Seven Fall Experiences You Can Only Have in Cody Yellowstone
Fall is grown-up time in Cody Yellowstone. As the temperatures get cooler and vacationing families return home to ready for school, Cody Yellowstone is transformed into an adventure-rich adult haven that is unlike anywhere else in the world.
With mountainous terrain, wide valleys, and a rich history that reflects its frontier roots, there are numerous things you can do in the fall in Cody Yellowstone — and nowhere else on Earth.
Hear an elk bugle in a valley that bears its name
Cody-based road-trippers en route to the East Gate of Yellowstone will pass through Wapiti Valley. “Wapiti” is the Cree Indian word for elk, and these white-bottomed creatures from the deer family have obligingly continued to populate their namesake valley. Fall is mating season, and elk take their procreation duties seriously. Like the Instagramming humans who observe them, elk like to “share” their experiences too — by bugling about them. The shrill, ancient sound made by a male elk in rut reminds visitors in a goosebump-inducing way that Cody Yellowstone remains one of the wildest places in the world.
Stop by Buffalo Bill’s hunting lodge
The Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway is a curious road-tripper’s dream route. Travelers pass a dilapidated, multi-story structure — often called the Crazy House — that was the inexplicable passion of an obsessive local builder who died when he fell from one of the rickety balconies on a windy day. Along the route, drivers will also pass rock formations with descriptive names like “Chinese Wall” and points of interest such as “Colter’s Hell.” Just outside the park entrance is Pahaksa Tepee, Buffalo Bill’s hunting lodge, where he entertained high-profile guests like the Prince of Monaco. A free downloadable TravelStorys audio tour offers interpretive highlights along the way.
Become an insider at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West
(Photo: Center of the West)
This acclaimed, Smithsonian-affiliated Buffalo Bill Center of the West in downtown Cody offers exclusive, personalized tours of three of its five museums: Buffalo Bill Museum, Plains Indian Museum, and Cody Firearms Museum. Available for small groups of up to 10 people, the tours are led by experts, who provide insights and experiences not available to the general public. The Buffalo Bill Museum exclusive tour, for example, offers visitors special access to artifacts not on public display.
Fire an 1873 Winchester Rifle
The Cody Firearms Experience is an indoor shooting range with a selection of replicas of significant guns throughout history and a range of shooting packages. After shooting a replica of the rifle Bill Cody used to hunt, adventurers can try their hand — literally — at ax throwing in the facility’s WTF (Wyoming Throwing Federation) Ax Arena.
Explore an old mine and ghost town
For a scenic, get-away-from-other-humans day with hidden history and photo-worthy landscapes, take a drive on the Pitchfork Road (Highway 290) to Kirwin, a gold-mining ghost town 38 miles south of Meeteetse. Once home to 200 people, the town was mostly abandoned after a 1907 avalanche killed three people and destroyed many buildings. In the 1930s, developer Carl Dunrod purchased the area. He built the Double D Dude Ranch, whose early guests included aviator Amelia Earhart. Charmed by the region, Earhart began work on a vacation cabin. Sadly, the structure was never completed after her disappearance, but history buffs can still find remnants of the construction.
See the Hole in the Wall Cabin and visit the bank Butch Cassidy refused to rob
During their train- and bank-robbing heyday, one of the authentic frontier buildings in Cody’s Old Trail Town was used as a hideout by Butch Cassidy and the notorious Wild Bunch. There was one bank in the region that was perfectly safe, though. Promising never to rob it, Butch Cassidy encouraged his friends to stash their cash at the Meeteetse Bank. Now part of the Meeteetse Museums, visitors can still view an original bank teller’s cage and other period artifacts.
Motor through valleys of plenty all in one day
In one long and visually stimulating day, travelers can pass through Yellowstone’s wildlife-rich valleys, see a series of rugged mountain peaks, pass lakes and rivers, and see the waterfall that inspired the creation of the world’s first national park 149 years ago. By entering the park via the East Gate and exiting the Northeast Gate to return to Cody, travelers can experience much of the 2.2 million-acre park’s most famous sights and landmarks all in one day.
Fall Into Fun, Right Here in Cody Yellowstone