Bicycling in Yellowstone National Park
Park management does not encourage bicycling in the park. It considers the vast majority of the park's roads "unimproved" and unsafe for bicyclists. A brochure titled "Bicycling in Yellowstone National Park" is available at some visitor centers and at the park Web site (www.nps.gov/yell), but is not widely promoted or disseminated. Still, many long-distance cyclists do ride in Yellowstone, despite heavy traffic and narrow roads. If you choose to ride the Grand Loop Road or entrance roads, be safe, ride single file, and wear a helmet and reflective gear. Be cautious in May and June, as high snow banks can make riding the park's narrow roads particularly dangerous. Remember that some routes, such as those over Craig Pass, Sylvan Pass, and Dunraven Pass, are especially challenging because of their steep climbs.
Blacktail Plateau Drive. Running parallel to Grand Loop Road, this gravel road is one-way traffic for cars traveling east, but bicycles are allowed in both directions. The road meanders through forest where you might see deer, coyotes, or elk. The western entrance to the road is 9 mi east of Mammoth Hot Springs, and the eastern entrance is 2 mi west of Tower-Roosevelt. Mountain bikes are recommended. Tower-Roosevelt, Yellowstone National Park, WY.
Fountain Freight Road. Fountain Flats Drive departs the Grand Loop Road south of the Nez Perce picnic area and follows the Firehole River to a trailhead 1½ mi away. From there, the Fountain Freight Road continues along the old roadbed, giving bikers access to the Sentinel Meadows Trail and the Fairy Falls Trail. The total length of the route is 5½ mi. Mountain bikes are recommended; you'll share Fountain Flats Drive with two-way automobile traffic and the Freight Road with hikers. Madison, Yellowstone National Park, WY.
Natural Bridge Road. Leading off Grand Loop Road at Bridge Bay along the western shore of Yellowstone Lake, this easy 1-mi bike loop leads to Natural Bridge, a 50-foot cliff cut through by Bridge Creek. Yellowstone Lake area, Yellowstone National Park, WY.
Old Faithful to Morning Glory Pool. This paved 2-mile trail starts at the Delaware North Store at Old Faithful Village, loops near Old Faithful geyser, and ends at Morning Glory Pool. The entire route is through a geyser basin, so stay on the trail. Watch for elk and buffalo. Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park, WY.
Outfitter and Expeditions
Old Faithful Snow Lodge. Old Faithful Snow Lodge carries a fleet of mountain bikes in adult and child sizes. They have a limited number of trailers (for smaller children), cargo bags, and windbreakers. Rentals are available by the half-day, including helmet and bike lock. Other packages available with guides, and lodging. Old Faithful Village, far end of Old Faithful Bypass Rd., Yellowstone National Park, WY. 307/545–4825. www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com.
Free Heel and Wheel. Free Heel and Wheel, just outside the West Entrance, rents bicycles, cruisers, and child carriers. The staff here can also recommend road cycling routes outside the park. 40 Yellowstone Ave., West Yellowstone, MT, 59758. 406/646–7744. www.freeheelandwheel.com. $8 an hour.
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