Anniversary and Renewed Interest in National Parks Increase Interest and Need to Plan for Vacation in Cody Yellowstone
CODY, Wyo., March 4, 2022 – Spontaneity is wonderful, exciting and, often romantic, but it’s probably not the best idea for those planning a vacation to the world’s first national park and surrounding region this year.
Northwestern Wyoming’s Cody Yellowstone has been hosting summer road trippers for decades and is considered a vital part of the classic American vacation. With Yellowstone celebrating its 150th anniversary this year just when overall interest in national parks is on an upward trend, the region is expecting a vibrant and exciting season.
“Last-minute, seat-of-the-pants vacations can be epic and etched into our memories,” said Ryan Hauck, executive director of the Park County Travel Council, the marketing arm for the region. “When you’re covering millions of acres, however, you should not leave too much to chance.”
The region is comprised of the towns of Cody, Powell and Meeteetse, Wyo., as well as half of Yellowstone National Park and the valley east of the park. With five Scenic Byways that travel in and around the park, many visitors combine Cody and Yellowstone National Park into a days-long, epic road trip.
Following are ideas for making the most out of a 2022 Cody Yellowstone trip.
Gather and Review Resources
For starters, download or request a free copy of the 2022 Cody Yellowstone Vacation Guide for at-a-glance information and use online resources to find out about lodging and camping in Cody and Yellowstone National Park, attractions, maps, park road conditions, entrance fees, parking and Cody and Yellowstone dining options.
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.
Book lodging soon, but review cancellation policies. 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 popular Canyon Lodge are also accepting reservations now. Although most hotels allow full refunds for cancellations made within a certain time period, some dude ranches have different policies.
Reserve campgrounds too. RVers and campers 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.
Visit Cody First
There are plenty of ways to plan a Cody and Yellowstone itinerary, but if at all possible, travel to Cody first.
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.
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.
The town of Cody is small and easy to navigate. Most of the destination’s major attractions listed below are located on Sheridan Ave., the town’s main street. Some attractions are out of town, and estimated drive times to and from downtown Cody are noted. Here are the most-visited attractions and the minimum recommended amount of time visitors should plan for each one.
Buffalo Bill Center of the West – Three hours.
Heart Mountain WWII Interpretive Center – One hour plus 20 minutes driving each way.
Cody Nite Rodeo – One evening.
Old Trail Town & Museum of the Old West – One hour.
Cody Trolley Tour – One-hour tour.
Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue – One evening.
Cody Firearms Experience – One hour.
Buffalo Bill Dam & Visitor Center – One hour.
By Western Hands Museum & Gallery – One hour.
Meeteetse Museums – One hour plus 30 minutes driving each way.
Yellowstone National Park Basics
At 2.2 million acres, Yellowstone National Park 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.
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 road, there are pullouts that must be used by vehicles stopping to observe wildlife.
The park is home to an array of wildlife including predators like wolves and bears as well as elk, pronghorn, fox, coyote, eagles and other raptors and many other species. The National Park Service asks visitors to stay at least 100 yards from bears and wolves and 25 yards from all other wildlife.
Home of the Great American Adventure, Cody Yellowstone is comprised of the northwestern Wyoming towns of Cody, Powell and Meeteetse as well as areas inside of Yellowstone National Park and the valley east of the entrance. The region is known for rodeos, authentic guest and dude ranches, world-class museums and recreational adventures that reflect the adventurous spirit of the visionaries and explorers who brought the remote region to the world’s attention.
Mesereau Travel Public Relations