As we all start planning our summer road trips, we can’t help but consider the price of gas in determining where, how far and how long? Luckily, Colorado is not too far from so many incredible destinations. This year is Yellowstone National Park’s 150th anniversary! It’s a great year to visit and these tips will help ease a little pain at the pump.
Northwestern Wyoming’s Cody Yellowstone has been a classic road-trippers’ destination ever since the post-World War II optimism led families to enthusiastically set out to “see the USA in their Chevrolets.”
With this year’s 150th anniversary of Yellowstone National Park, the world’s first national park and surrounding area are expecting to welcome a record-setting number of travelers this summer. High gas prices are unlikely to change that.
“While high gas prices may be the reality for vacationing road-trippers this year, there are several ways travelers can offset the impact,” said Ryan Hauck, executive director of Cody Yellowstone, the marketing arm for Park County, Wyoming. “From choosing more human-powered adventures to finding free and moderately priced things to do throughout the destination, with a little planning our visitors should still be able to stay close to their original vacation budgets and make memories that will last a lifetime.”
Occupying nearly 7,000 square miles of mostly pristine wilderness, Cody Yellowstone includes the Shoshone National Forest to the east of Yellowstone and about half of the park itself. The destination includes five Scenic Byways, abundant outdoor recreational choices, museums, historic sites and classic attractions such as the Cody Nite Rodeo.
“The best advice I can offer for anyone thinking about a trip here this summer is to make your plans now,” said Hauck. “While there are still plenty of lodging options, hotels in Cody and Yellowstone are already booking rooms for the summer, so for the best choices travelers should book accommodations as soon as possible.”
Here are some ideas for minimizing the pain at the pump while exploring Cody Yellowstone:
Try slow travel and human-powered adventures. Cody Yellowstone features thousands of acres of pristine wilderness and a vast trail system just outside park boundaries. Hikers can see many of the same kinds of natural wonders – rock formations, free-roaming wildlife, valleys, forests and rivers – that can be seen inside the park boundaries. There are also numerous bridle trails, and many ranches that dot the Wapiti Valley between downtown Cody and the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park offer horseback trail rides. Other human-powered adventures include rock climbing, camping, rafting, kayaking and cycling.
Walk the town. Cody is a highly walkable town, and it is easy to walk from one end of the town to the other without breaking a sweat. Cody’s main street, Sheridan Avenue, features numerous restaurants, galleries, shops, hotels and museums and historic buildings. Walking enthusiasts can download a free TravelStorys downtown Cody walking tour that tells the story of the town.
Let someone else do the driving. Cody Yellowstone is home to several tour companies that offer day-long and multi-day guided park adventures. Experienced and knowledgeable driver guides navigate Cody Yellowstone’s Scenic Byways and the roads inside the park while sharing with their passengers tales about the human history, geothermal features and wildlife of the region.
Find free and moderately priced things to do. The destination offers several museums with free admission, including By Western Hands Museum & Gallery, Meeteetse Museums, Pahaska Tepee, Cody Heritage Museum, Dug Up Gun Museum, Historic Cody Mural & Museum, Homesteader Museum and the Buffalo Bill Dam Visitor Center. Other free experiences include browsing the art at the Cody Country Art League and the many downtown Cody galleries. There are moderately priced attractions as well, including the acclaimed Buffalo Bill Center of the West, with five museums under one roof, Old Trail Town & Museum of the West and Heart Mountain WWII Interpretive Center.
Plan a hub and spoke itinerary. With a huge selection of hotels and campgrounds and restaurants in Cody, another good way to simplify a Cody Yellowstone trip is to select accommodations, check in and settle in, drive to the day’s adventures (if outside the town) and then return to the same place at night.
Photos and information courtesy Mesereau PR