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Buckle your toe clips, cowboys and cowgirls. Here comes the Wild, Wild West! Ride through lands where coal mines, gold rushes and gun battles defined the landscape and legendary turf wars were won and lost. From Cody, Wyoming, bicycle west into Bighorn National Forest, northeast through Shoshone and Custer National Forests, then back again to Cody. Bike the first protected national forest in the United States. Keep your eyes peeled for the country's largest population of bighorn sheep. Explore the lands of the Shoshone, the Arapaho, the Sioux, Chief Joseph's Nez Perce - and the early settlers pushing west.
Meet in Cody, Wyoming. Take a warm-up ride from Burlington to Ten Sleep. 69 miles.
Meet in Cody, Wyoming, named for "Buffalo Bill" William Frederick Cody. Begin your Wild West adventure after a shuttle to the tiny town of Burlington, Wyoming. Follow the winding Bighorn and Nowood Rivers toward Ten Sleep, in the western foothills of the Bighorn Mountains.
Note: If you can, come in a day early to visit the Buffalo Bill Historical Center: The highly acclaimed “Smithsonian of the West” is five museums in one, with fascinating displays about Buffalo Bill, the Plains Indians, Yellowstone natural history, one of the largest collections of firearms in the world, and an unparalleled collection of Western art.
Bicycle from Ten Sleep to Buffalo through the southern portion of Bighorn National Forest. 65 miles.
Ride across the southern portion of Bighorn National Forest today. Over a million acres of lush grasslands, alpine meadows, crystal-clear lakes, glacier-hewn valleys, rolling hills and sheer mountain walls make for spectacular cycling. The Bighorn Mountains, sister range to the Rockies, lie to the north. Finish in Buffalo, Wyoming, tucked into the Bighorn foothills. Explore Main Street's dozen-plus historic buildings, including the Occidental Hotel where Owen Wister's Virginian finally "got his man" - and the impressive Jim Gatchell Museum, with over 15,000 artifacts from the American Old West.
Ride from Buffalo past Lake de Smet and Sheridan to Ranchester. 63 miles.
Bicycle north today with the massive Bighorns on your left. Ride past Lake de Smet - which the Sioux believed to have magical healing powers - and through Sheridan to finish in tiny Ranchester, site of a battle between the Powder River Expedition and Chief Black Bear's Arapaho camp.
Go west, young men and women. Ride from Ranchester to Lovell through the northern section of Bighorn National Forest and the Bighorn Mountains: hills aplenty. 84 miles.
Point your steeds west, cowboys and cowgirls. Ride across the northern portion of Bighorn National Forest to the town of Lovell, 'Wyoming's Rose City.' Enjoy the climbing today (8,526 ft of gain;·8,446 ft down) as you bike through the Bighorn Mountains.
Lovell to Red Lodge, Montana, gateway to Yellowstone National Park. 79 miles.
Bicycle north and west today. Follow the squiggly curves of Silver Tip Creek through Byron north into Montana. Fields of corn, sugar beets and alfalfa are interspersed with tiny towns in the valley tucked between Yellowstone National Park and the Bighorn Range. Stay in Red Lodge, Montana, a raucous 1890s coal town that calls itself the 'Gateway to Yellowstone.' Lunch and dinner are on your own today, with plenty of time to explore.
Charles Kuralt called the Beartooth Scenic Byway "...the most beautiful drive in America." Wyoming's highest paved road leads through the breathtaking scenery from Red Lodge to Cooke City, through Shoshone National Forest. 56 miles.
Ride west, deep into the 2.4 million acres of Shoshone National Forest. The Beartooth Scenic Highway tops out at 10,947' and dips down to run beside the Clarks Fork, Wyoming's only Wild and Scenic river. Shoshone National Forest has retained virtually all the original animal and plant species that were there when explorers like John Colter and Jim Bridger first visited the region. It's home to grizzly and black bear, cougar, moose, tens of thousands of elk as and the largest herd of bighorn sheep in the U.S. The streams in the forest are considered to have some of the best game species fishing opportunities in the country, including Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Enjoy dinner surrounded by the peaks of the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness at the legendary Beartooth Cafe.
Return to Cody on the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway. 61 miles.
After a made-from-scratch breakfast at the Bearclaw Bakery, it's back on the bicycle. Ride the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway back to Cody today. Following a climb to the overlook at Dead Indian Hill, it's time to head down: 4,800 ft of climbing is followed by 6,300 ft of terrifically fun downhill. Finish off the week with a celebratory toast! If you're staying on for an extra night, take time to check out the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and relive some of the highlights of your adventure.
As an optional extra, a person traveling solo on any inn-to-inn trip may reserve a room for his or her exclusive use. This will guarantee you a private room and private bath every night. Unlike other tour companies, if you're willing to share a room, there is no extra charge for coming solo, no matter when you sign up for the tour - even if you wind up with a private room by default.