Hiking to the Other Side of the Buffalo Bill Dam, Cody, Wyoming

Of all the hikes we did during our visit to Cody, this last one was simultaneously the easiest and the most challenging while also proving incredibly interesting. The trail offers virtually no shade (aside from a tunnel you walk through), and the information we found beforehand was a little sketchy on access (yes, you can drive through the gates), parking (once you drive through the gates, there are multiple places to park), and the condition of the trail (it is paved the entire way).

Because we did not have all the answers, we ended up parking close to the highway where there were a few other cars parked, which allowed us to get in a full 4-mile hike to surpass our goal of hiking at least 15 miles during our stay (but it was about a mile longer than what we really needed to go in terms of where we could have parked). It was also a little longer than we should have gone given the heat and pavement.

We knew ahead of time that the trail was at least partially paved and that there was not a huge elevation gain, so I carried Bird in the backpack for a change (Will had also gotten a sunburn the day before and was not really up for it). Ideally, we would have used the stroller as the trail was paved the entire way, but it is hard to know what you do not know.

Regardless of the challenges, the hike posed, it offered an incredible perspective of the Shoshone River as it flows out from the Buffalo Bill Dam and toward town. The sheer rock faces on either side of the river were truly impressive, and after driving through the tunnels my entire life, it was really fun to see what is on the other side.

Even though it was incredibly warm (we started our hike mid-morning but still did not beat the heat), we spent a few minutes exploring near the base of the dam and admiring its size. However, as cool as the experience was, we knew we were cutting it close with our water supply, and we were all getting overly warm.

We made quick work of the hike back to the truck, although Will ended up taking both girls when I sprained my ankle on top of being way too hot (even though I stubbornly tried to keep going).

While overall it was not the best experience, I would definitely do this hike again—as long as the weather was cooler and we went at a time of day where there might be some shade. The canyon is beautiful, but I feel like we did not get the opportunity to fully enjoy it.

This hike wrapped up our time in Cody, and it felt entirely fitting. Much of our visit was spent gaining new perspectives on some favorite places, and this hike certainly fit with that theme. It was bittersweet to leave, but much like our feelings at the end of this hike, we were ready to move on.

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