On our Wild West adventure we made it as far West as Yellowstone, but our camper only went as far as Cody, Wyo., where we base camped at the Ponderosa Campground. The Ponderosa Campground is situated in the middle of bustling Cody, with easy access to key attractions like the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and the famous Cody rodeo. But if you are looking for quiet and wide open spaces, this campground is probably not the best spot for you.
The Ponderosa was one of the most crowded and cramped campgrounds we have ever stayed at. We were on site 94. It overlooked a beautiful view of the mountains and we did not have anyone behind us–but that was because 15 feet behind our camper there was a drop off that went down into a ravine! This made us very nervous with our young kiddos.
From what I saw, none of the sites had more than 20 feet between them but some were so close that a picnic table barely fit between the campers (sites 34-43). There were also several sites that the camper’s awning and picnic table were right off the campground’s roads (sites 69-71, 62, 81, 48).
If you are staying at the Ponderosa without young children, then I would recommend sites 82-101. However, if you do have young kids this might not be the best place for a long stay. There is really no room for the kids to ride bikes, kick around a soccer ball, or toss a frisbee. After a few days here, we were all going a bit stir crazy being in such close quarters with so many other campers, and the kids really just needed to run around and play, so that’s why we cut our stay short and took a side trip up to Montana–more on that detour coming next week.
It is also important to note that the sewer hook-ups on several sites were located behind the campers. This was fortunately not a problem for us but if you have a large fifth wheel with sewage connections toward the front, you would need some long hose to make it reach the connection. Also some sites have the electrical connection on the wrong side of the camper so people had to run cords under their campers.
Leaving the campground is also a bit of a challenge (which is why we forgot to get a picture of the van near the campground sign). The campground is located on a busy corner of the main four-lane road in Cody. And there’s no light to help you out.
There are two bathrooms that were cleaned daily. Since we had full hook-up we did not use them, but the shower house near sites 50-51 was newer and bigger. However it had something we have never seen in a campground bathroom before: carpet!
The campground has a nice laundry facility that is heavily used but even so we did not have to wait long for machines. The playground is nice but since it is near the busy campground entrance/exit we did not feel comfortable sending the kiddos over there to play without supervision.
This is where this campground shines … well actually Cody shines. Within a few miles of your camper you can explore:
- The Buffalo Bill Center of the West (plan on at least a day for this if you like museums)
- The Irma Hotel (and restaurant)
- The Cody Rodeo
- Bear Tooth Highway
- Chief Joseph Scenic Highway
- Buffalo Bill State Park
- Shoshone National Forest
Cost per night: ~$44 per night (with Good Sam discount)
- Note: The campground’s rates are only for two people. Children under 7 are free, but additional people/children are $3 per night. Additionally, they do not accept credit cards, only cash or check.
Date of stay: July 1-5, 2015