Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cody Trolley and Buffalo Bill Dam

Cody, WY

Monday was a nice weather day so we decided to take the Cody Trolley Tour to get an overview of Cody and the surrounding area. We purchased a combo ticket which included the Trolley Tour and a 2-day pass to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center (museum complex).  After speaking with other folks, we'll save the museum tours for some other days, as the collection is quite extensive.

William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody was quite a character in his day. He was known for being an Army scout, Pony Express rider, ranch hand, wagon train driver, buffalo hunter, fur trapper and gold prospector, but possibly best known as a showman with his "Wild West Shows".  It was said that Cody was the most recognized man in the world at the turn of the twentieth century.

Cody's vision brought Cody, WY into existence.  In the early days of the town very little existed in this part of the Wyoming Territory.

The tour highlighted many of the older structures around town and the guides presented old photographs as the town looked in its' infancy.  I'll go into several of these "attractions" in following blogs as we get a chance to photograph and experience them.

For me, one of the most important spots on the tour was a quick trip out to Buffalo Bill Dam.

 I had not even considered visiting this area (not sure how I missed it in my internet research) prior to taking the Trolley Tour, but we wanted to learn more and visited after leaving the 1-hour Trolley Tour.

Buffalo Bill Dam is located only 6 miles west of Cody on US16-14-20 (Yellowstone Highway).  Initial construction on the dam began in the spring of 1904 and was finally completed in 1910.  At the time of completion, Buffalo Bill Dam was the tallest dam in the world at 325 feet.

 The dam was originally built to create a source of irrigation for the Bighorn Basin.

In 1922 the dam began to be used for power production.  The Shoshone Power Plant came on line in that year and expanded in 1931.  The plant continued in use until 1980 when the plant was decommissioned due to a deteriorating state of repair. Another power plant was constructed downstream towards Cody.

The dam has a Visitor's Center administered by the NPS and the site itself is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Far Side Looking Back Toward the Visitor Center
Spillway Towards Cody
We decided to drive about 15 miles west towards Yellowstone just to check out some of the road to the park.  We still haven't decided whether to drive the MH directly from Cody to Yellowstone Park and over to West Yellowstone, or take an easier (but far less scenic) route north out of Cody back to Interstate 90 into Montana.  We would then travel west and head as far as Bozeman, MT before turning south on US191 towards West Yellowstone.  If anyone has taken the direct route west from Cody to the east gate entrance of Yellowstone Park we would certainly appreciate any insight.

This was a a view of the Buffalo Bill Reservoir as we traveled west past the dam.

Thanks for dropping by to take a look!


  1. That's quite a gorge downstream and you got a great shot of it.

  2. Well I tried that east route and got blocked by snow. I'm very interested in which way you go into Yellowstone because it's very high on our bucket list.

    Interesting tour of the dam, looks so modern for being built so long ago.

  3. Paul in 1993 they added 25 feet to the crest of the dam to increase storage capacity in the reservoir. That probably makes it look newer.

  4. As usual I enjoyed this as well as the album you sent me. Thanks!

  5. Another great update!! Your making it very hard for us to keep going east and not turn and head that way. We have always loved that part of the world.

  6. July 10, 2013
    In 2011 Bonnie and I left the Escapade thru Montana into Idaho coming into Yellowstone from the west. Stayed in a Passport America Park there driving in for old faithful in the HHR. We continued on south into Utah down to Moab, Four Corners and on to Albuquerque balloon fiesta the first full weekend of October. Be there early and volunteer as crew. Park with the Boomers group boondocking. Reasonable cost and great fun and sights. Enjoy your summer.