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This was the year when visitation to Yellowstone — already at record levels — was supposed to go completely through the roof. The park was celebrating its 150th anniversary, air travel was a mess, Europe was still a bit of a reach, and pent-up demand was going to drive overdue family getaways.

Then the rains came, and Yellowstone was in the news for all the wrong reasons as roads were washed out, and two out of five park entrances were closed indefinitely.

Many vacationers immediately canceled their reservations and went elsewhere.

The funny thing is that those who did not cancel are enjoying a laid-back version of Yellowstone and the surrounding region. After the initial closures, 93 percent of the park’s road system is open. 

Updates are available online.

And so, with plenty to see and do and fewer crowds, Cody Yellowstone’s best-kept secret might be out of the bag — fall is a prime time to visit. 

For those considering a fall vacation to the region, here are some reasons to visit Cody Yellowstone.

Fewer Visitors

Even during a “normal” year, traffic drops off when the kids go back to school. As long as most school districts follow the traditional calendar and have long summer breaks, most families will return to their routines by September.

Room Availability

The June floods that made the news in June resulted in many people changing their vacation plans and heading to other parts of the country. That means more rooms, cabins, and campsites are available for those who haven’t made reservations yet. More information can be found online.

Great Weather

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone River from Artist's Point South Rim

Warm — but not too hot — daytime temperatures followed by cooler evenings are typical in Cody Yellowstone. Low humidity and few rainy days help to temper the extremes as well.

The Bears are Hungry

Full body portrait of grizzly bear standing and finding some food on floor, field covered by brown grass during autumn in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA.

The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is known for its grizzly and black bear populations. As winter approaches, these species kick their caloric intake into high gear as they prepare for hibernation. That means opportunities to spot bruins as they fatten up for the season.

The Elk have Other Things on their Minds

An Elk in Yellowstone

Male elk court prospective mates by shrilly bugling and challenging other males to battle. Fortunate visitors can receive quite the show — from a safe distance, of course — as the bulls look to expand their harems.

The Fish are Biting

A man fishing in Cody Yellowstone

Cody Yellowstone is renowned for its fishing. While seasoned anglers will tackle trout action in the streams in and around Cody on their own, novices might want to hire a fishing guide for their first foray. Fly fishing shops also offer maps and advice.

Style and Art

The most prestigious event of the year, Cody’s Rendezvous Royale, is staged the third week of September. The event includes the nationally known Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale with Western-themed art, a quick-draw event, auction, Western fashion show, seminars, studio tours, and a ball. For more about the rendezvous, go online


Couple at the Center of the West
(Photo: Buffalo Bill Center of the West)

The Heart Mountain Interpretive Center at the Heart Mountain Internment Camp site offers a glimpse of the lives of some 14,000 Japanese-American citizens who were interned there during World War II. The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is a Smithsonian-affiliated museum — actually five museums under one roof dedicated to town founder Buffalo Bill Cody, firearms, fine Western Art, the Plains Indians of the region, and the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. 

The town features many historic buildings, such as the Irma Hotel, built by Buffalo Bill himself and named for his daughter. There’s also the Chamberlin Inn, where Earnest Hemingway was a guest, and Old Trail Town & Museum of the Old West featuring homesteader cabins, including one used as a hideout by Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch.


Father and son hiking in Cody Yellowstone

Outdoor recreation in the area has been on a steady upward trend for years. Visitors enjoy world-class hiking, biking, climbing, rafting, and camping. And horseback riding has been a mainstay since before Cody was even founded in the late 1800s.

There’s no doubt about it, a Cody Yellowstone fall has it all! Check out all the amazing things to see and do, then start planning your getaway. We can’t wait to see you.