top of page

Hotels in  the Yellowstone 
Sylvan Pass Lodge  -  Sylvan Pass Lunch Station
1924 - 1934

Copyright 2020 by Robert V. Goss. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by an information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.

Sylvan Pass Lodge & Lunch Station


 This rustic Sylvan Pass Lodge was the last of the lodge operations to be built in the park. It was designed to serve tourists traveling the 50-mile journey on the Cody Road from the rail depot at Cody to the Lake Hotel. Situated on the eastern border of Yellowstone National Park, the lodge was designed primarily as a lunch station, although tents facilities were available for overnight guests. The site had previously been used by the Wylie Camping Company, who established the Cody Camp there in 1913. The camp closed after the 1916 season, along with several other Camps and Lunch Stations in Yellowstone.

Sylvan Pass Lodge - Cody Road. 

[Haynes PC #24071

Sylvan Pass Lodge; Sylvan Pass Lunch Station; Yellow Buses
Sylvan Pass Lodge; Sylvan Pass Lunch Station

The history of the site is unknown between 1917-1923, but the NPS built a free auto camp nearby by the early 1920s. The Yellowstone Park Lodge & Camps Co. began construction of a log lodge on the site in 1923, which opened in 1924, on the former Wylie camp site. The structure was rustic in nature and similar to other log lodges in the park. It was designed by Fred F. Willson of Bozeman, who was also architect for the Old Faithful Rec Hall and Lake Lodge. The first year the lodge was referred to as the Cody Camp, derived from the Wylie days. The name “Sylvan Pass Lodge” became official in 1925.

Sylvan Pass Lodge during final construction in Spring of 1924.  

[YNP Scrapbook, 14a-0131]

Sylvan Pass Lodge probably around Spring opening in 1924.  

[YNP #32187]

The Billings Weekly Gazette reported in Sept. 1923 that Howard Hays, head of the YP Camps Company,

“Came to Billings for the purpose of conferring with material men on business connected with the latest expansion plan of the Camps company, which is the construction of a lunch station near the east entrance of the park, on the Cody road, 55 miles from that city. The new building is to be 150 feet long by 110 feet deep, and the dining room will have a space of 135x52 feet, wherein 400 guests can be seated at one time.

    Hauling of material for this new work has been in progress for 10 days, and construction work is to begin at once, the plan being to have the station complete and ready to serve the public entering the eastern gateway the first day of the 1924 season.”

Sylvan Pass Lodge; Sylvan Pass Lunch Station
Sylvan Pass Lodge; Sylvan Pass Lunch Station; Yellowstone "Yellow Buses"
Sylvan Pass Lodge; Sylvan Pass Lunch Station

Construction was completed for spring opening in 1924. The building was 150’x100’ in size, with a dining room 135’x52’. It served mostly as a lunch stop for travelers coming to the park on the YPTCo.’s buses from the railroad station in Cody. Sometimes 500 people would have their lunches there. One group of buses would arrive at noon from Cody; and another, coming from the park would arrive at 1 p.m. Oft-times fifty park buses capable of carrying 11 people each would be parked outside the lunch stop.


It also served all other travelers in the area for meals and overnight tent facilities. According to Howard Hays at the close of the 1923 season, there were times during the season when 1,000 people were camped at the public auto camp nearby.

Mrs. Adelaide Underwood, a long time park employee who managed the Old Faithful Inn for many years, was in charge of Sylvan Pass Lodge. The operation only lasted about 10 years and was torn down in 1940.

Left Top:  Sylvan Pass Lodge with bus loads of tourists in front.

[Real-Photo Postcard, undated]

Left Bottom: View of Sylvan Pass lunch Station.  [Tamman Postcard #4541, circa mid-1920s] 

Bottom Photos:  Interior views of Sylvan Pass Lodge. The design is very similar to those of Lake, Canyon, and Mammoth lodges.

  [1926 & 1928 Yellowstone Park Camps Co. brochures

Sylvan Pass Lodge Lobby; Sylvan Pass Lunch Station Lobby
Dining Room Sylvan Pass Lodge

Yellowstone Yule Carols Fill Park

YELLOWSTONE PARK — Christmas carols will fill the crisp mountain air, presents wil] he exchanged and workers will sit down to special dinners today as Yellowstone National Park continues a traditional celebration.
  The first Christmas in August observance was held during the 1920s at Sylvan Pass Lodge. Since the lodge was small, the number of employes was small and the party begun by the manager was very close. The occasion now is celebrated also in such cities near the park as West Yellowstone, Gardiner and Cooke City as a farewell to park and seasonal employes.  New trees are decorated throughout the park, the nation's first, sand the entire crew of park workers and concessionaires — not to mention tourists — join in the celebration.
  Art Bazata, president of Yellowstone Park Co., will hold a special open house today as part of the observance.  Sylvan Pass Lodge was the first overnight stop from Cody, Wyo, The lodge no longer exists.
  Celebrants opened the festivities Saturday night with a dance.
    [25Aug1968 Billings Gazette]

Couple skiing at Sylvan Lodge in the 1930s. Although the lodge was not open in winter, they may have stayed at Pahaska Tepee or another lodge in Wapiti Valley.

skiers at Sylvan Pass Lodge
bottom of page