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Wandering WY: Buffalo Bill Dam and Visitor Center

Updated: Nov 8, 2020

The East Entrance to Yellowstone National Park is only about an hour from Cody, Wyoming. Locals will visit the park early or late in the season when tourists from all over the world are less prevalent.

Now that it’s the middle of the tourist season, as we call it, it’s a common experience to feel the road rage of small-town America when thousands of people from other places with other traffic laws converge on your city streets and highways. It often confuses the crap out of us that they wouldn’t want to drive more slowly on their way to the East Entrance because it’s so beautiful! This makes it ironic that in our own hurry we miss this amazing stop along the way, the Buffalo Bill Dam and Visitor Center.

This region around Cody outside the Shoshone National Forest is open and arid. When Buffalo Bill founded the town it was mainly an agricultural community with hopes of becoming a major tourist destination. For that to happen they would need a lot of water! Buffalo Bill personally owned a ranch that is now buried beneath the reservoir along with the town of Marquette. Buffalo Bill along with his business partner Ned Buntline advocated for the Buffalo Bill Dam project which finally had enough funding to move forward with help from the Reclamation Act of 1902.

The Dam itself is an engineering marvel of its time but I’ll let you learn all about that when you visit!

When you arrive there is great parking looking out over the reservoir and a free shuttle can carry up to 5 people at a time to the visitor center and dam overlook.

Behind the dam in the reservoir this year there were still plenty of logs and driftwood from spring off. Once the runoff ends the driftwood is lifted from the reservoir.

As you look over the dam depending on the light you can see a rainbow coming from the mist! My Mom was even able to catch a double rainbow when we were there!

The Visitor Center is full of great information about the dam itself and various facts about the surrounding region. If you’re looking for other stops off the beaten track in the Cody area this is a great place to start!

Our visit from start to finish took about an hour. I could’ve stayed longer but my traveling companions had a long way to drive yet and wanted to get on the road.

Thank you, fellow adventurers! You can follow the lilmissbearpaw blog page on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @lilmissbearpaw for sneak peeks into upcoming posts and my adventures. This will also be a great place to share your own adventures!

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