trips, a company with exclusive access to certain sections of the Shoshone River, such as the Red Rock Canyon of the Shoshone River and the North Fork of the Shoshone through the Shoshone National Forest. You have the option of choosing between 4 types of trips (all accompanied by an experienced guide) that will take you through different areas of the river and vary in duration.

Follow in the footsteps of the early pioneers on the Red Rock Canyon trip as your raft takes you through the stunning Red Rock Canyon, flanked by impressive rock cliffs coloured a rusty red, dusted in places with carpets of lime-green moss. The Northfork Half-Day option is floated within the Shoshone National Forest and starts 5 miles (8 kilometres) from Yellowstone National Park. Each river bend reveals amazing treasures, including bighorn sheep trotting high atop the cliffs, a majestic eagle soaring against a brilliant canvas of blue sky, and a heart-stopping descent over churning whitewater.

Hesitate no longer and make your reservation now!

(Do note that age limits vary with different water levels.)

Wyoming River Trips

Address: 233 Yellowstone Ave, Cody, WY 82414, United States

Price: From 34 USD

Opening Hours: 2 departures daily at 9 am and 1 pm. (During high season later departures are available)

Contact: +1 307-587-6661

Website: Wyoming River Trips

6. Go the distance on horseback

Barouk hiking road beside the Cedar forest - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ghassan Mroue used under CC BY-SA 3.0

What’s a trip to the Wild West without galloping across mountain ranges on horseback? Cedar Mountain Trail Rides provides you with a thrilling horseback ride up the mountain. The incline is steep, and the road might get bumpy, but it is definitely worth it for the spectacular views and an experience you will never forget. With the guidance of experienced guides and well-trained horses, young children can participate in this activity as long as they’re not too afraid of heights. Visitors can choose to go on a one-hour trail ride for a short taste, or extend their experience up to an entire day on horseback.

Cedar Mountain Trail Rides

Address: 12 Spirit Mountain Rd, Cody, WY 82414, United States

Price: 35 USD per hour (cash only)

Opening Hours: May 15th - August 31st

Contact: +1 307-527-4966

Website: Cedar Mountain Trail Rides

7. Spot some wildlife at Shoshone National Forest

Shoshone National Forest
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Viplav Valluri used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Many people stumble upon the Shoshone National Forest on the way from Cody to Yellowstone National Park and fall in love with this relatively underrated area. This is no place to rush by; take a slow scenic drive along the river valley and you’ll discover a lush oasis for wildlife and superb scenery that stretches endlessly on all sides. There are plenty of places you can stop for a moment to take photos and try to spot some of the plentiful wildlife that calls the forest home. Wildlife in the area includes elks, whitetail deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, antelopes, black bears, and grizzly bears. You can also set up camp in one of the 32 campgrounds in the forest and discover shimmering alpine lakes, rugged mountain peaks, and vast plateaus dotted with wildflowers.

Shoshone National Forest

Address: Wyoming, United States

Contact: +1 307-527-6241

Website: Shoshone National Forest

8. Learn about the Buffalo Bill Dam

Buffalo Bill Dam - Cody, Wyoming
Source: Photo by Flickr user Chuck Grimmett used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Marvel at the sheer scale and height of the Buffalo Bill Dam, which was built without modern technology in the 1900s. When it was completed in 1910, it was the tallest dam in the world. The visitor’s centre is free to enter and makes for an interesting stopover to learn about this feat of engineering and admire the stunning view from the dam with its turquoise waters glittering below. Catch the short film at the visitor’s centre about the painstaking construction of the dam, built with sweat, hard labour, and sheer determination.

From the parking lot, visitors can hop on to the free golf cart shuttle to the visitors centre and dam.

Buffalo Bill Dam

Address: 4808 N Fork Hwy, Cody, WY 82414

Price: Free entry

Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 8 am - 6 pm, Sat and Sun: 9 am - 5 pm (May to Sep)

Contact: +1 (307) 527-6076

Website: Buffalo Bill Dam

9. Have a whizzing good time at Sleeping Giant Zipline

Ziplining
Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

An hour’s drive from Cody will find you at the Sleeping Giant Zipline area, which is actually a ski resort in the winter, and only just recently opened its newly built zipline facilities in the summer of 2015. Whiz over the treetops of Shoshone National Forest at speeds that reach up to 45 mph (72 kmph) and revel in the feel of cool air rushing past you as you take in the astounding vistas before you. The Full Zipline Tour Adventure lets you take 5 zipline courses, each with dual ziplines so riders can race each other down the mountain side by side. At the end, dare-devil riders also have the option of free falling 35 feet (10.7 metres) down to the ground, instead of taking the stairs.

Sleeping Giant Zipline

Address: 348 North Fork Highway, Cody, Wyoming 82414

Price: 69 USD (Full Zipline Tour Adventure)

Opening Hours: June 15th to September 15th: 9 am - 6 pm

Duration: Around 1.5 - 2 hours

Contact: +1 (307) 587-3125

Website: Sleeping Giant Zipline

10. Experience the grandeur of Yellowstone National Park (From 56.95 USD)

Yellowstone National Park
Source: Pixabay

Yellowstone National Park was the first national park in the USA and it sits atop a volcanic hotspot. Geothermal features, like gushing geysers, are major attractions and draw crowds to witness their eruptions, while the untouched wilderness and pristine lakes tempt many hikers to its trails. There are also many hot springs within the park, however, most of them are not suitable for taking a dip due to the scalding temperatures. The park is abundant with natural wonders, one of which is the Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest hot spring in the US, whose mesmerising rainbow hues make it seem like a portal to a magical realm. Plentiful wildlife runs freely in this vast park and visitors are likely to see bears, wolves, otters, and many other animals roaming around.

Read more about Yellowstone National Park in our article, Yellowstone National Park: The Grand Daddy Of Them All.

Yellowstone National Park

Address: Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168

Entrance Fee: From 30 USD

Contact: +1 (307) 344-7381

Website: Yellowstone National Park

If you wish to make the most out of your trip, why not sign up for a self-guided tour. The self-guided experience leads you mile by mile to the exciting secrets of Yellowstone and lets you set your own pace!

Self-Guided Tour of Yellowstone Upper Loop from Cody

Price: From 56.95 USD

Excludes: Price does not include the Entrance Fee, per person fuel surcharge or parking fee.

Old Western charm and unrivalled scenery

There’s no better way to get a glimpse of the old American West than here in the charming town of Cody. For such a small town, you’ll be surprised to find that there is certainly no lack of activities. Step back into the past and be a cowboy or cowgirl for the day and then step out into the incredibly scenic surroundings of Cody to be blown away by the vistas. Start planning your amazing Western adventure now!

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A Wild West Adventure: 10 Things To Do In Cody, Wyoming
Source: Trip101

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Eunice became hooked on travelling 2 years ago when she embarked on a student exchange programme in Stuttgart, Germany. Among the many places she’s visited, Europe has captured (most of) her heart...Read more

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