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Cody on a budget

February 20th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

We all have that friend. The one you avoid including in group dinners because he tracks how many fried green tomatoes each diner eats and then insists on splitting the price of the appetizer platter for the table by consumption. He never picks up a round of sloe gin fizzes. And his regifting skills are legendary.

I have one of those friends. He’s my big brother, and he’s coming to visit this summer. My brother asked me to plan several days of fun in Yellowstone Country that are budget-friendly, keeping in mind that the budget-friendliest of all activities are those that don’t involve opening a wallet. Those were his words. I’m not kidding.

I’ve got this, I told him. In Cody Yellowstone Country, it’s easy to plan several days of fun by enjoying the many free and moderately priced adventures in the region.

Here’s my plan.

One morning, we’ll take a drive (in my car burning my gas, of course) along the Buffalo Bill Scenic Highway and look for “Snoopy the Dog” and “Laughing Pig Rock.” The road that travels to the east entrance of Yellowstone features a bunch of weird rock formations that have been imaginatively named by locals.

Stunning Read More


Why This is the Year to Experience the...

February 5th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I realize the days are still short – but, yay, getting longer – and many of us are tired of winter, but it’s a great time to think of our summer plans.

Personally, I love spontaneous trips, but there are times when planning a vacation is just plain fun. My sister-in-law told me in the fall she had signed up for a group tour to visit China this spring. As we exchanged e-mails and spoke on the phone I found myself wishing I was going with her. She didn’t invite me, so I just had to make do with researching her itinerary and buying her some guidebooks for Christmas. I also added a similar trip to my “Some Day” list.

Last year I thoroughly enjoyed learning about some self-guided walking and biking tours in an unnamed location north and west of my beloved Cody, Wyoming, and I followed through with a vacation that was equal parts active, relaxing and educational. That sounds a lot like my life, except the vacation did not include cowboy musicians.

As part of my job, people ask me for recommendations for accommodations, food, shopping, hiking trails, fishing streams and the like. A common question revolves around “secret” times Read More


For the Best Yellowstone Vacation, Start...

March 14th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

As winter gives way to spring, I start to hear from old friends who are thinking about their summer vacations. Invariably, they ask for my counsel on planning a summer vacation to my slice of paradise. Specifically, they usually want my help visiting Yellowstone National Park and our area.

I am always happy to share my knowledge as well as my recommendations about what to do, where to stay and which cowboy musician is telephone number-worthy.

While each vacation will be different, there are several things I always recommend.

First of all, the best way to appreciate a Yellowstone vacation is to start it in Cody, Wyo., the wildest way in to the world’s first national park.

The first stop I recommend is to go to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and head to the Draper Natural History Museum. At the Draper’s top level, you can look at a floor map of the region that helps you get your bearings and see where Cody, Park County, the park and the whole Yellowstone ecosystem fit together. From that top level are ramps that go down in a counter clockwise pattern with interpretive displays on specific topics such as the area’s wildlife, how forest Read More


Dude, I want to share a secret with you.

March 7th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Did you know the term “Dude” actually originated here in Cody, Wyo.? No, it’s not from the surfer beaches of California or a junior high locker room.

Back when the park – we locals refer to Yellowstone as “the park” – was still a baby in the 1870s the people who made a living taking tourists around the thermal features came up with the term to describe any visitor from the East. The term quickly evolved to describe anyone who hired a guide to show them the West and our lifestyle.

Being proud Westerners, ranchers often hosted guests who wanted to stay for a week or two or three and experience the cowboy life. It did not take long, however, before enough people started visiting that it became prohibitively costly for the ranchers to shelter and feed these visitors.

The answer to this dilemma? Ranchers began reluctantly asking their guests to pay a fee to stay and help with chores around the property. The guests were more than happy to pay these fees, and a new segment of the hospitality industry was born.

The first “dude ranch” dates back to the 1880s and was the Custer Trail Ranch in the Dakota Badlands east of Read More


Zippety Doo Dah! Zip Lines Coming to...

September 4th, 2015 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Zippety Doo Dah! Zip Lines Coming to Yellowstone Country

On occasion, I feel the need for speed.

When I want an adrenaline rush in the winter, I usually head over to Sleeping Giant Ski Area just west of downtown Cody and ski the intermediate runs. My favorite ski run is Red Star because it is parallel to the ski area boundary and I get some great views of the mountains and valley below.

In the summer, at least these days, it’s not quite as easy for me to get my speed fix. I used to achieve some serious speed when I was a barrel racer at the Cody Nite Rodeo, but those days are long over. When I watch those beautiful young cowgirls with their hair trailing in the wind steering their horses around the barrels with incredible finesse, I can still remember the sheer joy of the race. And I can remember how it felt to win.

So I was super excited to hear that Sleeping Giant Ski Area is building new dual zip lines which will have  fabulous views. And the best part, at least for this former competitor, is that you can race your friends on each zip because the Canadian Read More


West Meets Midwest

August 24th, 2015 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

If you see me walking around Cody next week telling stories about the town to someone who is feverishly taking notes, please don’t be concerned.

Tap your feet along to the sounds of Americana, bluegrass and songs of the American West at Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue.

You see, we are hosting a conference for the Midwest Travel Writers Association (MTWA), and this group of journalists is coming for more than just Yellowstone Country’s Western brand of hospitality.Over the years there is a good chance you have read an article by one of these writers. Before the Internet turned our lives upside down, travel writers researched and wrote their stories for magazines, newspapers, newsletters and other publications. Many of those publications are now found online, and professionals supply the stories.

This conference is our opportunity to showcase our attractions. The plan is to start with a welcome reception at the Chamberlin Inn followed by a short walk over to enjoy Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue. I know that Dan will promptly win over the female journalists in the crowd, but we cannot just send them home after his performance. We will take the next several days making a trip to Yellowstone, taking Read More


Corrie’s Cool Tips for Visiting Cody...

August 10th, 2015 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Some like it hot, but I’m not one of them. And lately it’s been a little on the hot side around here, with daytime temperatures in the high 80s. I’m not complaining, because Corrie doesn’t complain. Just saying, well, baby, it’s hot outside.

In Yellowstone Country, however, even on the hottest of days there are plenty of things to do – outside and inside – to be cool and stay cool. Here are five ideas:

Enjoy the beauty of Yellowstone Country on horseback

Go for a trail ride. Most of our dude and guest ranches offer trail rides – short ones, long ones, overnight ones, multi-day ones. And many of the rides meander through forests of lodgepole pines, Englemann Spruces and Subalpine Firs, which offer shade from the sun. And the stunning beauty of Yellowstone Country is guaranteed to take your mind off the heat.

Paddle away an afternoon. Between Clark’s Fork River and the North Fork of the Shoshone River, there are plenty of paddling options, including whitewater rafting, family-friendly floating, duckie kayaking and core-busting stand-up paddle boarding (SUP).

Adventure out on one of five loop tours

Crank up the AC and go for a road trip. Yellowstone Country is home to numerous Read More


Our Kind of Competition

July 27th, 2015 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Here in Cody – for that matter, here in Wyoming – we have a healthy respect for guns, gun safety and firearms in general.

Hunting has been a way of life for most people here, and for many of our ancestors it was essential for survival. When I grew up all of my friends and I received “the talk” from our parents about what to do if we came across a gun (don’t touch it, tell an adult immediately) and were instructed on proper handling and shooting once we were old enough.

Guns aren’t toys. We don’t own guns to be cool, and people who just leave them lying around in the open or otherwise mishandle them are told to straighten up.

We take gun safety seriously and are completely flabbergasted when see the way some people treat firearms. Who in their right mind would actually shove a loaded pistol down the front their pants? What could possibly go wrong?

All of my lessons returned to me this week as I began to prepare earnestly for the 22nd Annual Buffalo Bill Invitational Shootout which will be held Aug. 6-8, 2015 at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s Cody Firearms Museum and at the Read More


Musings on the 2015 Cody Stampede

July 10th, 2015 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

The 2015 Cody Stampede is in the history books, and before I focus on the second half of the summer (don’t even think about arguing with me that summer just started June 21) I want to share a few observations.

It always seems there are cowboys competing who are named Cody. Don’t believe me? Look it up. I saw five just in the final standings. You won’t find too many Clevelands or Bostons.

The action never stops at the four Cody Stampede Rodeo performances.

Some other great Western first names were Cimarron, Shane and Levi. There was even a guy named Jesse James. My favorite, however, was Clayton Moore who won the steer wrestling competition. And he did it without any help from a trusted sidekick named Tonto.

When the second Cody Stampede board member walked past me wearing a pink shirt, I wondered what was happening. Turns out on July 2, they along with the Cowboy Up Drill Team and several spectators were “Tough Enough To Wear Pink” making a statement in support of breast cancer research. Well played, all of you. I tip my 10-gallon hat in your direction.

Opening Ceremonies of the Cody Stampede Rodeo.

The Stampede paid out almost $350,000 Read More


This is why Cody is the Rodeo Capital of...

June 12th, 2015 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

When the arm jerker broke from the chute the crowd was seeing daylight.

That’s when I knew that things were back to normal here in the “Rodeo Capital of the World.”

You see, we don’t just throw a rodeo during our county fair. We do it every night June 1 – Aug. 31 with our Cody Nite Rodeo. Actually, that’s not completely true. On Tuesday, June 30 at 7 p.m. the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) Cody/Yellowstone Xtreme Bulls event will take place, and from July 1-4 the biggest names in rodeo come to town for the Cody Stampede.

The Cody Nite Rodeo is thrilling for spectators.

First, let’s talk about the Nite Rodeo which has been happening since 1938. Every night our rodeo grounds open the gates at 7 p.m., and the action begins at 8 p.m. Performances are typically around two hours long with events such as bronc riding, bull riding, bareback riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping and barrel racing. I always get a kick out of the kids in the audience who are invited to participate in the calf scramble.

The audience is also entertained by the rodeo clowns whose outfits and humor sometimes mask the serious and highly Read More