Located halfway between the town of Cody and Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming’s Waipiti is a quintessential Big Sky State frontier town. Situated along the North Fork of the Shoshone River in the Shoshone National Forest, Waipiti is known as a great spot for outdoor adventure and an excellent home base for exploring the United States’ first designated national park. The town’s name comes from the Cree Indian word for elk, so you can be sure to expect tons of wildlife.
Perhaps the best thing to see in Waipiti is the Smith Mansion, which is one of the most curious looking buildings in the entire country. The decorative A-frame structure was built entirely by hand, and it features numerous levels, a large stair set, and a hot room for cooking and lounging. The Smith Mansion was built by Francis Lee Smith, who continued adding new features until falling from an upper level to his death in 1992.
While Waipiti does feature some activities, most notable things to do are in nearby Cody. Both Cody and Waipiti have all the features of an excellent wild west adventure. Head over to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West to learn about the history of the relationship between Native Americans and the American frontiersman. When you’re finished, make sure to check out the Cody Night Rodeo. This is one of the few remaining rodeo cultures in the states, and it’s still very much alive and well.
For some other old-world-style entertainment, you can also watch a gunfight show at the Irma hotel. Stop by for a thrilling reenactment of a gunfight in a 19th-century saloon that looks frighteningly real.
All that said, outdoor adventure is the clear favorite among activities here in northern Wyoming. Visit the red rock canyon for an exciting rafting trip, or take out the kayak if you’re more daring. There is also rock climbing, mountain biking, and backpacking all within an arm’s reach of Waipiti.
If you’re looking for a living room with mountain views, look no further than Waipiti. The town is effectively littered with vacation rentals at the east entrance of Yellowstone national park, so you should definitely consider this as a place to stay while on your national park visit. Stay right in downtown Waipiti to get as close to the action as possible.
Wapiti is best to visit during the summer. Spring and fall can still be fairly cold, and the summer doesn’t draw too many tourists to make it overwhelming.