Let’s start with the drive, shall we?
I knew I was in for a scenic drive after reading President Teddy Roosevelt’s claim that the route from Cody, Wyoming to Yellowstone is the “the fifty most beautiful miles in America”. What makes this drive so beautiful? For starters, the North Fork of the Shoshone River carves through the East Yellowstone Valley. Hillsides are mainly comprised of volcanic rock as this area lies within the Absaroka Volcanic Province. The interesting rock formations and hoodoos take on many different forms, so let your imagination run wild! Elephant Head, Chimney Rock, Holy City, and Goose Rock are only a handful of the named features in the area. When we passed through in early July, roadside wildflowers greeted us, bursting in a rainbow of colors. The drive is more than just what you can see though, it’s a feeling. The Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway is a relatively quiet entrance to Yellowstone National Park; the drive is incredibly peaceful.
Okay, I’m sold! Where do I stay?
We spent a night at one of the lodges along the river (there are 11 lodges to choose from). The cabin was cozy, and the lack of cell reception was refreshing. We finally felt we could just disconnect and spend time together at this wonderful outdoor destination. Although dinner was offered at our lodge, we decided to check out the other options in East Yellowstone and happened upon a BBQ rib special at Shoshone Lodge. We ordered the last of the popular rack of ribs that evening–they were sweet and sticky and fell right off the bone. With a plethora of dining options at all of the lodges, you can literally eat your way to Yellowstone National Park. Down-home cooking is on every menu, and the waitstaff makes you feel like family. Breakfast in the intimate dining room at Elephant Head Lodge is lovely with giant windows that peer into nature. Be sure to check out the namesake rock on the property!
Saddle up, zip through the air, or catch some trout
Every lodge in East Yellowstone has something unique to offer. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush at Sleeping Giant Zipline, or an easy-going horseback ride, you’ll have several options. We found many excellent fishing holes along the North Fork of the Shoshone River. There was no competition on the water, we just had to figure out the right fly. The lodges can also set you up with a fishing guide to direct you to other spectacular holes, or even coordinate pack trips to water that is seldom fished. The lodges are all close together, so you can easily jump on multiple activities within a single day. The outdoor recreation is literally at your fingertips!
Buffalo Bill Cody was here
Buffalo Bill Cody led the development of East Yellowstone, first with Pahaska Tepee. Cody loved this area of the Wapiti Valley, and built the lodge in 1904 to serve visitors to Yellowstone National Park. Today, you can visit the museum within the original lodge and learn more about the rich history there. The lodge is rustic and full of historic relics and furnishings. When I arrived to Elephant Head Lodge, the owner told me how Buffalo Bill’s niece built their lodge in 1910. Additionally, the first sheriff of Park County built Shoshone Lodge, Henry Dahlem. The historic ties of the lodges throughout the Yellowstone Valley are fascinating, and you can still feel a sense of the old west at each place.
One thing is for certain, you’re more than just a guest at any of the lodges in East Yellowstone, you’re family. All of the lodges maintain high standards of western hospitality, and the friendly folks working at the lodges are happy to help set you up on a perfect vacation in a quiet nook of Wyoming.
This story was created in partnership with the Lodges of East Yellowstone, Wyoming.
This story has been created in partnership with Lodges of East Yellowstone, Wyoming.