Cowboy Road Trip to Yellowstone Starting in Texas

Get roped into a ton of fun as you explore the best cowboy culture in the West on this round-trip route from El Paso Texas, through N.M. and Colo. to the park.
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Get roped into a ton of fun as you explore the best cowboy culture in the West on this round-trip route from El Paso Texas, through N.M. and Colo. to the park.
A Yellowstone cowboy tends to the horses. Photo by Timothy Pelczynski

A Yellowstone cowboy tends to the horses. Photo by Timothy Pelczynski

Get roped into a ton of fun as you explore the best cowboy culture in the West on this 2,796-mile, round-trip route.

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 hot cuisine and nearby stunning white sands await. Farther north, visit Albuquerque and Santa Fe where you'll find vibrant art scenes and incredible food. Cross into Colorado and stop in Trinidad to see cowboy art from another era before heading north to catch a glimpse of the Old West in Fairplay. From Denver drive north to Cheyenne, Laramie, Casper, Buffalo and Sheridan, a string of authentic western towns that'll lasso you into outdoor and cultural activties. Explore the gems between Greybull and Cody before reaching the incredible Yellowstone National Park.

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Road Trip Itinerary

Start: El Paso, Texas

Stop 1: Southern New Mexico

Temple of the Sun stalagmite at Carlsbad Caverns National Park

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 CrucesCaving In with Carlsbad, N.M.

Stop 2: Albuquerque and Sante Fe, N.M.

Santa Fe sculpture

Santa Fe sculpture

Driving through New Mexico en route to the Grand Canyon, do you spend more time in Albuquerque or Santa Fe? Take the Albuquerque vs. Sante Fe Personality Quiz to find out.
Read more on our sister website.

For cowboy history, stop at the Sunset Memorial Park in Albuquerque to visit a memorial dedicated to Elfago Baca, an Old West sheriff who survived 80 cowboys firing 4000 rounds into a saloon where he was hiding out after attempting an arrest.

Stop 3: Trinidad, Colorado

A.R. Mitchell Museum of Western Art

“Covered,” copyright A.R. Mitchell Museum of Western Art in Trinidad

“Covered,” copyright A.R. Mitchell Museum of Western Art in Trinidad

See the Old West through nationally-renowned artist A.R. Mitchell at the museum known by locals as “The Mitch” housed in a 1906 department store.
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Stop 4: Great Sand Dunes National Park

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

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

Bring your sled, beach chairs and shade umbrella to explore the tallest sand dunes in North America near Alamosa, Colorado.
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Stop 5: South Park National Heritage Area

Living History Days at South Park National Heritage Area. Courtesy photo

Living History Days at South Park National Heritage Area. Courtesy photo

In the center of Colorado the story of the west has been preserved, much as the settlers found it. A true highlight is an open-air museum with 34 authentic historic buildings.
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Stop 6: Cheyenne, Wyoming

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

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

Get a cowboy’s welcome at the place known for its rodeo, Old West museums, a bison ranch train tour and huge painted boots scattered about town.
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Traveling in late July? Attend Cheyenne's Frontier Days, the world's largest outdoor rodeo on July 21-30, 2017. Besides the bucking bronco action, there's an elaborate parade, top-name concerts, an air show and chili cook-off. www.cfdrodeo.com

Stop 7: Laramie, Wyoming

Laramie shootout video from YouTube

Experience Laramie, Wyoming on the “Legends of Laramie” mobile interactive tour, which tells 15 different stories at 15 different locations. Using your smartphone, scan the code at each location to hear, see, or watch a piece of Laramie’s history such as the "Bucket of Blood Shootout." See the Old West tour locations at visitlaramie.org/find-adventure/legends-of-laramie-tour/

Find more things to do in Laramie.

Stop 8: Buffalo, Wyoming

Paradise Ranch

Paradise Guest Ranch in Wyoming. Courtesy photo

Paradise Guest Ranch in Wyoming. Courtesy photo

For 100 years, folks have been enjoying weeklong vacations at the Paradise Guest Ranch with horseback riding, fishing, hiking, and family-time fun.
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Bozeman Trail Steakhouse

Bozeman Trail Steakhouse in Buffalo, Wyoming. Courtesy photo

Bozeman Trail Steakhouse in Buffalo, Wyoming. Courtesy photo

Enjoy a cowboy meat at this family-friendly restaurant offering authentic bison sirloin and burgers, and elk. But don't worry, there are salads and veggies for those folks who prefer to graze.
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Stop 9: Sheridan, Wyoming

The Mint, the oldest bar in Sheridan. Photo courtesy of Sheridan

The Mint, the oldest bar in Sheridan. Photo courtesy of Sheridan

Sheridan, Wyoming – Home of cowboys and craft ales, Sheridan's downtown has historical landmarks and buildings, including 46 registered on the National Registry of Historic Places.
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Historic Sheridan Inn

The historic Sheridan Inn in  Sheridan, Wyoming. Courtesy photo

The historic Sheridan Inn in Sheridan, Wyoming. Courtesy photo

Sit on one of the best porches in the West and spend the night at the historic inn, which has been a legendary stop in the West since it opened in 1893.
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Stop 10: Greybull

Greybull's Gems

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

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

Dinosaurs lived near these prehistoric red and purple volcano-made hills. Today, see a restored speakeasy, an airplane museum, and dinosaur track site.
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Heart Mountain National Historic Landmark

A typical Nisei family, Bill, Alice and Young Mike Hosokawa. Bill is editor of the Heart Mountain Sentinel. Photo courtesy Heart Mountain Relocation Center newspaper.

A typical Nisei family, Bill, Alice and young Mike Hosokawa. Photo courtesy Heart Mountain Relocation Center newspaper.

15 minutes before you get to Cody, visit this WWII relocation center. It was one of 10 camps in remote, isolated locations where more than 14,000 Japanese Americans were confined behind barbed wire.
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Stop 11: Cody, Wyoming

Wayne's Boots in Cody. Photo by Grant Ordelheide

Wayne's Boots in Cody. Photo by Grant Ordelheide

The region adjacent to Yellowstone’s East Entrance including the town of Cody, is all about Buffalo Bill Cody and the Old West. Read our list of the top nine things to do.
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Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Buffalo Bill Cody c1892

Buffalo Bill Cody c1892

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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Sleeping Giant Zipline

Ziplining minutes from Yellowstone's East Gate. Photo courtesy of the Sleeping Giant Zipline

Ziplining minutes from Yellowstone's East Gate. Photo courtesy of the Sleeping Giant Zipline

Just minutes from Yellowstone’s east gate, ride the dual ziplines on five sections. Even race your buddy side-by-side. Watch the video.
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Lodging between Cody, Wyoming and Yellowstone's East Entrance

Just short of the park's entrance, stay or eat at Pahasja Tepee Resort. It's Buffalo Bill's original 1904 lodge and the closest lodging to the park's east entrance with a restaurant, lounge, gift shop, gas station, and trail rides. (307-527-7701, www.pahaska.com) Or stay just a half mile from Cody's downtown at the Super 8. (307-527-6214, www.codysuper8.com)

More lodging near Yellowstone's East Entrance

End: Yellowstone National Park

Enter the national park's east entrance.

Yellowstone Activities

Boat tour on Lake Yellowstone

Boat tour on Lake Yellowstone

Close to the east entrance of the park is Yellowstone Lake, the waterfalls of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and the West Thumb Geyser Basin. Spend a day exploring the scenery, hiking, camping and watching wildlife at Yellowstone National Park. See our favorite park itineraries.

GyPSy Guide Yellowstone Tour App

Yellowstone GyPSy Guide App for your cell phone or tablet

Yellowstone GyPSy Guide App for your cell phone or tablet

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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