The jagged spires that tear at the Wyoming sky above Grand Teton National Park and the fumaroles of Yellowstone National Park certainly provide plenty of Wow! moments for the throngs of visitors that explore these famous natural attractions. But not many travelers to this section of the Cowboy State take time to explore the 52 miles of road that dip and dazzle between Yellowstone’s east entrance and the town of Cody. President Theodore Roosevelt called this stretch “the 50 most beautiful miles in America.” From Yellowstone’s east entrance, travelers head down U.S. 14/16/20 through a thick evergreen forest along the banks of Middle Creek.
Soon, Pahaska Tepee, one of Buffalo Bill Cody’s hunting lodges converted to a dude ranch, appears, and travelers can admire the burl furniture, the hunting trophies and the big fireplace in the rustic lodge. Farther down the road, the remains of ancient volcanic mudflows form cliffs and columns that act as scenic counterpoint to the North Fork Shoshone River that charges east. As the dense forest gives way to scattered junipers throughout the canyon, RVers should keep an eye out for the Wapiti Ranger Station, a 1903 building established as the headquarters of the Shoshone National Forest. The red rock that has accompanied travelers through the canyon peters away as the route drops into a valley, home to both Buffalo Bill Reservoir and Buffalo Bill State Park. To better understand the stunning landscape they’re passing through, travelers should stop at the Buffalo Bill Dam Visitor Center and the roadside exhibit that explains nearby Rattlesnake Mountain’s geology.
Since Yellowstone’s east entrance is closed in winter, drive this stretch between spring and fall and allow two-plus hours for the journey.
Pahaska Tepee: call (307) 527-7701 or visit www.pahaska.com