Our love for the American West–and particularly places like Cody, Wyoming–runs deep all year long. That’s why we’ve rounded up seven of the best ways to experience a Cody’s wide-open spaces this winter. Located just east of Yellowstone National Park and founded by William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, it’s no wonder this western town is a treasure-trove of outdoor activity, making ‘natural distance’ easy. We think you’ll find there’s something fun for the whole family, no matter what the forecast says!
This story was created in partnership with Cody Yellowstone.
1. CATCH A LIFT AT SLEEPING GIANT SKI AREA
This season brings great news for gravity enthusiasts; as of 2020 Sleeping Giant Ski Area has been purchased by a private investor whose plan is to make sure the legacy of one of the nation’s oldest ski areas lives on. Nestled into the Absaroka Mountain Range, Sleeping Giant boasts 184 acres of terrain and 49 runs for skiers of all abilities. The best part, though, is that day passes are among the most affordable in America. With an average snowfall of 150 inches, this historic ski area guarantees a good time.
Bonus: While you’re driving to the lifts on Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway, you are sure to see some of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s winter wildlife such as elk and bison. Keep the kids busy by having them look for fox—their red fur and bushy tails are easy to spot against the white snow.
2. TRY YOUR SKILLS ON SKINNY SKIS
Nordic skiing, or cross-country skiing, is a favorite pastime for those who enjoy a slower paced winter holiday. Cody offers several groomed trail systems to glide around on during the winter months: Sleeping Giant Ski Area, Pahaska Teepee Resort, and Wood River Valley Touring Park near Meeteetse. Each have their own advantages, so the true Nordic lover might want to sample them all! After you’ve clocked a few miles come inside to warm up. Sleeping Giant’s T-Bar, dubbed Wyoming’s smallest bar, serves beer and wine, and Betty’s Grill will take care of hungry bellies. Go ahead, you’ve earned it.
3. ICE SKATE, INDOORS OR OUT
Perhaps the most nostalgic of winter sports, ice skating takes us back to our youth. Whether you’re visiting with kids in tow or want to relive your younger years, there are several ways to get on the ice this winter in Cody! Visit Homesteader Park in Powell, a short drive from Cody, for open-air skating. The rink is lit at night and there’s a warming hut so you can stay out late and enjoy the stars! Wind picking up? Visit the Victor J Riley Arena, near downtown, to skate indoors. Rentals are available at both locations on weekends.
4. TAKE A SNOWMOBILE TOUR TO OLD FAITHFUL
Ready to enjoy the thrill of winter, without having to do it under your own power? Cody is the perfect place for a snowmobile adventure! Sleds are permitted within designated areas of Shoshone National Forest for those with their own equipment, and rentals are available in Cody. Or, coordinate a trip with Gary Fales Outfitting and you’ll be zooming around Yellowstone National Park in no time. Your guide will take you to Old Faithful, Yellowstone Falls, and beyond for a truly unique great American adventure.
5. CAST A LINE IN CODY’S BLUE-RIBBON TROUT WATERS
We’re not talking ice fishing, either. Dedicated anglers who are willing to brave low temperatures will reap the rewards in the winter months! Cody is home to some of the best blue-ribbon trout stream fishing in North America. Several professional fishing outfitters in town can help you catch (and release) the trout of your dreams. Know your way around a fly rod? Stop by to get the tips from Cody’s friendly guides before heading out. Don’t forget to dress wisely.
6. HIKE OR SNOWSHOE THE LOCAL TRAILS
If you only have a morning to spare or prefer to keep things simple, head out for a hike on Cody’s local trails. Of course, depending on snow conditions you might want to bring a pair of snowshoes along. You will find a variety of multi-use trails surrounding town on Cody Pathways. Not only are these trails a great way to generate some winter warmth, but you are very likely to encounter some of Cody’s wildlife during a quiet stroll. Just give them their distance to keep everyone content and safe in the sun and snow. Keep in mind that you can also snowshoe at all of the cross-country ski areas listed above!
7. SCALE CODY’S FAMOUS FROZEN WATERFALLS
Ice climbers have long sought Cody’s frozen waterfalls for wintertime sport, and it’s easy to see why. With a typical season creating over 150 pitches, the South Fork Valley of the Shoshone River is home to the highest concentration of natural waterfall ice in the lower 48. A number of guiding services in the region are available, so even novice climbers can experience the challenge of ice climbing. To take advantage of this world-class ice, be sure to visit during February and March when conditions can set up just right.We love winter in Cody, Wyoming, and the secret isn’t really out yet, so enjoy it without the crowds soon!