Bicycling – Visiting Yellowstone

You’re watching Visiting Yellowstone Yellowstone offers some good bicycling opportunities for visitors to explore, but you will need to do some preparation and planning. The majority of the park’s road system is narrow and windy and often busy with automobile traffic. While bicycles are allowed on all of the public roads in the park, extreme caution must be used. On roads, the same traffic laws that apply to motorized traffic apply to bikes. Yellowstone has over 300 miles of roadway with elevations that range from 5,300 ft to 8,860 ft. The National Park Service recommends bicyclists wear helmets and reflective clothing while traveling in Yellowstone. During periods of low visibility, bikes must be equipped with a white light in front and a red light or reflector in the rear. Riding bicycles abreast on public roads is prohibited.

Bicycle groups traveling through the park may not exceed 15 bikes per cluster. Clusters must be at least ½ mile apart. Groups and individuals that plan on camping in Yellowstone should make reservations before they arrive by contacting Xanterra Parks and Resorts at 307-344-7311 or 1-866-GEYSERLAND. All National Park Service managed campgrounds are on a first-come, first-served basis and they often fill early in the day. There are a limited number of hiker/biker campsites available in most park campgrounds. One of the best times to ride on the park roads is in the spring. There is a period, usually early April, depending on conditions, before motorized traffic is allowed in the park that bikes are allowed to travel between West Yellowstone, Montana and Mammoth Hot Springs.

Stay alert, because administrative traffic is also allowed during this period and wildlife, including bears, may be in the road. If you can’t be here in April and you still plan on biking on the public roads in the park, it is best to get out early in the day. Traffic will increase as the day goes along. Always be prepared for changing weather while biking in Yellowstone. It can snow anytime of the year. Away from the public road system there are good opportunities for bicyclists. Mountain bikes are best in these areas. The Old Gardiner Road is a gravel road that begins just behind the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and ends at the park’s North Entrance.

This is a one-way auto road, but bicycles are allowed to travel in both directions. A short service road that is open for bicyclists and hikers can be accessed from here. Located between Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower Junction, Blacktail Plateau Drive is another one-way automobile road that allows bicyclists to travel in both directions. Use caution whether you are traveling by auto or bike in these areas. Routes that are open to hiking and biking exclusively are limited in Yellowstone, but there are some opportunities. North of Mammoth, bikes are allowed on an old railroad bed that follows the Yellowstone River just outside Gardiner, Montana to Reese Creek at the park’s northern boundary. South of Mammoth, bicyclists can ride the old Bunsen Peak Road between Golden Gate and Joffe Lake. Just inside the park’s West Entrance, bicyclists can travel from the Riverside trail to Barns Road.

This trail gives access to a section of the Madison River. A few miles north of Old Faithful, bikes are allowed on the Fountain Freight Road. You can access this road from either end, just north of the Lower Geyser Basin or just south of the Midway Geyser Basin. You can park your bike and access Fairy Falls from here.

In the Upper Geyser Basin, which includes Old faithful, bikes are allowed on the paved path between the Old faithful Lodge and Morning Glory Pool. A short trail from Daisy Geyser to Biscuit Basin is also open to bikes. Bikes are not allowed on the boardwalks, but there are several bike racks where you can park your bike while you explore. Just South of Old Faithful Village, the Lone Star Trail follows the Firehole River to a backcountry geyser of the same name. Check at the Old Faithful Visitor Center for information regarding Lone Star Geyser. Bikes are not allowed beyond the geyser. Near Lake Village, bicyclists can access Yellowstone’s Natural Bridge. The trail begins near Bridge Bay Marina. Bikes are also allowed on an old roadbed that runs between the Lake Hotel and the main road. Between Canyon Village and Tower Junction, hardy bicyclists may want to ride to the top of Mount Washburn. Access is from theChittenden Road Trailhead and it climbs nearly 1500 feet in just over miles.

The view from Mount Washburn is spectacular. Bikes are not allowed on the trail from Dunraven Pass to the mountain’s summit. Near Tower Falls bikes are allowed on the Old Chittenden service road that runs between the Tower Falls campground and the Grand Loop Road. All other service roads and trails in the park are closed to bicycles. Always check at a park Visitor Center before you venture out. Park trails can close due to bear activity or other dangers at any time. Always follow any posted closures and be alert for bear activity. If you didn’t bring a bike, you can rent one from Xanterra Parks and Resorts at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, though they must remain in the Old Faithful area.

Rentals are also available in some of the local communities; West Yellowstone, Montana and Cooke City, Montana are the closest towns that offer bike repair shops. Check here on our website for current conditions or email us if you can’t find what you are looking for. When you arrive you can get a Bicycling in Yellowstone Pamphlet from any of the park’s visitor centers. Remember you are responsible for knowing where you are and what rules apply there.

Yellowstone is a great place to explore and we can’t wait to see you here..

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