14 Things to Do In and Around Cody, Wyoming

Old Trail Town, Cody, Wyoming
Old Trail Town, Cody, Wyoming | Photo Credit: Shutterstock - Mr. Stock
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Located only 52 miles from the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park, Cody, Wyoming is a popular western tourist destination. The city of just over 10,000 residents boasts a wild west culture that runs deep to its founder Buffalo Bill. Visitors to Cody can enjoy a variety of attractions ranging from interesting museums to nightly rodeos and even fly fishing on the Shoshone River. This Wyoming city is an iconic symbol to western American culture and the landscape it resides.

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About

Famed American solider and showman, William F. Cody, commonly referred to as “Buffalo Bill” traveled much of the American west which inspired his international traveling show. In the 1870s, Buffalo Bill had made his journey through the region that would later become Cody. It was within this valley that he explored and hunted.

William F. Cody aka "Buffalo Bill" c. 1911 | Photo Credit: Public Domain
William F. Cody aka “Buffalo Bill” c. 1911 | Photo Credit: Public Domain

In 1896, Buffalo Bill returned back to this land and decided to plat a city. He determined that this landscape was not only beautiful, but also offered bountiful wildlife and was in close proximity to the already established Yellowstone National Park. Named Cody in Buffalo Bill’s honor, the city grew to house a mixture of full-time residents and travelers. Over the years, Buffalo Bill’s legacy has been scattered throughout the region through location names and plaques.

Today, the 10 square mile city of Cody is a popular tourist destination for those interested in living like a cowboy or cowgirl or looking to visit America’s oldest National Park. Glimpses of Cody’s past can be seen in its historic buildings and the street names that represent the men who helped Buffalo Bill found the city including Salsbury, Bleistein, Alger, Beck and Rumsey. 

Things to Do

1. Uncover History at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, Wyoming
Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, Wyoming | Photo Credit: Wikimedia – Paul Hermans

Address: 720 Sheridan Ave, Cody, WY 82414

This multi-themed attraction contains five different museums all within one complex. From Native American culture to wild west artifacts, visitors can uncover the early days of Wyoming and Cody along with its transformation into the present-day tourism hotspot. The museums onsite include the Buffalo Bill Museum, Plains Indian Museum, Cody Firearms Museum, Draper Natural History Museum and the Whitney Western Art Museum. Amongst the seven acre building, visitors will explore over 50,000 artifacts ranging from early Native American history through present day.

2. Step Back in Time at Old Trail Town

Old Trail Town, Cody, Wyoming
Old Trail Town, Cody, Wyoming | Photo Credit: Adobe Stock – jovannig

Address: 1831 Demaris Dr, Cody, WY 82414

On this very site, William F. Cody aka “Buffalo Bill” platted what would eventually become the bustling western city of Cody, Wyoming. Buildings within Old Trail Town have been gathered from not only the Cody area but also other parts of Wyoming and even into Montana. Some of the buildings are historically significant including the original log cabin where Curley lived, a Native American scout who led Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer to the site that would commence the Battle of Little Bighorn. Two other buildings are related to the notorious outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid including a cabin they hid out in and a saloon that was often frequented by them. In addition to these buildings, other period structures such as a post office, general store and granary are onsite.

3. Witness a Live Rodeo at Cody Stampede Rodeo

Roping at the Cody Stampede Rodeo, Cody, Wyoming
Roping at the Cody Stampede Rodeo, Cody, Wyoming | Photo Credit: Adobe Stock – jgorzynik

Address: 519 W Yellowstone Ave, Cody, WY 82414

Beginning in 1919, the Cody Stampede Rodeo has been one of the longest running rodeo shows in America. The popularity of rodeos in Cody has led the city to being nicknamed “The Rodeo Capital of the World”. While the location hosts several major events throughout the year, it is known for the nightly rodeos that held every evening from June-August. The competitions range from bucking broncos, bull riding, barrel racing, roping and more!

4. Tour the Cody Dug Up Gun Museum

Address: 1020 12th St, Cody, WY 82414

Those who have an interest in firearms will enjoy this unique museum. Unlike many other museums dedicated to guns, the Cody Dug Up Gun Museum features those that are exactly that, “dug up”. Most of the guns on display have been recovered or salvaged from the bottoms of rivers, dug up on battlefields or historic sites or found in the most random of places. With over 1,000 relic guns on display, this museum showcases centuries of firearm history. See artifacts from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, Gold Rush and even World War I and World War II.

5. Watch a Production at the Cody Theatre

Cody Theatre, Cody, Wyoming
Cody Theatre, Cody, Wyoming | Photo Credit: Flickr – Larry Myhre

Address: 1171 Sheridan Ave, Cody, WY 82414

This theatre offers seasonal productions of various live plays that often attract both visitors and locals. Most notably, every summer the Cody Theatre offers a 7-week running show production of the play, “Wild West Spectacular Live Musical”. Enjoy the historic ambience of the old theatre and watch history come to life on the stage before your eyes.

6. Spend the Night at the Irma Hotel

Irma Hotel, Cody, Wyoming
Irma Hotel, Cody, Wyoming | Photo Credit: Wikimedia – Robert Alescio

Address: 1192 Sheridan Ave, Cody, WY 82414

Built in 1902 by Buffalo Bill, the Irma Hotel was his “Original Hotel in the Rockies”. The hotel was named after his youngest daughter, Irma. During his stays at the Irma Hotel, Buffalo Bill had two suites to himself and an office area where he could do work. Visitors today can still see the historic cherrywood bar that was a gift granted to Buffalo Bill by Queen Victoria herself. Also at the Silver Saddle Lounge, visitors can view one of his show saddles. Guests are still welcome to stay at the hotel and enjoy its historic ambiance. One popular summer activity is the nearly nightly “Cody Gunfighter’s Show” that can be watched from the front porch of the hotel.

7. Walk Across Buffalo Bill Dam

Buffalo Bill Dam, Wyoming
Buffalo Bill Dam, Wyoming | Photo Credit: Shutterstock – rozdemir

Address: 4808 N Fork Hwy, Cody, WY 82414

Located just 6 miles west of Cody, this free attraction allows visitors to see the Buffalo Bill Dam. Opening in 1914, this dam was once the tallest in the world with a height of 350 feet. Visitors can safely walk across the dam in a designated area and view stunning sights of the Buffalo Bill Reservoir to the west and the Shoshone River to the east. Those interested in learning more about the dam can stop by the visitors center to view a short film on the history and creation of the structure.

8. Take Drive along Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway

Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway, Wyoming
Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway, Wyoming | Photo Credit: Flickr – Liz Lawley

Location: N Fork Hwy, Cody, WY 82414

Just a few miles west of Cody marks the start of the Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway. This stunning drive allows travelers to meander along 27 miles of paved road through winding landscapes. The byway is significant as it follows not only the banks of the Shoshone River, but also passes through Wapiti Valley to the eastern entrance of Yellowstone National Park.

9. Stop by Pahaska Tepee Resort

Pahaska Tepee, Cody, Wyoming
Pahaska Tepee, Cody, Wyoming | Photo Credit: Wikimedia – Acroterion

Address: 183 N Fork Hwy, Cody, WY 82414

This resort was once Buffalo Bill’s lodge that dates back to 1904. While several notable guests have stayed at the resort, visitors today can not only stay at the resort but also enjoy many amenities. Activities at Pahaska Tepee Resort include horseback rides, a restaurant, and even guided tours of the facility. The resort is located right near the eastern entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

10. Take a Photo from Dead Indian Summit Overlook

Dead Indian Summit Overlook, Cody, Wyoming
Dead Indian Summit Overlook, Cody, Wyoming | Photo Credit: Wikimedia – Smallchief

Location: Chief Joseph Hwy, Cody, WY 82414 (About 13 miles west of Belfry Hwy)

This amazing overlook offers views from the top of Dead Indian Summit Overlook’s 8,000 foot elevation. This land was once the site of Native American hunting grounds as the wildlife tends to migrate through this area to traverse between the plains and mountains each season. The origin of the name of the summit varies depending on different stories told by Native American tribes and settlers.

11. Spend an Afternoon (Or Night!) at Buffalo Bill State Park

Buffalo Bill State Park, Wyoming
Buffalo Bill State Park, Wyoming | Photo Credit: Flickr – lamblukas

Address: 4192 N Fork Hwy, Cody, WY 82414

This Wyoming state park surrounds the large Buffalo Bill Reservoir that is created by the Buffalo Bill Dam. Buffalo Bill State Park is over 10,000 acres and boasts various activities ranging from fishing, boating, hunting and more. For those visiting the area and hoping to camp, there are campsites available within the park that can be reserved.

12. Explore Yellowstone National Park

Grand Prismatic, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming (Photo Credit: Pixabay - Derwiki)
Grand Prismatic, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming | Photo Credit: Pixabay – Derwiki

Address: 15 N Fork Hwy, Cody, WY 82414 (East Entrance)

Just a short and scenic drive from Cody lies the eastern entrance to America’s oldest national park. Yellowstone National Park was opened in 1872 to preserve the beautiful landscape and wildlife that reflect the region. The park is over 2.2 million acres which is larger than the state of Delaware and Rhode Island combined! Visitors to the park can see iconic attractions such as Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone Lake, Mammoth Hot Springs, Fort Yellowstone, Yellowstone Falls and the historic lodge. Also within the park is abundant wildlife such as bison, wolves, bear and more!

13. Go Fly Fishing

Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout being released Fly Fishing
Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout being released while Fly Fishing | Photo Credit: Shutterstock – Jennifer de Graaf

For those who love fishing, the Shoshone River is known for its abundant opportunities for landing some nice catches. Whether you take off on your own river adventure or seek out a guided experience, flying fishing can be a relaxing and rewarding thing to do. While the best catches are reportedly made in the summer months, there are several species of fish including mountain whitefish and various breeds of trout such as Yellowstone Cutthroat, Brook, Brown and Rainbow.

14. Visit a Ranch

Cattle Drive on a Ranch
Cattle Drive on a Ranch | Photo Credit: Shutterstock – Baileyal3xander

There are multiple ranches in the Cody area that welcome visitors to explore what it is like to live or work on a ranch. Whether you want to spend just a day or an entire week, these ranches show you firsthand how stuff gets done in the west. Learn to rope cattle, ride a horse, or simply take in the sights and sounds of life on a farm. This hands-on activity will make you feel as though you are stepping right into the heart of Wyoming’s rugged culture.

Plan Your Visit

Cody is located in northwestern Wyoming near the eastern entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Some close cities are Sheridan, Wyoming (148 miles) and Billings, Montana (107 miles).

The Yellowstone Regional Airport is located in Cody and operates year-round flights from Denver, Colorado.

If you enjoyed reading this post or have visited Cody before, leave a comment below or share this post on your favorite social media!

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