Monday, June 16, 2008

From Cody, WY to Yellowstone

The drive from Cody to Yellowstone National Park (YNP) is a beautiful one. The first stop for anyone should be the Buffalo Bill Dam and Reservoir. The dam was one of the first water projects by the US Reclamation Service in the early 1900's. The dam was completed in 1910 after 8 grueling years of labor and 3 different contractors. Most of the work was done in the winter months due to spring and summer flooding as the snow melts off the Absaroka Mountains and flows down the Shoshone River. At the time of its completion, it was the tallest dam in the world (325 feet) and was named for Buffalo Bill Cody due to his efforts to provide water for irrigation to the area. The dam and reservoir provide power, irrigation, recreation to the Bighorn Basin. The Visitor Center ( has several interesting movies to view, a gift shop, viewing area of the dam and reservoir, excellent parking with golf cart transportation from the parking lot to the center, and rest rooms.

As you drive by the reservoir, you have mountains on either side with the Shoshone River running through it. It is an area filled with natural beauty in the red stone cliffs and tall trees. There are state parks, campgrounds and lodges available for you to stay in as well as plenty of pull off areas to take a moment to view the beauty around you.

It is only about 80 miles from Cody to the entrance to YNP ( and after you enter, you climb. The entry point is around 6500 feet and to reach our destination--Fishing Bridge, you have to go through Sylvan Pass which is over 9000 feet. The road is excellent and filled on this trip with rushing streams full of snow melt. There was the most snow still on the ground of all of our trips to YNP--6 to date. Even a couple of small lakes were still frozen over as we made our descent to Lake Yellowstone.

The campground at Fishing Bridge is conveniently located to drive all of the park. It is the only full hook up camping facility in the park and is often booked way ahead so if you are going, make reservations. There is a visitor center, a large store and plenty of trails in the area. Nearby is a marina and the Lake Hotel for lovely meals if you don't want to cook.

Our touring was interspersed with fishing by Rick and his Dad. Here are a couple of photos showing proof of our success! All fishing for cutthroat trout is catch and release using barbless hooks, making it a real challenge to catch the only native trout in Yellowstone.

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