Find Your Inner Dude in Cody Yellowstone
Guest and dude ranches in Cody Yellowstone have been helping travelers from around the globe discover their inner cowgirl (and cowboy) for more than a century, and they’ve gotten pretty good at it.
That experience is especially important now, as travelers search for crowd-free, drive-to, nature-based destinations to regain their travel confidence.
Most dude and guest ranches dotting the sprawling valleys that surround this corner of Northwest Wyoming are accepting reservations for the summer season, and many popular ranches that are typically booked far in advance have plenty of availability this year.
Dude and guest ranches will be especially appealing to travelers leaving their houses and hometowns for the first time in months for these three reasons:
- Ranches lodge guests in freestanding cabins with private bathrooms and entrances.
- Most ranch activities like horseback riding and fishing can be experienced easily with social distancing precautions.
- Most of the fun is outside.
More about dude and guest ranches
Dude ranches have been a staple of the American vacation experience since the early 1880s, when Howard Eaton started the Custer Trail Ranch in the Dakota Badlands to accommodate travelers from the East, whom the Westerners called “dudes.”
The Eatons eventually moved operations to Wyoming where the Eaton Ranch is still in operation today. The Eatons ran horse packing trips to Yellowstone National Park, and the Howard Eaton Trail runs roughly parallel to the Grand Loop inside the park and has been used by countless hikers, horseback riders and cross country skiers through the years.
Cody is the home of the Dude Ranchers Association, which was established in 1926 when several ranch owners developed standards to accommodate the growing numbers of travelers whose trek to the West had become increasingly easier with railroad expansions. The membership roster listed 26 ranches that first year and 40 the following year. Today, more than 100 ranches belong to the association. Modern-day ranches include working dude ranches, resort dude ranches and guest ranches.
The Association has established strict criteria that must be met to be a member. Dude ranches require a minimum stay, usually four nights to a week. All activities, meals and lodging are included in a fixed price which requires a deposit in advance. A guest ranch on the other hand offers the same type of lodging and activities but travelers can stay just one night with meals and horseback riding optional. Lodging, meals and activities are priced separately and paid for at the end of the stay.
No matter what type of ranch experience travelers choose, they will be treated to an authentic and memorable Western experience.
Today the roads between Cody, Wyo. and Yellowstone National Park are home to a high concentration of guest and dude ranches. Here are just a few welcoming travelers today:
UXU Ranch in the Shoshone National Forest offers horseback riding, fly fishing, side trips to Yellowstone and Cody, hiking, cookouts and more. 1-307-587-2143.
7D Ranch offers 10 rustic cabins tucked into the Sunlight Basin an hour from Yellowstone. The ranch offers riding, fishing, hiking and children’s programs. 1-307-587-9885.
Rimrock Ranch is 26 miles from Yellowstone. The ranch offers modern cabins, outdoor pool and hot tub. Activities include trail rides, fishing, cookouts and float trips. 1-307-587-3970.
Absaroka Mountain Lodge is located 39 miles west of Cody and 12 miles from Yellowstone. This ranch features 15 cabins accommodating between two and eight people. 1-307-587-3963.
Bill Cody Ranch was once operated by Buffalo Bill’s grandson and is a full-service horseback riding resort. It is located halfway between Cody and Yellowstone. 1-307-587-2097.
Blackwater Creek Ranch, built in 1915, is 15 miles from Yellowstone. The ranch offers 15 cabins and ranch-style meals. 1-307-587-5201.
Elephant Head Lodge is 12 miles from Yellowstone and offers plenty of family-friendly activities. Pets are welcome. 1-307-587-3980.
Creekside Lodge is 10 minutes from the park. The lodge offers private Western cabins, guided fishing trips, horseback rides and chuckwagon dinners. 1-307-587-9795.
Pahaska Tepee is the location of Buffalo Bill’s original hunting lodge two miles from Yellowstone. Listed on the National Historic Register, Pahaska Tepee offers cabins, restaurant and bar, gift shop and gas as well as horseback rides, fishing and hiking. 1-307-527-7701.
Rand Creek Ranch is between Cody and Yellowstone and offers cozy cabins with a private pond for fishing, a kayak and paddle boat, horseback riding and barbecue dinners. 1-307-587-3200.
Shoshone Lodge & Guest Ranch is five miles from Yellowstone. It features authentic Western cabins in the woods, trail rides, pack trips and relaxation. 1-307-587-4044.
Hunter Peak Ranch is located 30 minutes from Yellowstone. Based around an early-1900s lodge, the ranch offers Western accommodations, riding, hiking, swimming/tubing and photography. 1-307-587-3711.
KBarZ Guest Ranch & Outfitters accommodates up to 30 guests in private cabins in a pine forest. Activities include riding, pack trips, fishing, side trips and guided hunting. 1-307-587-4410.
Are you ready to unleash your inner cowboy (or cowgirl) here in Cody Yellowstone? Start planning your escape into the Wild West today by downloading our helpful vacation guide. We can’t wait to see you here!