Cody is surrounded by stunning public lands and miles upon miles of trails. Looking to get your run in close to town, but not quite sure where to go? Try one of these four spots that offer everything from open ridges with amazing views to a cool canyon surrounded by high granite walls.
Distance: 5.2 Miles
This trail pretty much forms a rectangle: up, across the ridge, then down and back to the car, coming in at about four miles. From the car, you can either turn left up to the two-track or go straight. The ascent to the ridge is steep either way, so expect to be sucking some air. After you catch your breath at the top, you’ll get awesome views of Oregon Basin and the Big Horn Mountains as well as south to the Owl Creek Mountains. Don’t be alarmed, but you might hear shooting—there’s a sighting bench just off the trail on the southern end. Stay on the trail and you’ll be fine. Run this trail early in the morning and you’ll probably see mule deer, antelope, and owls, and hear the sweet song of canyon wrens and sage thrashers.
Perched on BLM land just east of town is the Bluebird Trail. You can access this trail at the end of Sunset Rim Road, which is 5.2 miles from Cody on Highway 16 or the Greybull Highway. Look for the turnoff on the right just past Sage Creek Road. Drive to the end of the road and park before the gate.
Hayden Arch Bridge
Distance: 3 Miles
At the Hayden Arch Bridge, you can first run out the bridge road itself to the base of the Buffalo Bill Dam, 3 miles round trip. The road is paved with a slight uphill grade as you head to the dam. The canyon walls become steeper and the river more wild as it courses through the boulder-strewn channel. There might be some light vehicle traffic from employees of the power plant and dam, however.
From Cody, go west on US Hwy 14/16/20 to the Hayden Arch Bridge, 6.2 miles. Turn right and there will be parking right before the bridge or after. Each site only holds 2-3 cars maximum. Don’t block the gate along the Hayden Arch road because it is used by the power plant workers.
Distance – Varies, but anything from one to 10 miles is possible
Difficulty – Medium to Very Difficult
Description The trails around Airport Ridge and Beck Lake provide bountiful choices of route length and difficulty. The one constant, should you make your way up onto the ridge itself, is the jaw-dropping view of the entire Bighorn Basin and surrounding mountains. All of the loops that get you onto the ridge will involve some climbing, but will also reward you with some very fun downhills as well.
The most obvious route for a quick workout leaves from the footbridge at the west end of Beck Lake. After crossing the footbridge, follow the obvious trail that heads south and along the east side of the prominent ridge, There will be several opportunities to head uphill and to the west to the top of the ridge itself. When you choose to get to the top of the ridge, you can follow the trail – which varies between singletrack and two-track – back north to the footbridge and the end of your run. If you are feeling truly adventurous it is possible to descend Airport Ridge to the west, cross the Red Lakes area, and loop back to your car via Cedar Ridge and city streets. Stop by Sunlight Sports for more information and maps if you want to do this approximately 10-mile loop.
Two notes on this area. Many of the trails were built and are maintained by an outstanding local mountain bike group. Please be courteous to any bikers that you see out by choosing to step off of the trail if you encounter them. If it has rained, or if the trails are wet, please choose another trail area, as the trails are prone to damage when moist. And – the wind on top of the ridge can be significant. If it’s a windy day, there are better places to run.
The best starting place for this area is the city parking lot on the west end of Beck Lake. From downtown, turn north on 13th street and follow it to the light. Turn left on Stampede Avenue, and then right on 14th Street. 14th turns into Reservoir Drive as it enters Beck Lake Park. Park in the lot just past the City of Cody building on your right. Go up to the paved path surrounding the lake, and turn right.
Paul Stock Trail
Distance: 4.0 miles
The Paul Stock Nature Trail is part of the City of Cody’s trail system. This 1.3 mile section gives runners a little more challenge than pounding the asphalt. The main trail is gravel based and winds near the shore of the Shoshone River. There are plenty of narrower side trails that actually take you down to the water and can increase how long you spend here. The Paul Stock Nature Trail is perfect for someone without a lot of time who wants to do some running off the city streets. There’s not a lot of elevation gain/loss and the trails are wide and level. If you have bicycling kids with you they’ll love this trail and the extension to the Shoshone Riverway Trail.
The Paul Stock Nature Trail is located at 801 Spruce Drive. From downtown follow 12th Street north to the 4-way intersection with River View Drive. In front of you will be the entrance to the Shoshone Riverway Trail. Turn left (west) for .5 mile. River View Drive veers left but you want to stay right and continue on a short distance to the end of the road and the trailhead for the Paul Stock Nature Trail.
If you are looking for more options, or to get a run in a little further from town, stop by Sunlight Sports in downtown Cody. We have a ton of suggestions and all of the route planning info that you need.
Looking for a perfect pair of kicks to get you cruising the backcountry? Come into the shop and check out the fantastic trail shoes from Merrell’s MQM line. They are ideal for those long, fast days in the mountains.