Cowboy boots of all hues and sizes

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Yellowstone National Park and the east gateway to the park, Cody, Wyoming, offer captivating beauty and the spirit of the West.

Here are a few tidbits you might not know about our country’s first national park and the town Buffalo Bill Cody founded.

1. You’ll Find Cowboy Boots of Every Size, Hue, and Design

In the Buffalo Bill Wild West Emporium, next to the historic Irma Hotel in downtown Cody, you’ll find turquoise jewelry, fringed leather jackets, and shelves of one-of-a-kind cowboy boots.

If price is no object, you might opt for the boots priced at $28K.

People watch as Old Faithful spouts steam
Old Faithful spouts steam like clockwork. Photo by Sherry Spitsnaugle

2. Merrymakers Bundle up and Ring in New Year at Old Faithful

Temperatures may dip below zero, but the mood is warm and festive around Old Faithful, in Yellowstone National Park, on New Year’s Eve.

Old Faithful Snow Lodge guests and staff put on their party hats and gather around the country’s most famous geyser. They watch as Old Faithful shoots steam 180 feet high every 90 minutes like clockwork for the first eruption of the new year.

Travelers are discovering that frosty temperatures mean fewer visitors and dazzling winter scenery. Climb a frozen waterfall, cross-country ski through the forest, or ice skate outdoors.

After all that activity, cozy up with a hot toddy by the fireplace with hot cocoa or amaretto coffee back at the lodge.

Server at Hotel Irma Restaurant and Grill, in Cody, Wyoming
Irma Hotel Restaurant and Grill in the historic town of Cody. Photo by Sherry Spitsnaugle

3. Cody Yellowstone is a Region

The towns of Cody, Powell, Meeteetse, and the valley east of Yellowstone National Park make up Cody Yellowstone.

Just don’t confuse Cody with Jackson Hole. Each Wyoming town has its charm, but they are quite different.

Celebs flock to Jackson Hole, but Cody is more about cowboys and outdoor adventures.

Book your stay in the iconic Old Faithful Inn here

Photo of book titled, Death in Yellowstone
Death in Yellowstone” is the best-selling book in the park. Photo by Sherry Spitsnaugle

4. Best-selling Book in Yellowstone Park Describes Grueling Stories

On a recent visit to Cody Yellowstone, a Yellowstone National Park ranger told me the number-one selling book in the park is Death in Yellowstone, Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park.

The book recounts gruesome stories about tourists being mauled by bison or tripping and falling into a boiling hot spring. The latter usually involved alcohol.

While it’s horrific to read the gruesome details, the stories gave me an appreciation of the park’s beauty as well as its dangers.

At the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center, where I purchased my copy, I asked a staff member about the second-best-selling book.

Whose Poop is THAT?” is the number two book,” she answered, adding, “No pun intended.”

K3 Guest Ranch living area
K3 Guest Ranch, located just outside of Cody, is an excellent option to make your headquarters when visiting Cody Yellowstone. Photo by Sherry Spitsnaugle

5. From Cody, You Can Enjoy the Park During the Day and Be Back in Time for the Cody Nite Rodeo

Make Cody your base where lodging is more affordable than in the park. This plan is excellent during summer and late fall, but the park is accessible from Cody during winter only if you drive a tracked oversnow vehicle. (K3 Guest Ranch and Holiday Inn are good options for overnight stays in Cody.)

Download the informative and entertaining app TravelStoryGPS to listen to an audio tour as you drive from Cody to Yellowstone.

From Cody, it takes about an hour to reach the east entrance and another hour to reach the Grand Loop Road, where you’ll find Old Faithful and the Grand Prismatic Spring.

After a day in the park, you’ll be tuckered, but barrel racing and rodeo clowns await. To avoid traffic and parking, consider taking the bus to the rodeo.

The much-loved Cody Nite Rodeo happens every night from June through August. Have your photo taken as you sit on Mongo the bull.

If you prefer to relax with dinner, head to Trailhead Bar Grill Wood-Fired Pizza for a “Western spin on Northern Italian-inspired cuisine.” With a fun vibe and outstanding food, this restaurant also offers gluten-free and vegetarian options.

Rocky Mountain Oysters and beer at Hotel Irma Restaurant
Rocky Mountain Oysters and an IPA are favorites at Irma Hotel Restaurant and Grill. Photo by Sherry Spitsnaugle

6. Swig Some Suds and Win a Prize on the Sippin’ Trail

Experience Cody’s best breweries, restaurants, and a cigar lounge on the Sippin’ Trail. Download the free app, order a beer, and get ready to grin.

The historic Irma Hotel serves an excellent Snake River Pako’s IPA and rocky mountain oysters, described as Buffalo Bill’s “sack lunch served with cocktail sauce.”

Buffalo Bill Cody built the now-famous hotel in 1902 and named it after his daughter.

The Irma, as the hotel is affectionately known, is on the Sippin’ Trail.

Author standing next to side-by-side four-wheel vehicle at Kirwin Ghost Town.
Author Sherry Spitsnaugle poses next to the side-by-side four-wheel vehicle she and her travel companions drove in Shoshone National Forest to Kirwin ghost town and a former mining settlement. Photo by Ryan Hauck

7. Weather Permitting, You Can Explore a Ghost Town 

This off-road adventure is best to experience when trails are dry, mid to late summer.

You’ll start in Meeteetse, a town of 300-plus residents and a 30-minute drive from Cody, where you’ll pick up a side-by-side four-wheel vehicle at Kirwin Ghost Town Adventures.

After getting instructions on driving the vehicle, maps, rules of the road, and even a can of bear spray for your journey, you can take off down Main Street of Meeteetse. You’ll drive the back roads toward Shoshone National Forest, headed for Kirwin ghost town and a former mining settlement.

Pack a picnic lunch or pick one up at Sitti’s Table in Cody before driving to Meeteetse. (The Wagyu brisket sandwich is an excellent choice when you’re eating in the great outdoors.)

Re-creation of Frederic Remington's studio, at Buffalo Bill Center of the West
At the Whitney Western Art Museum, one of five museums at Buffalo Bill Center of the West, you can view Frederic Remington’s studio, which was re-created in detail. Photo by Sherry Spitsnaugle

8. Buffalo Bill Center of the West Named Trip Advisor Travelers Choice

In the heart of Cody, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West houses five extraordinary museums and was named a Trip Advisor’s Travelers Choice. It rivals the Smithsonian.

In the Buffalo Bill Museum (one of five museums), you’ll see the yellow Pony Express stagecoach Buffalo Bill Cody used in his Wild West Show.

In the Whitney Western Art Museum, you can view Frederic Remington’s studio, which was re-created in detail. One of the most famous artists of the American West, Remington sketched landscapes and people of the West.

With items for sale like a Remington replica, even the gift shop at Buffalo Bill Center of the West is well-appointed.

The Center is so expansive you will want to schedule two partial days to try to take it all in. Fortunately, the general admission ticket allows entry to all five museums and is suitable for two consecutive days.

Cody Trolley Tour with narrator
The Cody Trolley Tour is a fun way to learn the history of Cody, Wyoming. Photo by Sherry Spitsnaugle

9. You’ll Learn Juicy Tidbits on the Cody Trolley Tour

The day I joined the Cody Trolley Tour, narrator Wade French had the entire busload of folks laughing.

I wasn’t expecting to hear spicy stories on the Cody Trolley Tour, but to my delight, the hour-long sightseeing tour divulged good tales.

One such story involved the body of Buffalo Bill Cody, the town’s founder.

Even though Buffalo Bill wished to be buried in his beloved Cody, his estranged wife sold his body to the city of Denver, which wanted the right to bury the famous American soldier and showman.

The Buffalo Bill Grave and Museum in Golden, Colorado, claims that Cody’s body is buried there.

To this day, some people believe that a group conducted a complex plan to steal the body and that the remains are buried in or around Cody.

Read More: Exploring the Historic Oregon Trail and Its Legacy

Chamberlin Inn, boutique hotel in Cody, Wyoming
The Chamberlin Inn, Cody, Wyoming, is a small boutique hotel where Ernest Hemingway once stayed. Photo by Sherry Spitsnaugle

10. At Chamberlin Inn, You Can Sip a Cocktail Named for a Hemingway Novel 

This swanky boutique inn caught me by surprise. With chic design and fresh flowers, the comfortable hideaway felt more like a posh tavern in SoHo.

Ernest Hemingway spent time fishing in the Cody area in 1932, not long after he finished his manuscript for Death in the Afternoon.

The author stayed at the Chamberlin Inn; you can still see his signature on an old register. You can also stay overnight in the room where the famous author stayed.

Relax on a claret-toned sofa in the parlor or on the patio and sip a Death in the Afternoon. This beautifully crafted cocktail made with Hendrick’s gin, fresh lime, and aromatic bitters, is delicious. Another favorite drink is the Dewey’s Old Fashioned.

If You Go to Cody Yellowstone

When should you start planning your trip to Cody Yellowstone? Now.

Travelers are discovering this gem thanks to accolades.

USA Today named Cody as the Top Western Town in the U.S. It also named Cody one of the Best Historic Towns.  And if that’s not enough True West Magazine named Cody a top Western town.

Whether you visit Cody Yellowstone during the snowy winter months or summertime when the Cody Nite Rodeo is in full swing, the best source of information for tours, lodging, dining, and activities is codyyellowstone.org

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