Buffalo Bill Dam

Lots of water was pouring out of the dam while we were there.

Buffalo Bill Dam is a few miles west of Cody, Wyoming, and it is definitely worth a stop if you are in the area. The dam is like a mini-Hoover Dam, and you can stand right on top and look off either side. There is even a small visitor’s center. This dam is famous for being the tallest concrete dam in the world.


When you arrive at the dam, the parking situation is interesting. The walk over to the dam is a city block or more, so there is a shuttle that can give you a ride if you need one. You can wait for the shuttle, or just start hoofing it to the east like we did. When you arrive, go into the visitor’s center first. There is a short video about the building of the dam, a few displays, and a small gift shop. Be warned, though, the visitor’s center is not air-conditioned.

There’s a 15 minute movie that you can watch about the history of the dam…it took a long time to build, and had lots of crazy things happen in the process.
There is a small museum as part of the visitor’s center. We walked around for about 10-15 minutes. Our boys were fascinated with this huge nut.

After you’ve watched the video, walk outside and check out the dam. To your left, you can look straight down to where the water pours out. It is quite a drop! To your right, you will see the reservoir, which stretches for many miles. One interesting thing about this view is all the driftwood that stacks up at the dam. It can stretch as far as a few hundred yards, and contains tons of wood. This wood is fished out with a crane every so often and taken to the far end of the reservoir where it can be had for free (much of it is used for firewood, but artists also use it in their creations).

The dam is very tall. I couldn’t capture it in one picture.
In this picture you can see how the water is coming out. They have the gates to let water out, and the ones on the bottom are the flood gates to allow more water. The reservoir was well above level so they were trying to let as much water out as possible.
This is the driftwood that had collected. 

We were also super lucky when we were at the dam. We saw a beaver swimming around in the driftwood. It was really cool as you could see it’s wide, flat tail floating just under the surface of the water.

The beaver was just swimming amongst the driftwood.
Here’s another shot of the beaver.

Plan to spend about 45 minutes at the Buffalo Bill Dam, which is a free activity. The 15 second video below will show you the amount of water pouring out of the Buffalo Bill Dam.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Greg

    Hi, I’m considering visiting this dam and am wondering if visitors are allowed to view the dam from below, within the canyon. Looking at Google maps, it looks like there is a service road that leads down there. Do you know if visitors have access to this area?

    1. Natalie

      I do not believe there is public access to view the dam from below.