Sitting just east of Cody, the McCullough Peaks are visible from anywhere in town. You can explore the first section of the road into the area or drive further and run the road as it rolls through the canyons, hills and gullies of the Peaks. This is dry land, as evident by the lack of vegetation except in the gullies. The peaks are highly eroded and scenic and you’ll find other recreationists wandering the area, including horse riders, ATVs, hikers and even rock hounds.
What Makes It Great
There’s a chance you’ll have this wide open area all to yourself, except for herds of pronghorn antelope and possibly mule deer. Weekends might see more horse or ATV traffic. This trail is actually a well-maintained BLM road, wide and slightly graveled. The first several miles are flat but you can continue on to the top of McCullough Peak itself at just under eight miles. The elevation of the peak is 6,513' and the view will be amazing.
McCullough Peaks is best enjoyed very early in the morning during summer. With no trees to speak of, there’s absolutely no shade, there’s no water available and it can get just a tad toasty out here. But if you’re out to put some miles on your soles, this is a great trail. It’s accessible all year long so it's really a nice spot in the winter when snow covers trails at higher elevations. Be advised that the wind can blow strongly out here, kicking up the dust and dirt. Also know that the chances are good you’ll see, or hear a rattlesnake.
Who is Going to Love It
If you’re short on time, don’t want to deal with route finding and are wanting some flat miles, then the McCullough Peaks trail is perfect. There’s plenty of room on the road for kids on bicycles as well. Early mornings will be quiet and peaceful and you might even be treated to observing some of the famed McCullough Peaks wild horses. This rather desolate landscape supports about 100 of these unique animals and they’re known for the great color diversity in their coats. It’s hard to understand what they find to eat out here, but this herd is thriving and fairly tolerant of the presence of people.
Besides the living animals of the McCullough Peaks, the area abounds with fossils of reptiles, amphibians and even mammals and birds. This is a rock hound’s paradise and if you look hard enough you might just find a treasure.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From Cody, take US HWY 14, 16, 20 east 7 miles. Turn left (north) directly across from the entrance to the Cody Outdoor Archery Range onto McCullough Peak Road 1212. There’s a large informational kiosk here with adequate parking for several cars. There are no fees and leashed pets are welcome. Keeping them leashed is an excellent way to reduce the possibility of them sticking their noses under a sagebrush and startling a sleeping rattlesnake. This is one of the few areas in Cody that you can comfortably leave your bear spray at home.