1) Immerse yourself in cowboy culture all day long and spend your nights in the historic hotels of northern Wyoming on this 341-mile road trip. Start out at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains in beautiful Buffalo, Wyo. Visit the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum and glimpse a view of early-1900s cowboys, military scouts, and Native Americans. After visiting the museum, breathe fresh mountain air while you ride horses through the heart of cowboy country at Paradise Guest Ranch, or the famous HF Bar Ranch, which both lay claim to century-old histories. Afterward, enjoy a delicious buffalo steak at The Virginian Restaurant and spend the night in the beautifully preserved 1880 Occidental Hotel in downtown Buffalo. The rooms are inspired by Old West characters and historic giants like Teddy Roosevelt and Calamity Jane, who stayed in the hotel when they came to town.
2) From there, it’s a lovely 104-mile drive north on Interstate 90 to see the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. You’ll be crossing the tracks of the Bozeman Trail along the way, and as you take in the sights, it will become clear why this country was irresistible to the miners, pioneers, and cattlemen who wanted to open it up, and why the Lakota and Cheyenne fought so hard to keep them out.
3) After visiting the battlefield, follow your tracks 70 miles back south to Sheridan, Wyo., the cowboy capitol of the world. Stay at the historic Sheridan Inn, built by frontier legend Buffalo Bill Cody in 1892. The restaurant offers a fine dining experience and you might even get a visit from Miss Kate, the benign ghost said to haunt its halls. No trip to Sheridan is complete without hitting the shops downtown and if you love cowboy gear, be sure to visit King’s Saddlery and the Don King Museum.
4) In the morning, head over the mountain on U.S. Route 14. Take your camera: As you cross the Bighorns, there are picturesque mountain streams, wildlife, and working cowboys to fill your lens. Have lunch at Bear Lodge before taking the highway through Shell Canyon. Then, head north to Powell, Wyo., just beneath Heart Mountain. Make a stop at the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center, which conveys the haunting and more recent history of the internment camp where thousands of Japanese-Americans were held during World War II.
5) A short, 24-mile drive will bring you to your final destination—the Irma Hotel in Cody, Wyo. William Cody built this beautiful establishment in 1902 and named it after his daughter. Enjoy your stay in turn-of-the-century elegance and don’t miss out on iconic Cody experiences, like the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and the Cody Night Rodeo.