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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.
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.
3. Cody Yellowstone is a Region
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.
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.”
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.)
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.
6. Swig Some Suds and Win a Prize on the Sippin’ Trail
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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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