Three Perfect Winter Days in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country

CODY, Wyoming, January 10, 2017 – Although rodeo cowboys, shootout performers and bears take a much-deserved break during winter in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country, the destination is still very much alive with topnotch winter activities as well as many of the region’s favorite year-round attractions like the renowned Buffalo Bill Center of the West.


Winter has arrived in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country, and the shops, galleries, museums, hotels, restaurants, ski area, icy waterfalls, skating rink and backcountry trails are primed and ready to welcome winter-season visitors. And although these travelers visit this northwestern Wyoming destination for a variety of reasons, Cody promises a memorable experience for everyone, especially if they are adventurous, curious or a little bit of both.


“Some days are made for meandering through galleries and museums, and others are perfect for outdoor adventure,” said Claudia Wade, director of the Park County Travel Council, the tourism marketing arm for the region. “With a great balance of indoor and outdoor activities, visitors can choose activities based on their interests and weather and never run out of fun things to do.”


In fact, Wade often makes her own recreational choices based on the weather conditions. She enjoys snowshoeing on days when the sun is shining and there is a blanket of snow on the ground but wind is at bay. And on days of more rugged winter weather, she will wander at leisure through the five museums of the world-famous Buffalo Bill Center of the West.


Yellowstone Country is comprised of the towns of Cody, Powell and Meeteetse as well as the valley east of Yellowstone National Park.


To illustrate the range of winter offerings, here is a sample three-day itinerary. The Park County Travel Council also offers an online vacation planning tool.


Day One

Morning:

Have breakfast in your hotel or visit one of the town’s popular coffee shops or breakfast restaurants.


Go outside and play. Yellowstone Country is a prime destination for Nordic skiing, alpine skiing, ice-climbing, ice skating, fishing, hiking and wildlife-watching. Pack a picnic lunch if you’re planning a day in the backcountry. Many local restaurants provide to-go meals.


Here are some details about each option.

·        Ice-climbing. World-class ice-climbing is available along the South Fork of the Shoshone River. The area provides one of the highest concentrations of waterfall ice-climbing in the United States. Non-climbers are welcome to watch as the skillful climbers make their slow treks up the waterfalls. Enjoy a picnic lunch at the base of a waterfall. The 19th annual Cody Ice Festival is set for Feb. 10-12, 2017.

·        Nordic skiing and snowshoeing. The area offers an abundance of Nordic skiing trails including the Wood River Valley Ski Touring Park located 22 miles southwest of Meeteetse, North Fork Nordic Trails located near the East Entrance to Yellowstone National Park and Yellowstone National Park itself, which features miles of groomed trails. The Park County Nordic Ski Association posts trail, road and weather conditions and is a resource for trail information. Skis can be rented at stores in town.

·        Ice skating. Outdoor ice-skating – with a warming hut, skate shop and concession with hot drinks and snacks – is available at Homesteader Park in Powell, and indoor skating is offered at the Victor J. Riley Arena and Community Events Center in Cody. Both locations provide ice skate rentals.

·        Fishing. Yellowstone Country features some of the best blue-ribbon trout stream fishing in North America, and the fish do not know it is winter. Professional fishing guides and outfitters accommodate anglers of any ability. A listing of professional fishing guides and fly-fishing shops as well as year-round fishing information is available online.

·        Hiking, horseback-riding and wildlife watching. Depending on the level of snow and the location, it is possible to enjoy a cold-weather hike with snowshoes or regular hiking boots. Cody Pathways is a system of multi-use trails surrounding Cody. Travelers need not go far before they are in prime wildlife viewing territory. The road from Cody to the East Entrance of Yellowstone is full of wildlife-viewing opportunities. It is not unusual to spot moose, bison, elk, eagles and big horn sheep.


Afternoon:

Return to Cody. Cody has a variety of lodging options, including hotels, motels, inns and Bed and Breakfasts.


Evening:

Enjoy dinner at the Irma Hotel. Built by Buffalo Bill, the hotel is an authentic Cody landmark that captures the essence of western hospitality. It was named after Buffalo Bill’s youngest daughter, Irma, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Locals brag that the prime rib is the best in the West.


After dinner stop at Cassie’s Supper Club and Dance Hall for a drink and glimpse of Cody’s nightlife. Cassie Waters, a Cody madam with a huge heart, opened Cassie’s Supper Club in 1933. The popular night club offered dancing, liquor (a bourbon and water was 50 cents) and eventually, food. Today, Cassie’s Supper Club is the place where real cowboys (and girls) dance to the sounds of current owner Steve Singer’s band “West the Band.”


Day Two – Stay in Town

Morning:

Have breakfast in your hotel or visit one of the town’s popular coffee shops or breakfast restaurants.


Tour the five museums that comprise the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Founded in 1917 to preserve the legacy and vision of Buffalo Bill Cody, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West is the oldest and most comprehensive museum of the American West. Its five museums are the Buffalo Bill Museum, Plains Indian Museum, Whitney Gallery of Western Art, Cody Firearms Museum and the Draper Museum of Natural History. The facility also includes the Harold McCracken Research Library. Visitors at the museum on Feb. 26, 1917 can celebrate the birthday of the town’s founder at the museum’s annual Buffalo Bill’s Birthday Bash.


Lunch:

Enjoy lunch at the museum’s café, The Eatery, or stop at a local lunch spot.


Afternoon:

Visit the award-winning Heart Mountain WWII Interpretive Center. Located northeast of Cody, this Japanese-American internment camp housed 14,000 citizens during World War II. A stop in winter is especially poignant as visitors can truly appreciate the bleak conditions endured by incarcerees.


Late afternoon: 

Go gallery hopping and shopping. Most galleries and shops are located on Sheridan Avenue, Cody’s historic main street.


Evening:

Relax with a hometown brew at Pat O’Hara Brewing Company and have dinner at a local restaurant. A popular choice is the Wyoming Rib and Chop House. This restaurant is popular among locals for its baby back ribs and steaks, and reservations are recommended.

Day Three


Morning:

Have breakfast in your hotel or visit one of the town’s popular coffee shops or breakfast restaurants.


Spend the day at super-friendly Sleeping Giant Ski Area, a community-run ski area located to the west of Cody near the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park. Sleeping Giant features three chairlifts, snowmaking equipment, magic carpet and two terrain parks with a wide range of features – including quarter pipes, rails, boxes and jumps – that were constructed largely of materials found on the mountain. The resort has 184 skiable acres with a total of 49 runs, a base elevation of 6,619 feet, vertical drop of 810 feet and an average snowfall of 150 inches.


Lunch:

Warm up with lunch and a hot drink at the Grizzly Grill at the base of the ski area.


Afternoon:

Get in some more turns or take a lesson before returning to town.


Evening:

Enjoy a cocktail in Chamberlin Spirits, the conservatory in the Chamberlin Inn, one of Cody’s popular boutique inns.


Follow with a final dinner at a local restaurant. Cody features Mexican, Japanese, Italian, Chinese and American restaurants.


The area of Park County is called “Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country” because it was the playground of Buffalo Bill Cody himself. Buffalo Bill founded the town of Cody in 1896, and the entire region was driven and is still heavily influenced by the vision of the Colonel. Today its broad streets, world-class museum Buffalo Bill Center of the West and thriving western culture host nearly 1 million visitors annually.