Yellowstone National Park

Have a Jones for Yellowstone? Bike West, Young Person

Until the cars arrive on April 16, bike riders will have a small chunk of the Grand Loop Road to themselves. The access is limited: from West Yellowstone, Madison and Norris to Mammoth Hot Springs. This is not necessarily one of the most bike-friendly parts of the bike, which is why the National Park Service warns that only experienced and hearty bikers attempt the route.

Is it worth the trouble? You’d be surprised how many folks are out on the road. That despite some onerous rules (single-file only, give way to NPS vehicle and plows), potentially nasty weather (tomorrow’s forecast: 42 degrees and rainy) and nasty conditions (there is guaranteed to be ice and snow on the road, and most of the pullouts have not been plowed). Plus, construction between Norris and Madison at Gibbon Falls have reduced that road to a bumpy dirt path. And then there are the bears, who are known to wander the area (the NPS advises bringing bear spray in your pack). There are no services between West Yellowstone and Mammoth, so be prepared for the worst.

If you are prepared, you will have the Park to yourself — and how often can you say that?

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