Six Things to do in Cody Yellowstone This Winter
If your winter adventures are bringing you to Cody Yellowstone this season, you’re in luck — Wyoming is a real winter wonderland! From the mountains to the streams, and everywhere in between, you’ll find plenty of fun for everyone. Here are a few suggestions for an unforgettable Cody Yellowstone winter.
Wake the Sleeping Giant: Skiing and Snowboarding
Every winter here in Cody Yellowstone, the sleeping giant awakens! We’re talking about the Sleeping Giant Ski Area, of course. Operating since 1936, the Sleeping Giant Ski Area is one of the oldest alpine ski areas in the country. Much like Cody Yellowstone itself, this ski area is laid back. You won’t find the hustle and bustle of massive resorts here — they prefer to let the terrain do the talking. It’s situated in the stunning Absaroka Mountain Range, just outside of Yellowstone National Park, and offers over 180 acres of skier and rider-accessible terrain across 49 runs. From green circles to black diamonds, you’ll find runs for all ages and experience levels. There’s even a popular terrain park that is constructed almost entirely of materials found on the hill. There are quarter pipes, rails, kickers, boxes, and jumps — everything an aerial specialist could dream of!
One of our absolute favorite features of Sleeping Giant is their snow tube park! With three courses to choose from and a tow lift, you can spend your day slip-sliding away if you’re looking for a change of pace from skiing or boarding.
You can find out more about Sleeping Giant, including information on ticket prices, lessons, and more, by checking out their website.
Walking in a Winter Wonderland
If you prefer your skiing to be cross-country, you’ll love Cody Yellowstone. There are more than 30 miles of groomed trails for nordic skiing and snowshoeing between Sleeping Giant Ski Area and Pahaska Tepee Resort at Yellowstone’s East Gate. Over around Meeteetse, you can explore the Wood River Valley Ski Touring Park. Operated by the Meeteetse Recreation District, this park features more than 15 miles of groomed trails. There are trails for everybody here, from the gentle South Fork Trail (perfect for first-timers and folks who prefer a slower pace) to the challenging Brown Creek Trail (experts love this one!).
If you’d prefer to stay close to town, it’s possible to enjoy a cold-weather hike with snowshoes or regular hiking boots along Cody Pathways, our multi-use trail system surrounding the town.
Overall, that’s more than 50 miles of trails waiting for you to explore — and we haven’t even mentioned Yellowstone National Park! There are numerous trails located throughout the park, making Cody Yellowstone a ski and snowshoeing paradise.
Remember to keep your eyes peeled while you’re out and about. Cody Yellowstone is full of wildlife-viewing opportunities. In fact, it’s not unusual to spot moose, bison, elk, eagles, and bighorn sheep along the trials.
Lace Up Your Skates
Are you the type of person who loves skating outdoors? Or do you prefer the comfort of indoor skating? Either way, we have options for you! For outdoor ice-skating, make your way to Homesteader Park in Powell, where you can skate all day and evening — thanks to the awesome night lighting. And don’t worry if you get cold; they also have a convenient warming house!
If indoor skating is right for you, lace up over at the Victor J. Riley Arena and Community Events Center in Cody. The arena offers something for all types of skaters, including general public skates, stick and puck skates for hockey fans, freestyle figure skating, and drop-in rec league hockey. Check the full schedule on their website to find the session that’s right for you.
Whether you’re skating indoors or outdoors, you’ll be happy to know that both locations offer skate rentals, so you’ll be on the ice in no time!
Rev Your Winter Engines: Snowmobile Tours
Trails, snow, sunshine and thermal features – we have everything you need for a memorable snowmobile experience. And with almost 7,000 square miles and a population of only about 30,000 people, Cody Yellowstone is a wintertime snowmobiling paradise for enthusiasts who enjoy exploring pristine trails and wide-open wilderness. In winter, that often means hopping on a snowmobile. Options are abundant as the region features roughly 1,000 miles of trails outside of Yellowstone National Park plus groomed roads inside the park.
Much of the land outside Yellowstone is federally owned and part of the Shoshone National Forest where off-road snowmobiling is permitted. Visitors and residents alike can bring their own sleds or rent them locally. In addition, guided tours are available with Cody outfitters.
Rules of the roads inside the park
Many questions pertain to in-park rules as major changes have occurred over the years as quieter snowmobiles producing less pollution are now required inside Yellowstone.
At one point, only commercially guided snowmobile tours were permitted. This year, NPS is allowing both commercially guided and non-guided sledders to enter the park’s East Gate and continue to its world’s-best collection or geysers, hot springs and other thermal features. Snowmobilers must follow posted speed limits and stay on park roads.
Each day, a group of up to five riders may enter the park through the East Gate and the other “over-the-snow” entrances. These riders must be at least 16 years old with a valid driver’s license, and Best Available Technology (BAT) is required. BAT in this case is a four-stroke machine as opposed to the two-stroke snowmobiles that, while more powerful, are also louder and produce more pollution. Participants must also pass the online Yellowstone Snowmobile Education Certification course.
NPS has instituted a lottery system for permits hosted by www.recreation.gov (877-444-6777). Permits cost $40/day plus a $6 application fee. While the lottery application deadline has passed, permits are still distributed for cancelations and dates for which no requests were made. Complete information is available online.
Guided tours are available inside the park as well. Gary Fales Outfitting operates at the Rimrock Dude Ranch 25 miles from the East Gate of Yellowstone. Tours of the park range from one to three days with some tours including overnight accommodations in park hotels as well as in gateway communities. The outfitter also rents snowmobiles by the day for self-guided tours.
Climb Into Something New
Do you have a craving to climb? Then Cody Yellowstone is the perfect place to be any time of year. During the winter months, ice climbing is a popular pass time here in Northwest Wyoming — and it’s easy to see why! The nearby South Fork of the Shoshone River Valley is is home to one of the largest concentrations of waterfalls for climbing in the contiguous United States. Now, before you decide to head out on your first climb here, it’s important to note that the South Fork is not for beginners. In fact, it’s home to some seriously challenging climbs, but the rewards — including unique pitches and spectacular views — are always worth the work.
Recently, snowmobiling and ice climbing were both profiled on an episode of Outside Yellowstone, where we discuss where to go, what to know, and just how special this neck of the woods is.
Bonus: Catch – and Release – a Trout
It was hard for us to choose just six things to try when there’s so much to do during a Cody Yellowstone winter — so here’s a special bonus activity! It’s well known that Cody Yellowstone is home to some of the best blue-ribbon trout stream fishing in North America, but did you know you can fish here all year round? Believe it or not, the fish don’t know it’s winter! First-time winter fishers and experienced anglers alike are all welcome to cast their lines here. Our professional fishing guides and outfitters can provide the tips and tools you need to catch (and release) the big one!
Come Walk (and Hike, and Bike, and Climb) in Our Winter Wonderland!
With so much to do, plenty of space to explore, and friendly, welcoming folks waiting for you, Cody Yellowstone is the perfect place for a memorable winter getaway! Start planning your winter vacation today, and we look forward to seeing you here soon!