It’s April, which means spring winds are howling, shaking the rafters and kicking up the dirt. But you’re itching to get outside and take advantage of that warm sun and those bluebird skies. Where can you go adventuring but not end up getting blown to South Dakota? We've got you covered. Check out these five great ways to escape the wind in Cody that allow you to enjoy the great outdoors in Wyoming, regardless of what the wind is whipping up.
1. Newton Lakes
Never been to Newton Lakes ? You’re in for a treat. It's just a five-minute drive from Cody, and offers fishing from the shore or on the water, plus miles of excellent hiking and mountain biking trails that are also a great place for your four-legged friend to explore. Because the east lake sits down in a small depression, it's relatively sheltered from the wind. Extend your hike around the lake by heading north on the excellent mountain biking trails that are maintained by Park County Peddlers .
You can hike as far as you want, and as long as you stay off the ridge lines, you’ll stay protected from the worst of the wind. If you hike the 2.6 miles to Twisted Sister, you'll be rewarded with views of a pretty isolated natural bridge. The entire area has gorgeous scenery, great rock formations, and good birding along the creek. Bring bear spray for insurance, which can also come in pretty handy for rattlesnakes coming out of hibernation as the weather continues to warm.
2. Cedar Mountain
Also known as Spirit Mountain , Cedar Mountain is covered in trails, most of which pass through the gullies or across the front of the mountain, so they’re more protected from the wind than the road. It's a great spot for rock hounds, too. Those mammoth chunks of rocks do double-duty blocking the wind and making for some world-class terrain for bouldering; try the Africa or Mid-Mountain Boulder Fields. The trails on Cedar can be wicked steep, so hiking boots with grippy soles are your best bet for an accident-free descent.
If you make the summit of Cedar, look for the bison statue, which marks the spot where Buffalo Bill Cody said he wanted to be buried. (Too bad he ended up on Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado.) You probably won’t need bear spray for bears, but it could come in handy for snakes and the occasional hungry mountain lion that might be stalking your dog.
3. Sheep Mountain
The ancient Shoshone Indians wintered high up on Sheep Mountain for a reason: The north-south running valley is superbly protected from the wind. The trail up the mountain is a great hike on blustery days, with spectacular views of the North Absarokas. The lower reaches might be a tad breezy, but as you continue you'll get out of the wind. You can do this jaunt in half a day or take longer and enjoy the thought of your friends battling the wind down in town. The best trail up Sheep Mountain starts on the south side of Buffalo Bill Reservoir, about a half mile from Gibb's Bridge over the North Fork inlet. And don't forget the bear spray for hikes around here.
4. Olive Glenn Golf Course and BLM Land
Although this area can still be breezy, as long as you stay off the ridge lines, you'll be fine. There’s an access road that runs along the east side of the golf course and continues south for as far as you feel like hiking or biking. Happy off-roaders churn up this road during mud season, creating some hefty canyons on the track. You can hike or bike out this road to past the county landfill, about 7 miles south of town. Side routes hook up with the Red Lakes area for additional mileage and a change of scenery. Curious antelope are usually around, and you might even see a golden eagle. The mountain bluebirds are back, too, as a sure sign of spring.
5. Indoor Escapes
If the wind is really shrieking at hurricane levels, just stay inside; even better, head to a bar like Pat O’Hara’ s or Millstone . Grab a brew, catch a game with friends, and decide where to go tomorrow after the winds die down to our more normal Wyoming gale. There's nothing Codyites like better than commiserating about the weather over a local craft beer and a slice of steaming hot pizza, after all.