South Fork Road in Cody, WY

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On a recent trip to Yellowstone we found ourselves in Cody, Wyoming. We wanted to do something a little different, so we decided to drive out South Fork Road. This road is unique in that it is a one way road with no destination at the far end. It simply turns into a narrow dirt road after about 30 miles. There is no reason to drive it except to look for animals and to see beautiful scenery.

You drive along the river for part of the drive.

We had read that you could see many of the large hoofed animals from North America along South Fork Road, and we certainly found that to be true– and we saw something we’d never seen before, which is always exciting!


We were surprised to find that the road is not up a narrow canyon through thick trees like we expected. Instead, it rolls through wide valleys and farms and has a more bucolic feel. Frankly, we wondered if we’d see anything. But of course, we did. The first thing we saw was white-tailed deer, which we had never seen. (Note: A lot of people think they have seen white-tailed deer, because they see deer with white rear ends. These are mule deer. They appear to have no tail or a little black around the tail. White-tailed deer have a brown rear end, and their tail stands straight up and shows white when they are running away). The first white-tailed deer we saw even had a sweet little fawn!!

White Tailed Deer. They look very different from the mule deer we are used to seeing.
The fawn trying to keep up with it’s mom!
A buck we saw a little ways down the road.

We also saw mule deer, pronghorn antelope, and a very large herd of elk. There were many calves among the elk, and we watched the herd for a long time.

The herd of elk was pretty large.
This elk crossed right in front of us on the road.

We followed the road until it turned into a muddy narrow dirt road that made it a bit risky. The last few miles ran right along the steep mountain cliffs, and several waterfalls tumbled down into the valley. We scanned the hills for mountain goats or big horned sheep, but we weren’t able to find any.

We saw this waterfall coming down the mountain.

We loved the South Fork Road drive. It took around 3 hours, but if you enjoy animal drives, this is a great way to spend a morning or evening in Cody. You’ll find the turn for South Fork Road on the West end of Cody near the rodeo grounds. There is a sign.

Castle Rock. There is a sign and pull out if you want to read about this landform, as well as John Coulter.
There are lots of beautiful pictures to take.

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