12 Reasons to Drive to Yellowstone Country This Summer
CODY, Wyo., March 30, 2015 – Some destinations are meant to be explored by car, and Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country is one of them. This classic, quirky, quintessential Western destination has five spectacular highways including two Scenic Byways, and every one of them features numerous one-of-a-kind sights and attractions.
“While we encourage our visitors to also explore Yellowstone Country by foot, bike, kayak, trolley and horseback, with our collection of five knock-your-socks-off routes, hitting the road around here is guaranteed to lead to heart-stopping scenery, sobering history lessons and surprising places that can only be found in Cody,” said Claudia Wade, director of the Park County Travel Council, Yellowstone Country’s marketing arm.
Wade recommends that road-trippers pack the car with binoculars, cold drinks and snacks, but urges visitors to leave their schedules behind. “Our visitors lose all track of time, with unplanned roadside stops to watch a pair of moose wander through willow flats, read a historical marker or meander through the small towns along the way,” she said.
No matter where a traveler is starting the closer they get to Cody, the more they will be wowed. And if visitors haven’t had enough road tripping fun by the time they arrive in Cody, Wade suggests they take another day and use Cody as a home base to drive one of the five scenic loops surrounding the town. Want to see more wildlife? Take the East Yellowstone Loop. Can’t get enough of small towns with local color? Think about the Bighorn Basin Loop. Interested in historic sites and breathtaking sights? Choose the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway.
Here are 12 reasons to visit Yellowstone Country by car this year:
1. America’s Serengeti. Travelers who enter Yellowstone National Park through the park’s Northeast Gate will experience one of the country’s most remarkable wildlife-viewing destinations – Lamar Valley. Here, it is typical to see bison and elk, and travelers might also spot wolves, bears, coyote, bighorn sheep, moose, eagles and a wide variety of birds.
2. Sunlight Creek Bridge. Along the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, travelers will see the single-span Sunlight Creek Bridge, the highest bridge in Wyoming.
3. Dead Indian Pass. Also along the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, this overlook reveals where the Nez Perce tribe eluded the U.S. Cavalry for several months in 1877.
4. Sunlight Ranger Station. History buffs should take the side trip on the gravel Sunlight Basin Road to see this 1936 structure built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
5. Pahaska Tepee. Located just outside the park’s East Gate on the Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway, this is the place where Buffalo Bill entertained friends and dignitaries including the Prince of Monaco, whose flag still resides on the wall of the original lodge.
6. Snoopy the Dog. Rocks and lava flows along the Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway have created strange formations named by imaginative locals. In addition to “Snoopy the Dog,” so-named because it really does resemble the comic world’s most famous canine, road trippers will see “Laughing Pig Rock,” “Old Woman and Her Cabin,” and “Chinese Wall.”
7. Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range. To the northeast of Cody, visitors may be lucky enough to see some of the 120 free-roaming wild horses in the Bighorn Canyon Recreation Area.
8. Medicine Wheel. Also to the northeast of Cody, this mysterious 74-foot stone circle may have had religious or astronomical implications to ancient tribes.
9. Thermopolis. To the south of Cody is the home of the world’s largest free-flowing hot springs. Stop at Hot Springs State Park for a leisurely soak before returning to Cody.
10. Champagne truffles. Tucked away in a corner of the tiny town of Meeteetse is The Meeteetse Chocolatier, run by working cowboy and chocolatier extraordinaire Tim Kellogg. The shop serves a wide range of preservative-free truffles and other chocolate delights.
11. Heart Mountain WWII Interpretive Center. This education facility is situated on the site of a Japanese-American internment camp that housed some 14,000 people during World War II.
12. Dinosaur Fossil Beds. Entering Cody from the east, visitors will pass some of the world’s finest dinosaur fossil beds.
All five scenic drives to Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country take travelers past some of northwestern Wyoming’s most breathtaking valleys, mountain passes, rivers and forests. And when travelers finally arrive in the dynamic town of Cody, they can choose an inn, lodge, guest or dude ranch to park their cars and enjoy some human-powered activities for a few days.
For complete details about all five scenic drives, visit https://www.codyyellowstone.org/things-to-do/scenic-byways/.
Yellowstone Country is comprised of the towns of Cody, Powell and Meeteetse as well as the valley east of Yellowstone National Park.
The area of Park County is called “Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country” because it was the playground of Buffalo Bill Cody himself. Buffalo Bill founded the town of Cody in 1896, and the entire region was driven and is still heavily influenced by the vision of the Colonel. Today its broad streets, world-class museum Buffalo Bill Center of the West and thriving western culture host nearly 1 million visitors annually.
The Park County Travel Council website (www.codyyellowstone.org) lists information about vacation packages, special events, guide services, weather and more. Travelers wishing to arrange vacation can also call the Park County Travel Council at 1-800-393-2639.