Circle the wagons in Cody, Wyo., just 52 miles from Yellowstone National Park’s East Entrance. Cody is a town built on the Old West, and you’ll have plenty of rodeos and frontier-themed attractions to keep you entertained – to say nothing of the area’s pristine mountain scenery.
The town was founded by Col. William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody and his associates in the 1890s and was incorporated in 1901. The Buffalo Bill Historical Center is a good place to start exploring this unique small town.
Delve into native culture at the Wind River Reservation, home of the Eastern Shoshone & Northern Arapaho tribes. The Shoshone woman Sacajawea is buried here. Experience live cultural demonstrations at the 52nd Eastern Shoshone Powwow, scheduled for June 23-26 this year.
Pahaska Teepee was built in 1905 as a hunting lodge where Buffalo Bill entertained royalty from around the world. Today it is the closest lodging to Yellowstone’s East Gate, located along the charming Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway.
Catch one of the nightly performances of Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Review, a fast-paced family-friendly Branson-style show including songs from the American West, cowboy poetry and comedy.
Don’t miss the Cody Nite Rodeo while you’re in town. Spectators are treated to full rodeo entertainment including riding, roping, and bull and bronc riding. The Cody Nite Rodeo has been running every night June through August since 1939, making it the longest running rodeo in the U.S. Starting at 8 p.m. (gates open at 7 p.m.), it’s two hours of action-packed fun for the whole family. Tickets can be pre-purchased online and are not date specific.
The Cody area also has more recent historical significance. Heart Mountain Relocation Center housed 11,000 Japanese-Americans interned here during World War II. An interpretive learning center isn’t slated to open until August 2011, but you can take a self-guided walking tour of the exterior sites.
The Chief Joseph Scenic Highway passes through the Shoshone National Forest on its way to the Northeast Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Both wilderness areas, of course, are bursting at the seams with great fishing spots, hiking trails and wildlife viewing. Don’t forget your camera and a sturdy pair of shoes!