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Sure, you might be shivering in your heaviest wool socks today, but that doesn’t mean it’s too soon to start planning that warm-weather road trip to Cody Yellowstone that you’ve been dreaming about. In fact, we’re here to make it easier than ever before! We’ve put together a collection of tips from travel planning pros to help ensure that your 2021 Cody Yellowstone vacation is the best it can be.  

So pull out that dusty suitcase and replace those laces on your hiking boots — adventure is on the horizon! 

Plan Like a Perfectionist

Cody Yellowstone is one of the least populated places in the country’s least populated state. If you want to experience big sky, big wildlife herds, big rivers, and big valleys rather than big crowds, you’re coming to the right place! That said, we expect Cody Yellowstone to be a popular destination this year, so you’ll want to plan your days carefully and make sure you’re following safety protocols. After all, we want everybody to have a wonderful time when they visit us.

Covid-19 Protocols and Park Updates

Covid-19 protocols in Cody Yellowstone and Yellowstone National Park are continuously updated to reflect current local conditions, and visitors should check websites for the latest information. Mask mandates are in place for all public areas in Yellowstone National Park. In Park County, where Cody is located, visitors must wear masks while inside retail or commercial businesses, while obtaining services at or visiting healthcare operations, and while waiting for or riding any public transit, including taxis, tours, buses, and shuttles. 

Gather and Review Resources Soon

The cover of the 2021 Cody Yellowstone Vacation Guide

For starters, download or request a free copy of the 2021 Cody Yellowstone Vacation Guide. It’s full of plenty of excellent at-a-glance information to plan your trip. Then, use our online resources to find out about lodging and camping in Cody and Yellowstone National Park. You can also find out about attractionsmapspark road conditionsentrance feesparking, and Cody and Yellowstone dining options.

Prefer to have your information online? Download the free Yellowstone National Park app for interactive maps, itinerary suggestions, wildlife watching safety recommendations, history, stories, and more. Also, download the TravelStorys audio walking tour of historic downtown Cody and TravelStorys Yellowstone National Park audio tours.

Time it Right

If possible, visit during the shoulder season to avoid peak-season crowds. The last two weeks in May, the first two weeks in June, the last two weeks in August, and the first week in September typically see fewer visitors than peak summer periods. 

Fall colors in North Fork Shoshone river, near Cody, Wyoming

Book Lodging and Campgrounds Soon


Cody features a wide selection of lodging choices, including Bed & Breakfasts, limited-service hotels, luxury hotels, boutique inns, and dude and guest ranches. Lodges in the park, such as the famous Canyon Lodge, are also accepting reservations now. One thing to keep in mind is that although most hotels allow full refunds for cancellations made within a specific time period, some dude ranches have different policies. 

RVers and campers also have plenty of choices in and around the park. There are several first-come, first-served campgrounds in the park as well. There are even more options outside park boundaries.

A lady stands outside a campsite that resembles a teepee
(Photo: @travel_with_cherryl)

Visit Cody First

There are plenty of ways to plan a Cody and Yellowstone itinerary, but if at all possible, make Cody your first stop.

Many of Cody’s authentic Western attractions nicely complement a visit to Yellowstone. The Draper Natural History Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, for example, ingeniously provides visitors with an overview of the park’s four ecosystems with exhibits that showcase the park’s sights, sounds, and even smells. An hour-long Cody Trolley Tour provides a history of the town Buffalo Bill founded in part to capture the imagination – and dollars – of early visitors to the park. 

Visitors board the Cody Trolley Tour in Cody Yellowstone

Additionally, there are classic Western adventures like the Cody Nite Rodeo and Old Trail Town & Museum of the Old West that help travelers get into the Western spirit. 

Leave time to wander Sheridan Avenue and explore its many shops and art galleries.

From the town of Cody, travelers have two choices for accessing Yellowstone National Park. The Northeast Gate takes visitors to the wildlife-rich Lamar Valley. The East Gate leads to Yellowstone Lake. 

Next, Yellowstone National Park

At 2.2 million acres, there’s a lot to explore in Yellowstone National Park. In fact, it can be overwhelming to first-time visitors seeking to experience as much as possible of the park’s geothermal features, observe its wildlife, see its remarkable architecture and learn about its fascinating human history. Luckily, we’re here to help! 

A family relaxes near Artist Point in Yellowstone National Park

Here are five ways you can make your Yellowstone trip even better:

  1. Visit the most popular park sites such as Old Faithful Geyser and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River during the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the peak crowds.
  2. Map it out. The park’s main roads are laid out in a figure eight, with a lower loop and upper loop, as well as roads leading to each of the five main entrances. Along each route, there are pullouts that must be used by vehicles stopping to observe wildlife. Fishing Bridge RV Park will be closed throughout 2021 due to an ongoing construction project.
  3. Choose just a few must-see features and leave lots of time for wandering boardwalks, hiking along trails, and just listening to the sounds of the park.
  4. Build in time to explore National Park Service Visitor Centers like the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center, which features exhibits about the park’s geothermal plumbing systems.
  5. Try a tour. There are numerous tour companies that offer guided interpretive tours in the park, including small-group bus and van tourshorseback ridinglake cruises, and an Old West Dinner Cookout

Adventure Awaits

With these tips, you’ll be ready for an amazing getaway in Cody Yellowstone — and we can’t wait to see you! Start planning your adventure by downloading your 2021 Vacation Guide today.