Talk about having the Park to yourself: Yellowstone spring biking is now possible, as the 49-mile stretch between the West Entrance at West Yellowstone, Mont., to Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyo., is open, beginning today.
It’s a stretch that’s both physically challenging and one with plenty of weather-related challenges, so don’t throw the bike on the Suburu rack and head out. There’s still snow and ice present, which may cover sections of road be lined with tall snowbanks. Pullouts may remain snow packed. Extra caution is advised traveling through the five-mile-long road construction zone north of Norris Junction, which is not paved and may be muddy.
There is no bicycle access to Old Faithful or Canyon until the first interior park roads open to public motorized vehicle access on Friday, April 17.
Here are some Yellowstone spring biking guidelines from the National Park Service:
Bicyclists are required to ride single file and follow all other rules of the road. Cyclists should expect to encounter and yield to snowplows or other motorized vehicles operated by park employees or construction workers traveling in conjunction with park operations.
Bears, bison, elk, wolves and other wildlife could be encountered at any time. Riders are strongly encouraged to carry bear spray, and should be prepared to turn around and backtrack when encountering wildlife on the road, and must stay out of closed areas.
No services are available along these sections of road. Cell phone coverage throughout the park is sparse and unreliable for communicating emergencies. Riders need to have a plan for self-rescue or repair, and be prepared to be out in severe winter conditions for an extended period of time in the event they experience a mechanical breakdown, injury or other emergency.
The road from the North Entrance at Gardiner, Mont., to Cooke City, Mont., at the park’s Northeast Entrance is open all year to cyclists and automobiles, weather permitting.
Cyclists are urged to call 307-344-2109 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays for updated road access information, or call 307-344-2113 for 24-hour weather information before committing to any ride in the park.