Three for the Road
Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway
Highway 14/16/20 from Yellowstone National Park to Cody, Wyoming: 52 miles
President Teddy Roosevelt called the stretch of road from Yellowstone National Park's (www.nps.gov/yell/home.htm) east entrance to Cody, Wyoming, the "most scenic 52 miles in the U.S." The land along what has since become the 27.5-mile Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway, route 14/16/20, hasn't changed much since Roosevelt uttered his tribute.
The drive parallels the North Fork of the Shoshone River and pulls you through the Shoshone National Forest (www.fs.fed.us/r2/shoshone) and the Wapiti Valley. The steep granite walls of the Shoshone Canyon reflect the sunlight, cottonwoods line the riverbanks, and the highway cuts through gorges surrounded by yellow and pink mesas, buttes, and bluffs with names like the Slipper, Laughing Pig, and Chimney Rock. Look carefully and you might see Bighorn sheep and elk clattering over the boulders, while bison graze the adjacent grasslands. This is the West of pioneer treks and movie scenes.
In Cody, learn more Western lore at Old Trail Town (http://museumoftheoldwest.org), a collection of 26 authentic, turn-of-the-century log buildings, including the Hole in the Wall Cabin where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid plotted, and Trail Town Cemetery, where pioneers and mountain men lie buried. Cody is also home to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center (www.bbhc.org), often called the "Smithsonian of the West." Besides artifacts of the famous showman and his sharp-shooting star Annie Oakley, the complex houses the Whitney Gallery of Western Art, a first-rate collection of Western paintings and sculpture; the Cody Firearms Museum, a comprehensive collection of guns; the Plains Indian Museum, an intriguing display of Native American clothing, ceremonial garments, and artifacts; as well as the Draper Museum of Natural History, with informative exhibits on the geology of the Yellowstone area.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication