Ripple background

There are so many iconic images associated with the American West: vast, untamed wilderness, larger-than-life cowboy legends, the brave men and women of the rodeo — to name just a few. It’s no surprise you can find all of these in abundance in Cody Yellowstone. That’s because Cody Yellowstone is the Best in the West, as demonstrated by winning Best Western Small Town in the 10Best Readers Choice Awards in 2023, among countless other Western-themed accolades. If you’re wondering whether Cody Yellowstone is the place to live out your Wild West cowboy dreams and explore fascinating history and authentic culture, we’re here to break down some of the reasons Cody Yellowstone remains the Best in the West. 

Cody Yellowstone is up for Best Small Town in the West again this year. Cast your vote now!

A Wild Western History Lives On

Old Trail Town & Museum of the Old West 2

If you’re looking for Wild West history, look no further than our name! Cody’s founder and namesake was American legend “Buffalo Bill” Cody. Cody was a famous cowboy and showman who founded Cody, Wyoming, in 1896. He was a visionary who saw the potential to create a prosperous Western town and wild playground close to Yellowstone National Park.

Today, Cody Yellowstone is home to authentic and well-preserved Wild West sites like Old Trail Town, where you can step back into the 1890s and visit Butch Cassidy’s Hole in the Wall Cabin and Jeremiah Johnston’s grave. You can also stroll around historic Downtown Cody to visit Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel, walking in the footsteps of the cowboy legend who founded this quintessential Western town.

A display at the Plains Indian Museum

Wild West history buffs won’t want to miss the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, a Smithsonian-affiliated institution home to five museums under one roof. A longtime favorite of Cody Yellowstone visitors, it’s received the TripAdvisor “Traveler’s Choice” award for the past several years, with an overall rating of five out of five. Each museum within the center allows you to dive deeper into Wild West history, from Native American cultures and traditions at the Plains Indian Museum to the timeless historical works of art in the Whitney Museum of Western Art. It’s a must-visit Cody Yellowstone attraction for anyone interested in diving deeper into Western history, culture, art, and technology.

It’s the Rodeo Capital of the World for a Reason 

A bullrider at the Cody Nite Rodeo

You don’t become the Rodeo Capital of the World by having the occasional tie-down roping competition or saddle bronc ride. It takes generations of passionate athletes, showstopping events, and one of the world’s longest-running rodeos to earn the distinction. The Cody Stampede rodeo first kicked off way back in 1919, and it’s been a summer staple ever since. This year marks its 105th anniversary, as well as the 86th anniversary of the Cody Nite Rodeo performance. Since 1938, the Cody Nite Rodeo has been delivering two hours of exciting, family-friendly western entertainment every night from June 1st to August 31st. 

Dusty Tuckness pointing at the camera

While Cody’s long-standing love of the rodeo is fascinating, the entertainment and athleticism are very much alive and well today. Take Cody Yellowstone local Dusty Tuckness, a decorated Professional Bullfighter from Meeteetsee who has won the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Bullfighter of The Year 10 times and the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Bullfighter Award 13 times! This living legend is one of our Wild Watch Ambassadors, a group of local residents who embrace the wild nature of Northwest Wyoming to highlight the area’s incredible elements and opportunities through their lenses. Dusty’s continued success in the world of professional bullfighting is a testament to the wild nature of the Rodeo Capital of the World.

Our Backyard is 2.2 Million Acres of Untamed Wilderness

Yellowstone National Park

The journey from the town of Cody to Yellowstone National Park has long been regarded as a must-see for anyone who loves spectacular natural vistas. In fact, no less an authority than passionate outdoorsman President Theodore Roosevelt once remarked that the trip provided “the most scenic 50 miles in America.” Decades later, it remains a stunningly beautiful drive, and one that provides memorable Western images at every turn. Once you arrive at the park’s East Gate, you enter a wild Western wonderland. Think roaming animals, impossibly grand landscapes, incredible natural sights, and more geysers, hot springs, mud pots, and fumaroles than you can shake a stick at! 

5 Reasons to Visit Cody Yellowstone in 2024 1

Yellowstone’s most famous animal inhabitants, the American Bison, are themselves icons of the West. So entrenched is the bison in the history and culture of the American West that in 2016, it was named the U.S. National Mammal, joining the bald eagle (another Cody Yellowstone resident!) as an official symbol of the United States of America. And, of course, it’s not just bison you can expect to see here. Yellowstone National Park is home to 67 different species of mammals and nearly 300 species of birds.

With such a vast landscape to explore, you can live out your Wild West dreams. Get away from it all, tour on horseback, live like the cowboys and mountain men of old. And you don’t have to do it the old fashioned way if you don’t want to! Climbing, kayaking, hiking, biking. You name it, you can find your outdoor adventure in Cody Yellowstone.

Where Wild West Meets Wildlife

Grizzly bear standing still and looking toward camera on a small hill

Want to encounter an array of iconic Western wildlife? Lace up your hiking boots, pack your binoculars, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in the heart of Yellowstone’s wilderness. From the legendary bison to majestic elk and playful river otters, Cody Yellowstone offers a diverse tapestry of creatures, both big and small.

For the safest and most enriching experience, consider exploring Yellowstone with an expert guide. These knowledgeable professionals can provide tours that include valuable insights into the park’s diverse creatures and ensure you encounter wildlife safely. 

An eagle takes flight in Cody Yellowstone

Keep in mind that Yellowstone is not a zoo! There are no cages here, and these animals are truly undomesticated and should be observed from a distance. While Yellowstone offers unparalleled wildlife viewing opportunities, respecting their space and habitat is crucial. Always maintain a safe distance and never approach or feed wild animals.

There’s Always More to Explore

In Cody Yellowstone, outdoor adventure awaits at every turn. Whether you’re seeking on-land thrills or want to conquer the mighty Shoshone River, you’re always within reach of outdoor recreational opportunities for all ages.

Two men hiking in Cody Yellowstone

Hike rugged trails, bike to historic sites and scenic pathways, and see if you can catch the big one on a fly-fishing excursion. If you’re looking for thrills, embark on a whitewater rafting adventure down roaring rapids or climb an ice mountain. Your days in Cody Yellowstone’s vast landscape can be as relaxed or heart-pounding as you desire. 

When night falls, head outside to experience the timeless beauty of Yellowstone’s star-studded skies, where the absence of light pollution allows for unparalleled stargazing. Imagine yourself transported back to the days of the Old West as you marvel at the shining stars above, just as the cowboys and explorers did under these same expansive skies.

Experience the Best of the West

Shopping in Cody Yellowstone

Ready to experience the best of the West? We’ve made it even easier to get out there (and win prizes along the way) with our Wild West Trail Pass. So start planning your trip to the Wild West of Cody Yellowstone! And while you’re at it, cast your vote to name Cody Yellowstone the Best Small Town in the West once again this year.