Texas to Yellowstone Cowboy Road Trip

Get roped into fun as you explore the best cowboy culture on this 2,796-mile, round-trip route through New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming.
By Tori Peglar ,

A Yellowstone cowboy tends to the horses. 

Photo by Timothy Pelczynski

Trip Overview

From the high plains of New Mexico to horses galloping on Wyoming’s dude ranches, this Lone-Star Cowboy Route takes you to the heart of cowboy country.

From El Paso, Texas, head north to Las Cruces, N.M. where spicy cuisine and nearby stunning white sands await. Farther north, visit Albuquerque and Santa Fe with vibrant art scenes and incredible food. Cross into Colorado and stop at Great Sand Dunes National Park before heading north to Denver for art and culture (see page 44). From Denver drive north to Cheyenne, Chugwater, Greybull and Lovell, a string of authentic western towns that'll lasso you into outdoor and cultural activties. Before Yellowstone, stop in Cody, named after the legendary Buffalo Bill Cody and the closest town to the park's East Entrance.

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Road Trip Itinerary

Start: El Paso, Texas

New Mexico

Temple of the Sun stalagmite at Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Explore the Green Chile Trail in Las Cruces, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, and White Sands National Monument on your road trip to the Grand Canyon. Read more on our sister website: 7 Hot Spots in Las Cruces and Caving In with Carlsbad, N.M.

El Santuario de Chimayo in Santa Fe, N.M.

Deposit Photos

Find True New Mexico in Santa Fe County
Looking for adventure that feeds the soul? Check out our top six things to do in Santa Fe County.
Read more on our sister website.


The sun sets over the sandy peaks in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Photo by Grant Ordelheide

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve
Is this south central Colorado or the Sahara? It’s not always easy to tell at this unique park where the continent’s tallest sand dunes join the rugged Sangre de Cristo mountains.
Read more on our sister website.

Southeastern Wyoming

The trolley and a giant boot sculpture outside of The Wrangler Store in Cheyenne, Wyo. Photo by Jade Lang

Old West Meets New West in Cheyenne
Two hours north of the Denver Airport, get a cowboy's welcome at the place known for the world's largest rodeo, Old West museums, and huge painted boots scattered about town. 
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A bronco rider at the annual Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo

Courtesy Cheyenne Convention & Visitors Bureau

Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo
Many of Wyoming’s rodeos are known throughout the world, including Cheyenne Frontier Days, the “Daddy of ‘Em All” held the last week in July.
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Photo courtesy of Albany County Tourism Board/Laramie Area Visitor Center

Traveler Trivia in Laramie
Be a traveler rather than a tourist. Get the behind-the-scenes stories on everything from comic heroes to outlaws in the Laramie area. 

Wagon traveling over the Oregon National Historic Trail in Wyoming

BLM Bob Wick

Pioneer Graffiti in Platte County, Wyoming
Time to jump in the water and discover American history in these small Wyoming Pony Express towns.
Learn more.

Northern Wyoming

Paradise Guest Ranch in Wyoming

Courtesy Paradise Guest Ranch

Paradise Guest Ranch near Buffalo, Wyoming
For 100 years, folks have been vacationing at the Paradise Guest Ranch. Enjoy horseback riding, fishing, hiking and family time.
Learn more

Bozeman Trail Steak House in Buffalo, Wyoming.

Courtesy Bozeman Trail Steak House

Bozeman Steak House in Buffalo, Wyoming
Try a bison steak or our New York Strip, voted the Best Steak in Town award.
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The pool at Ucross Ranch

Courtesy Blair Hotels

Experience a Vacation at a Different Pace at Ranch at Ucross
Near Buffalo, the Ranch features deluxe accommodations and activities such as swimming, horseback riding, tennis and fishing.
Learn more

Hikers at Meadowlark Lake

Photo courtesy Worland

Drive the Sweet 16 to Worland and Ten Sleep Canyon
Enjoy the majestic beauty of the Big Horn Mountains along US Highway 16. The best and easiest route to Yellowstone, “The Sweet 16” Highway.
Read more

View of WWII airplanes turned firefighters, and the Bighorn Mountains near Greybull, Wyom.

Deposit Photos

Greybull's Firefighting WWII Airplanes and Ancient Ocean
Dinosaurs lived near these prehistoric red and purple volcano-made hills. Today, see a restored speakeasy, an airplane museum, and dinosaur track site.

A boat cruising the in the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area

Hidden Treasure Charters

Hidden Treasure Charters in America's Third Largest Canyon
Head to Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area east of Yellowstone for an uncrowded experience on the water.
Read more

Heart Mountain Relocation Center during WWII

Public Domain, Department of the Interior. War Relocation Authority.

Heartbreak on Heart Mountain
This WWII Japanese Relocation Center was one of 10 camps in remote, isolated locations where more than 14,000 Japanese Americans were confined behind barbed wire.
Read more.

Eastern Edge of Yellowstone

Wayne's Boots in Cody. 

Grant Ordelheide

Find the Wild West in Cody's Yellowstone Country
Locals like to brag Cody, Wyo., and the surrounding area is where your great American adventure begins. Here is our list of the top 9 things to do.
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Don't miss:

Buffalo Bill Cody c1892

Public Domain

Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Smithsonian-Affiliated 5-Museum Complex
He rode for the Pony Express, entertained Queen Victoria, called Mark Twain a friend. Learn about the legend and the world and culture Buffalo Bill loved.
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Ziplining minutes from Yellowstone's East Gate. 

Photo courtesy of the Sleeping Giant Zipline

Awake with Sleeping Giant
Get rare views of Yellowstone National Park while literally flying through the air.
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Rest Stops:

Buffalo Bill [Cabin] Village at Buffalo Bill Village Resort in Cody
These 83 historic cabins maintain the exterior historic cowboy hand hewn log; the interior is a complete, full service non-smoking hotel room.
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Comfort Inn at Buffalo Bill Village Resort in Cody
The Comfort Inn is located 52 miles from the East Entrance of Yellowstone/Grand Teton National Parks and eight blocks from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. Complimentary deluxe continental breakfast.
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Holiday Inn Buffalo Bill Village Resort in Cody
Cody’s only full-service hotel is conveniently located downtown, 52 miles from Yellowstone's east entrance and eight blocks from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
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Super 8 Hotel in Cody
Just 5 blocks from the famous Buffalo Bill Center of the West and less than 2 miles from the Cody Night Rodeo, held every night through the summer.
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Pahaska Tepee Resort
Originally Buffalo Bill's hunting lodge, the Pahaska Tepee Resort is the closest lodging to the park's East Entrance at only 2 miles.
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Lodges of East Yellowstone
The Lodges of East Yellowstone offer some of the most beautiful views with the closest access to east Yellowstone. Choose between a variety of lodges, guest ranches, hotels and RV sites.
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Elephant Head Lodge
Less than 12 miles from the park, this small resort sits along a national forest. Stay in a log cabin listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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End: Yellowstone National Park

Enter the national park's east entrance.

Audio driving tour plays automatically as you drive.

GyPSy Guide's Yellowstone Audio Tour App
Download the Yellowstone tour app that’s like having a tour guide in your car. GyPSy Guide automatically plays interesting and entertaining commentary as you go. 
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Grand Prismatic Hot Springs Pool in Yellowstone.

Grant Ordelheide

48 Hours in Yellowstone
Only have 48 hours? Make the most of your time by visiting some of our favorite spots in the park.
Read more.