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There’s something special that happens here in Cody Yellowstone when you’re out for some winter fun on the trails. It might take your brain a while to realize it’s happening — especially if you’re concentrating on keeping in the ski tracks, watching for snowshoers, or just staying upright. But somewhere on the trail — maybe when you’re winding around Pahaska Tepee near the east gate to Yellowstone National Park — it will hit you, it’s quiet.

This is different than the after-the-kids-are-in-bed quiet. Even once settled in for the night, you still might hear the hum of the dishwasher or the jolting slam of a car door on the street. This is the kind of quiet that leaves the ambient noise to nature. It’s a silence sprinkled with the caw of a raven, the splashing of a stream, or the whisper of the wind. 

A winter trekking getaway in Cody Yellowstone is a healthy, active, stunningly beautiful way to put the echo chamber of the office and the chaos of home on hold. Spending time surrounded by quiet has been shown to improve creativity and concentration, relieve insomnia, increase motivation, improve problem-solving abilities, and increase empathy. Gym enthusiasts know that cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or hiking in the winter can provide terrific cardio and strength-training workouts too. From your core to your quads, nearly every muscle is challenged as you kick and glide, skate, and step your way up a trail.

Even if you care about none of that wellness stuff, consider one other reason to visit Cody Yellowstone for a winter getaway: the snow is simply sublime.

Why and Where to go

Snow comes early and sticks around well into the spring in this northwestern corner of Wyoming. At the timberline of the Absaroka Range — one of six major mountain ranges in what’s known as the Big Horn Basin — the snowfall can reach as much as 40 feet a year. The region is well known for its year-round outdoor adventures. In the winter, these adventures include cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking hundreds of miles of groomed trails. 

Many trails are maintained by Park County Nordic Ski Association (PCNSA). This non-profit group grooms miles of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails at Pahaska Tepee, situated at the eastern gateway to Yellowstone National Park (about 52 miles from downtown Cody). These trails wind through a region that was once a favorite hunting area for Buffalo Bill Cody. Although it is closed in the winter, you’ll pass the rustic exterior of his former hunting lodge, where he hosted dignitaries such as the Prince of Monaco. 

A lady skis in Cody Yellowstone

There are also trails that follow the Shoshone River, starting near the Sleeping Giant Ski Area across the street from Pahaska Tepee. To the southwest, Wood River Valley Ski Touring Park also offers groomed and backcountry trails as well as a warming hut near the trailhead. 

Ski trail maps and information can be found at outfitters, shops, and attractions throughout Cody Yellowstone. You can rent skis and snowshoes at local sports shops. And if you forgot a must-have piece of clothing or gear, don’t worry about it — numerous shops stock everything you’ll need for the trails. 

Traveling to Cody

With all of these health benefits and choices of trails, you’d think that the many ski destinations throughout Cody Yellowstone would be lined with skiers. But the truth is, they’re not. Traveling to Cody in the winter, while far from complicated, takes some planning.

There are non-stop flights from Denver and Salt Lake City to the Yellowstone Regional Airport, located just five minutes from downtown Cody. Drivers will find a variety of scenic roads from the south, north and east. The town offers an array of accommodations, including boutique inns, bed and breakfasts, motels and luxury hotels, and many offer special rates during the winter months.

A mother and child ski in Cody Yellowstone

(photo: @sknodel)

Après Ski

A man skiing in Cody Yellowstone

Cody’s après ski scene is the epitome of authenticity, which should come as no surprise. After a day on the trails, meet for a beer in the Irma Hotel. Here, skiers can sit at a bar that was hand-picked by England’s Queen Victoria as a special gift to Buffalo Bill after he performed his Wild West Show for her. Or sip on a “Death in the Afternoon,” a popular concoction at the Chamberlin Inn. This delightful drink is named for one-time guest Ernest Hemingway, who stayed here after he completed his famous novel of the same name. There is also a brewery and wine bar, and numerous restaurants with cuisine selections ranging from healthy and vegan offerings to cowboy-pleasing steaks.

Ready to hit the trails on your winter wellness getaway here in Cody Yellowstone? Well, we’d love to have you! Download your 2020 Vacation Planning Guide today to get started.