Yellowstone Marks Big Anniversary: Here are 150 Ways to Experience This Classic American Vacation Destination
CODY, Wyo., February 23, 2022 – On March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant changed the world. On that day, Grant signed the eloquently written “Yellowstone National Park Protection Act,” which stated that a huge corner of Wyoming and narrow slivers of Idaho and Montana would be “hereby reserved and withdrawn from settlement, occupancy or sale…and dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”
“What an audacious idea it was,” said Ryan Hauck executive director of Cody Yellowstone. “The very thought of setting aside 2.2 million acres of natural resource-rich land must have seemed outrageous. But a few visionaries convinced Congress and President Grant that it was the right thing to do. And the entire world is fortunate they did.”
Cody Yellowstone is the marketing arm for Park County, Wyoming, which includes the Yellowstone gateway communities of Cody, Meeteetse and Powell, the Shoshone National Forest to the east and a large swath of Yellowstone National Park.
“Yellowstone was preserved to be a ‘pleasuring ground’ for everyone, and 150 years later, it still is,” said Hauck. “I’d call that a huge success and a testament to the scores of people who have dedicated their lives to ensuring that we continue to respect and promote the vision of the park’s founders.”
Both inside and outside Yellowstone, there are endless cultural, nature-based, historic, classic, adventurous, relaxing and just plain fun ways to see and experience this classic American vacation destination this year and beyond. In honor of Yellowstone’s big anniversary, here are 150 of them.
- Be awed like painter Thomas Moran by the beauty of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.
- Let someone else do the driving and take a guided tour of Yellowstone National Park.
- Participate in a Yellowstone National Park ranger program.
- Watch an eruption of Old Faithful Geyser, but avoid the crowds by visiting early in morning or in the evening.
- Ditch your city slicker persona and spend a week, fishing, hiking and horseback riding at dude ranch.
- Experience an old-fashioned Stagecoach Adventure at Roosevelt Lodge.
- Walk to Artist Point and see the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River.
- Drive the Beartooth Highway, “the most beautiful drive in America.”
- Savor an old-fashioned chuckwagon dinner at Roosevelt Lodge in Yellowstone National Park.
- Drive Yellowstone’s historic “Grand Loop, a 140-mile stretch or road that connects most of the park’s famous sites.
- Watch the Cody Nite Rodeo and learn why Cody is the Rodeo Capital of the World.
- Watch the wacky Wild Bunch perform a “gunfight” with a gun safety message.
- Visit Mud Volcano and learn where the distinctive sulfur aroma comes from.
- Enjoy a chuckwagon dinner and live music show in Cody.
- Sing along with cowboy singer Dan Miller.
- Dine and shop at Canyon Lodge’s 50s-style Canyon Lodge Eatery.
- Download the TravelStorys app and take a guided walking tour of downtown Cody and learn about its historic buildings and the town’s history.
- Donate to the park to make sure it will be around in another 150 years.
Cultural sites and enriching activities
- Learn about “parkitecture” during a free walking tour of Old Faithful Inn.
- See the 110-year-old Lake Fish Hatchery Historic District, which stocks the park’s lakes and rivers with trout and represents the struggle between the park’s early wildlife conservation efforts and commercial ventures.
- Learn about early park management at the Albright Visitor Center at Mammoth Hot Springs.
- See the Lamar Buffalo Ranch, where the park’s near-extinct bison were repopulated and released back into the wild.
- See the works of the region’s top photographers at Open Range Images in downtown Cody.
- View an authentic Nez Perce Tipi at the Plains Indian Museum.
- View photographer Charles Beldon’s stunning images capturing life on the historic Pitchfork Ranch at Meeteetse Museums.
- Appreciate the brilliance of sustainable architecture at the Canyon Lodge & Cabins.
- See The Scout and learn about sculptress Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney at the Whitney Western Art Museum.
- See a Remington Rifle at the Cody Firearms Museum.
- View amazing life-sized wildlife sculptures at Mountain Valley Artistry in downtown Cody.
- Become a Junior Ranger (if you are a kid or kid at heart).
- Learn about the lives and responsibilities of rangers at the Museum of the National Park Ranger.
- Learn about the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem at the Draper Natural History Museum.
- Discover the motivations and machinations of Buffalo Bill Cody as he founded and developed the town that bears his name during an hour-long Cody Trolley Tour.
- Become a Yellowstone follower and stay informed at #Yellowstone150.
- Download the Yellowstone National Park app for maps, information and tips for a visit to the park.
- Watch a saddle-maker create a functional work of art at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
- Learn about the Westward movement through scenes depicted in the Historic Cody Mural and Museum.
- Visit Meeteetse Museums and learn how a dog named Shep and his astute rancher/human discovered a black-footed ferret when the species was thought to be extinct.
- Understand how to soften your footprint during a visit to Cody Yellowstone.
- Learn about the last eruption of the Yellowstone volcano 631,000 years ago.
- See historic bird specimens and learn about the birds of Yellowstone at the Fishing Bridge Visitor Center.
- Learn about Thomas Molesworth’s contributions to Western design and functional art at By Western Hands.
- Learn about agriculture in the region during a Powell Agricultural Tour.
- Learn how fire is good for a forest at the Grant Visitor Center.
- Learn about the park’s volcanic underbelly at the Canyon Visitor Education Center.
- Become a Yellowstone National Park Young Scientist.
- Complete a Greater Yellowstone scavenger hunt at the Draper Natural History Museum.
- See a giant model of the Upper Geyser Basin plumbing system at the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center.
- Calculate an Old Faithful Geyser eruption.
- Pick up an Adventure Passport and collect stamps along the Expedition Trail in the Draper Natural History Museum.
- Learn a new hobby during an art class at By Western Hands Museum and Gallery.
Historic sites and history-focused adventures
- Stroll through Buffalo Bill’s hunting lodge and see artifacts of his life at Pahaska Tepee.
- Take a guided tour of the Kirwin ghost town.
- See the historic Roosevelt Arch.
- See where the Washburn Expedition came up with the idea of a national park at the Madison Information Station
- Tour Buffalo Bill Dam and Visitor Center, completed in 1910 and once the tallest dam in the world.
- Travel the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway and trace the route of the Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce Indians as they fled from the US Army in 1877.
- Learn how Buffalo Bill Cody became the most famous man in the world at the Buffalo Bill Museum in the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
- Learn about the history of Cody at the free Cody Heritage Museum.
- Thank them for their service at the State of Wyoming Veterans Memorial Park.
- Visit Meeteetse Museums and see the bank that Butch Cassidy refused to rob.
- Hike to historic backcountry cabins located throughout the park.
- See the gravesite of mountain man Jeremiah Johnston at Old Trail Town.
- See the Army fort at Mammoth Hot Springs where soldiers were stationed before the establishment of the National Park Service.
- Go antiquing in Meeteetse.
- See Butch Cassidy’s Hole-in-the-Wall cabin at Old Trail Town.
- Learn about the guns that won the West at the Cody Firearms Experience.
- See a famous example of “parkitecture” at the Fishing Bridge Visitor Center and Trail Museum.
- Tour Heart Mountain WWII Interpretive Center, a WWII Japanese-American Confinement Site.
- Stroll through history while viewing hundreds of relic guns and other weapons at Cody Dug Up Gun Museum.
- Take a tour of the historic Double Dee Ranch.
- See the cabins and artifacts of Wyoming homesteaders at the Homesteader Museum.
- Learn about a famous Wild West love triangle at Old Trail Town.
- See the hide coat worn by Buffalo Bill Cody, America’s original reality star, at the Buffalo Bill Museum.
- Learn about the park at the Norris Geyser Basin Park, which was originally a “trailside museum,” with interpretive exhibits for early automobile visitors.
- Fire an 1873 Winchester rifle at Cody Firearms Experience.
- Become familiar with wildlife watching guidelines before any wildlife excursion.
- Take a guided early-morning wildlife-watching tour in Lamar Valley
- See young bear cubs, elk calves and wolf pups during a springtime visit.
- Watch cutthroat trout swim upstream through LeHardy Rapids.
- Look for moose and other wildlife in Hayden Valley.
- Look for elk in Wapiti Valley, named after the Native America word for elk.
- Look for mountain goats on the peaks near the park’s Northeast Gate.
- Watch the antics of river otters along the Gibbon or Lamar River.
- Set up your spotting scope and watch for osprey, eagles and other raptors.
- Experience an Evening Wildlife Encounter.
- See the elk rut in the fall at Mammoth Hot Springs.
- See the famous McCullough Peaks Wild Horse Herd, home to wild mustangs descended from horses in Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show.
- Raft the Shoshone River.
- Be among the first to park and camp at the newly renovated Fishing Bridge RV Park, reopening in spring 2022.
- Cast for cutthroat trout in a river or stream.
- Be a self-contained traveler and camp in backcountry or at a campground in the Shoshone National Forest or Yellowstone National Park.
- Cross country ski 19.2 kilometers of groomed trails of the North Fork Nordic Trails system.
- Take a guided walk and wade fishing trip.
- Test your Nordic ski skills on the thrilling Brown Creek Trail in the Wood River Valley Ski Touring Park.
- Experience a day-long pack trip with stops for fishing and photography.
- Fly above the tree line at the Sleeping Giant Zipline.
- Have an ATV adventure in the Shoshone National Forest.
- Enjoy water adventures at the Buffalo Bill State Park.
- Take a guided pack trip and experience backcountry fishing and camping.
- Camp at one of the 12 campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park.
- Go skiing at Sleeping Giant Ski Area.
- Take a guided float fishing trip.
- Go snowmobiling into Yellowstone National Park.
- Cycle the trails around the town of Cody.
- Bike the Outlaw Trails in the Shoshone National Forest.
- Take a scenic boat tour in the Bighorn National Recreation Area.
- Soar above the town of Cody in a powered hang glider.
- Backpack to the Thorofare, the most remote location in the Lower 48 states.
- Rent a paddle board and paddle the Buffalo Bill Reservoir.
- Skateboard in Cody’ Mentock Park.
- Book outdoor adventures with your personal recreation concierge through Sunlight Sports Outdoor Concierge.
- Challenge yourself with a hike to Avalanche Peak and be rewarded with a summit view from more than 10,000 feet above sea level.
- Take a backcountry horseback ride in the Shoshone National Forest.
- Rent a kayak and paddle Yellowstone Lake.
- Go golfing at the Olive Glen Golf and Country Club.
- Cross country ski to Lonestar Geyser.
- Go snowmobiling in the Beartooth Mountains and Sunlight Basin.
- Be enchanted by a hike to Fairy Falls.
- Climb a frozen waterfall along the Southfork of the Shoshone River with an experienced ice-climbing guide.
- Explore the rugged Shoshone National Forest by Jeep.
- Burn some serious calories cross country skiing on the Roller Coaster Trail near the Canyon Rim Visitor Center
- Cross country ski to Lonestar Geyser and watch a backcountry geyser erupt (if your timing is right)
- Pack for a serious day in the backcountry and hike the Howard Eaton Trail
- Pedal the extensive trail system in Beck Lake State Park.
- Hike the Grand Prismatic Overlook Trail for spectacular views of Grand Prismatic Spring and the Midway Geyster Basin.
- Walk the Upper Geyser Basin boardwalk.
- Photograph the starry night skies.
- Hike the Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces.
Relaxing, fun and funky
- Settle in at an RV park and experience a campfire and Cody Yellowstone’s starry dark skies.
- Share your fantastic vacation photos on the Cody Yellowstone Instagram page.
- Rent a street-legal UTV and explore Greater Yellowstone in style.
- Attend the Cody Stampede Rodeo for an unforgettable July 4 getaway.
- Send a friend an audio postcard with the sounds of howling wolves.
- View the live webcams around Yellowstone National Park as you plan your classic national park vacation.
- Attend the Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale and add a piece of Western fine art to your home.
- Learn the proper way to throw an axe at the Cody Firearms Experience.
- Savor a handmade truffle at the Meeteetse Chocolatier.
- Sip a drink at the famous Irma Hotel bar.
- Shop for treasures made by local artisans.
- Find the mistakes in the 1937 map in the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel Map Room.
- Wander the artists galleries along Cody’s Sheridan Avenue.
- Have a local brew in a downtown Cody brewery.
- Enjoy an ice cream cone on the deck of Roosevelt Lodge.
- Putt-putt with the kids at Cody Miniature Golf.
- Find “Snoopy the Dog” or “Laughing Pig Rock,” strange rock formations that can be viewed on the road to Yellowstone.
- Listen to music at a free concert in the park.
- Meditate in a Japanese-Inspired Victory Garden at Heart Mountain WWII Interpretive Center.
- Savor an old-fashioned picnic in a park picnic area.
- Go sport shooting at the Cody Shooting Complex.
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