National Register of Historic Places

Elephant Head Lodge

Park County

Date Added to Register

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Smithsonian Number


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Elephant Head Lodge is an historic dude ranch located about 12 miles east of the east entrance into Yellowstone National Park along U.S. Highway 14-16-20 in Park County, Wyoming. The buildings and structures are laid out in typical rustic dude ranch style with two grand lodges surrounded by guest cabins and support buildings. The lodge buildings evolved over a period of years beginning in 1926. It was founded by Buffalo Bill Cody's niece, Josephine Thurston, and her husband, Harry W. Thurston, the first Wapiti District Ranger in the nation's first national forest, Shoshone National Forest, when they were issued a permit on December 28, 1926. It was named for a rock formation in the shape of an elephant head, which overlooks the site. The Elephant Head Lodge is historically significant as an operational, nearly intact representation of Western dude ranching, as it arose and evolved in Wyoming in the first half of the twentieth century.

Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources