15 Best Things to Do in Cody, Wyoming

Buffalo Bill State Park, Cody, Wyoming, USA.
Danielrao / Getty Images

Cody, Wyoming offers a long list of exciting things to do, with world-class museums and year-round recreation to keep every traveler busy for a few days. It's worth making the trip out just to experience the Buffalo Bill Center of the West—while you're there, you'll also be able to visit a living history town with frontier buildings, head out to the range to see wild mustangs, raft the Shoshone River, and treat yourself to plenty of steak dinners and dancing. Located just an hour from Yellowstone National Park, Cody will give you an excellent idea of what the Wild West, old and new, is all about.

01 of 15

Learn About Local History at the Plains Indian Museum

Plains Indian Museum in Cody Wyoming

Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Part of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West museum complex, the Plains Indian Museum focuses on the stories of the American Indian people who have called the Plains home for generations, offering a closer look at their vast history, culture, values, and traditions, as well as present-day life.

It's considered to be more of a living history museum, with objects on display as well as Indigenous historians onsite. Don't miss the Plains Indian Map Project, which covers 230 years of history and movement by over 45 different Plains Indian cultures from pre-colonial times through various treaties and moves to reservations as the U.S. continued to expand its boundaries.

720 Sheridan Ave, Cody, WY 82414, USA
Phone +1 307-587-4771
02 of 15

Drive Along the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway

Chief Joseph Scenic Byway in Cody, Wyoming

SergeYatunin / Getty Images

Cody, WY 82414, USA

If you're up for a mini-road trip, go for a drive along the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway—also called Wyoming 296—from Cody to the Beartooth Highway and if you're feeling adventurous, to the Northeast Gate of Yellowstone National Park (more on this spectacular day trip later). Along the way, you'll pass through Shoshone National Forest, the Clarks Fork Valley, and the scenic Absaroka Mountains along 46 miles of sheer natural beauty. Named in honor of Chief Joseph, who valiantly attempted to lead his Nez Perce people to freedom in Canada in 1877, it's considered to be one of the most beautiful drives in the country.

03 of 15

Go Skiing at the Beartooth Basin Summer Ski Area

Beartooth Basin Summer Ski Area

Beartooth Basin Summer Ski Area

Located about 90 minutes from downtown Cody, the Beartooth Basin Summer Ski Area opens in late-May each year, offering prime mountain skiing and snowboarding conditions until mid-July, depending on weather conditions. Spend some time in the snow among 600 scenic acres featuring ski pitches that vary between 15 and 50 degrees, a 10,900-foot summit, 1,000 vertical feet of terrain reachable by ski lift, and 3,000 feet of backcountry skiing accessible by shuttle or hiking in on foot.

US-212, Cody, WY 82414, USA
Phone +1 406-425-2292
04 of 15

Visit the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center

Heart Mountain Interpretive Center

Heart Mountain Interpretive Center

Located just a 15-minute drive from downtown Cody in in Powell, Wyoming, is the former site of the Heart Mountain War Relocation Center, an internment camp that imprisoned more than 14,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. The National Historic Landmark now houses a world-class Interpretative Center, where you can learn about those who were confined here through interactive exhibits, photographs, artifacts, and oral histories. Visit the original Heart Mountain barrack and hospital grounds, where 556 babies were delivered, or take to one of the site's walking trails to see other surviving remnants of the camp.

1539 Rd 19, Powell, WY 82435, USA
Phone +1 307-754-8000
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05 of 15

Spend a Day at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Wyoming Scenics
Robert Alexander / Getty Images
720 Sheridan Ave, Cody, WY 82414, USA
Phone +1 307-587-4771

The Buffalo Bill Center of the West, formerly the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, is a world-class attraction that should be on every American's travel bucket list. It's actually comprised of five different museums—the Cody Firearms Museum, the Whitney Gallery of Western Art, the Plains Indian Museum, the Draper Museum of Natural History, and the Buffalo Bill Museum.

Plan to spend the whole day there, or better yet, spread your visit over two days and mix in some time at Cody's other attractions. In addition to the fascinating exhibits on the inside, there's a wonderful collection of outdoor sculptures featuring Native American figures and wildlife. Visit the gift shop and bookstore if you’re an enthusiast of Western art and history. The center also has an espresso stand and snack bar to fortify you during your long visit.  

06 of 15

Experience the Only Night Rodeo in the World

Rodeo in Cody

Jim Hughes Photography, Inc. / Getty Images

519 W Yellowstone Ave, Cody, WY 82414, USA
Phone +1 307-587-5155

The "Rodeo Capital of the World," Cody hosts two annually: The Cody Night Rodeo, held nightly from June 1 to August 31, and the Cody Stampede, which takes place July 1–4.

At the Cody Night Rodeo, the only strictly nighttime rodeo in the world, you'll see competitive events like bronco riding, calf roping, barrel racing, and bull riding, while between events, the master of ceremonies and rodeo clowns keep guests entertained and laughing. If you have kids, bring the family early so they can get their faces painted by a rodeo clown, learn to rope, and have their picture taken aboard Mongo, a tame rodeo bull. For Western clothing and souvenirs, stop by the Night Rodeo Store.

07 of 15

Listen to Country Classics at Dan Miller's Cowboy Music Revue

Dan Miller's Cowboy Music Revuein Cody, Wyoming

Dan Miller's Cowboy Music Revue

720 Sheridan Ave, Cody, WY 82414, USA
Phone +1 307-587-4771

Held at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Dan Miller's Cowboy Music Revue is just plain fun. You may recognize Dan, as he has hosted a few TV shows such as "PBR Bull Riding," "American Magazine," and "Due West." Dan and his band develop a wonderful rapport with the audience, inviting everyone to sing along to cowboy classics like "Home on the Range" and "Cool Water." Combine this great Western music with cowboy poetry, comedy, and a hilarious Elvis impersonation, and you know you'll leave with a big smile on your face.

08 of 15

Take a Wild Mustang Tour

Two mares
Betty Wiley / Getty Images
1119 12th St, Cody, WY 82414, USA
Phone +1 307-587-6988

Red Canyon Wild Mustang Tours take guests via van or bus about 22 miles out of Cody onto federal lands and the McCullough Peaks Wild Horse Range. You'll be provided with binoculars and spotting scopes so you can view the herds of wild horses and spectacular scenery up close. While you're out on the range for this three-hour safari, you might catch a glimpse of other area wildlife, such as pronghorn antelopes, golden eagles, coyotes, and black-tailed prairie dogs. Red Canyon Wild Mustang Tours also offers customized photography tours, which last about four hours.

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09 of 15

Go River Rafting and Kayaking

Shoshone river and foothills of Rocky Mountains near Cody, Wyoming, USA.
Danielrao / Getty Images
1390 Sheridan Ave, Cody, WY 82414-3733, USA
Phone +1 307-587-4659

The Shoshone and North Fork Rivers are suitable for both rafting and kayaking, and you'll find trips ranging from one- to two-hour floats to half-day adventures. Rent kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, and other water activity gear from Gradient Mountain Sports or sign up for one of their guided trips or lessons. River Runners offers family whitewater adventure packages, while Wyoming River Trips has rafting adventures through either the North Fork, Red Rock Canyon, or full canyon (both Red Rock and lower canyons) of the Shoshone River.

10 of 15

Take Up an Outdoor Activity

Hiker overlooking Cody Bowl, Cody Peak behind.

Glenn van der Knijff / Getty Images

Cody offers great terrain and facilities for year-round recreational activities like golf, mountain biking, fly fishing, hiking, and trail riding. In the summer, the scenic Olive Glenn Golf Club's 18-hole, par 72 championship golf course is open to the public and definitely worth a visit. Serious hikers can find trails in Shoshone National Forest as well as nearby Buffalo Bill State Park, while cycling enthusiasts can take off for a little mountain biking around Beck Lake and the Slickrock Trail. Ice climbing, Nordic skiing, and snowmobiling are also popular winter activities in and around Cody.

802 Meadow Ln Ave, Cody, WY 82414-4516, USA
Phone +1 307-587-5551
11 of 15

Hop on a Trolley Tour

Cody Trolley Tours

Cody Trolley Tours

1192 Sheridan Ave, Cody, WY 82414-3628, USA
Phone +1 307-527-7043

If you want a quick, fun overview of Cody, take a guided tour of the town with Cody Trolley Tours. Throughout the 60-minute experience, you'll see key attractions including the downtown historic district, rodeo grounds, and the Shoshone River Canyon, and learn more about the town and its founder, William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody. Led by two entertaining guides, you'll leave knowing quite a bit of the area's history.

12 of 15

Learn About the Wild West at Old Trail Town

Old Western Town
Debraansky / Getty Images
1831 Demaris Dr, Cody, WY 82414, USA
Phone +1 307-587-5302

If you're interested in the history of the Old West, stop by Old Trail Town, a popular family attraction where you'll find a collection of 26 historic frontier buildings from all over Wyoming and Montana. Dating from 1879 to 1901, each one was transported to and reassembled in Cody under the direction of Western historian Bob Edgar. You'll see structures such as the original cabins used by Wild West outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as well as a Wyoming saloon frequented by Cassidy's "Hole-in-the-Wall Gang." In addition to the exhibits and photographs inside the buildings, there are also 100 horse-drawn vehicles and a small cemetery that includes the gravesite of Jeremiah Johnson.

Continue to 13 of 15 below.
13 of 15

Visit the Buffalo Bill Dam & Visitor Center

Buffalo Bill Dam

rozdemir01 / Getty Images

4808 N Fork Hwy, Cody, WY 82414, USA
Phone +1 307-527-6076

Completed in 1910, the 325-foot-high Buffalo Bill Dam was, at the time, the highest dam in the world as well as one of the first concrete arch dams built in the U.S. Today, you can walk across the dam and enjoy spectacular views in all directions, with the Shoshone River to the east and the Buffalo Bill Reservoir to the west. Stop by the visitor center, where you can learn about the construction of the dam, look at exhibits about farming and area wildlife, and visit the gift shop. 

14 of 15

Day Trip to Nearby Yellowstone National Park

Reflection at Yellowstone's Gull on Yellowstone Lake
John Morrison / Getty Images

Cody is a popular gateway to Yellowstone National Park, as it's only about 55 miles from its East Entrance and 78 miles from its Northeast Entrance. Set out early to explore more than 900 miles of hiking trails, including the 6.8-mile North Rim Trail, which boasts impressive views of the park's own Grand Canyon.

Stop by Yellowstone Lake, North America's largest high elevation lake at 7,733 feet above sea level, or go further afield and pay a visit to Old Faithful, arguably the world's most famous geyser, or Norris Geyser Basin, the world's largest. For a scenic drive, take the 27.5-mile Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway (US 14-16-20), which President Teddy Roosevelt once called the "50 most beautiful miles in America," to the East Entrance.

United States
Phone +1 307-344-7381
15 of 15

Shop for Western Art and Gear

Seidel's Saddlery for western riding supplies and gifts in Cody.

Stephen Saks / Getty Images

While Cody has its fair share of touristy gift shops, there are quality stores and galleries around town as well. Anyone into outdoor recreation will appreciate the chance to stop by the Sierra Trading Post Outlet Store, while Western art lovers will enjoy Cody's art galleries, including Big Horn Galleries and Simpson Gallagher Gallery.

For authentic Western gear, mosey on over to Seidel's Saddlery, where you can pick up a hand-tooled Western belt or piece of turquoise jewelry. The saddle shop upstairs is where Keith Seidel has been a full-time saddle maker and leather craftsman for more than 30 years. Those with a sweet tooth should head to the Cowtown Candy Company and sample the fudge, handmade truffles, and Wyoming logo chocolate bars. 

Upstairs, 1200 Sheridan Ave, Cody, WY 82414-3630, USA
Phone +1 307-587-1200
Article Sources
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  1. Yellowstone Forever. "Yellowstone Hiking 101." May 31, 2019.

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15 Best Things to Do in Cody, Wyoming