Summer may be over, but there’s still a lot of great weather and evening daylight left for outdoor activities in the Cody area. And with cooler temperatures settling in, it's an ideal time to load up the car and get out on one of these trails for some mountain biking in Cody before the snow and wind sets in.
These trails are perfect for all types of rider, from the newbie to the hardcore dirt lover with the scars to prove it. Kudos to the Park County Pedalersfor working tirelessly on developing trails and raising awareness of the incredible biking available in the area. You’ll find descriptions, maps, and videos of rides on their website.
Prickly Pear to Red Snake Loop
This 12.6-mile trail has everything you’d want in a close-to-town mountain bike ride. Just five minutes from downtown, the trail starts off on city property then transitions onto public land administered by the Bureau of Land Management. You’ll roll along through tall sagebrush, flat grassy areas, arroyos, and over slickrock with some great views of the southern Absaroka Mountains and the plains of Cody. Take water and your camera (and maybe even a pair of tweezers for pulling prickly pear cactus spines). This trail is just five minutes from downtown and the perfect way to spend a crisp fall morning.
Outlaw Trail Area
North of town is a series of trails crisscrossing two ridges and up to the high point at a natural rock arch. The Outlaw’s Greatest Hits trail takes in nearly all the various trail segments in the area, with something for every rider: moderate uphills, zippy downhills, loopy rolling sections, and crazy, shriek-inducing rocky descents. A myriad of trails offers all sorts of variations.
Be aware that the trail frequently flows over red rock, and you can lose sight of your line quickly. There are some quirky trail markings and often the normal human-made rock cairns are hard to spot among the natural rock cairns. In the fall, the cottonwoods along the creek will be the icing on the cake with their bright golden leaves.
Blackwater Fire Memorial Trail
On the Shoshone National Forest, about 20 minutes west of Cody, is the Blackwater Fire Trail Memorial. The trail climbs up to a bronze monument dedicated to the 15 wildland firefighters who lost their lives in a blaze in 1937. The trail is a tough 2,200-foot ascent which translates into a ripping downhill run. It’s a 10.6-mile out-and-back, with some stellar views from various portions along the trail as well toward the end at the ridgeline. Most of this route is a ride among shade, so it’s good on a hot day. The trail is also used by hikers and horses, so watch the track on the return. Carry bear spray and also keep in mind that there’s not a single bar of cell phone service out here.
Just a mere 10 minutes east of Cody is the Slickrock Trail, with a huge variety of lines and sections of rock that you can ride over and over to generate a different experience each time. Jumps, tight curves, rollers along high cliffs, and drops of all sizes define this ride, which is best for intermediate to expert riders. The trail itself is about 7.5 miles long but there’s so much variety you can play all day. You’ll need to be able to navigate as you’ll definitely lose the trail across the rocks, even with a GPS.