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Road biking in/around Yellowstone?(10 posts)

Road biking in/around Yellowstone?therepublican
May 17, 2003 6:34 PM
I'll be spending my summer in Yellowstone Park for work, and am wondering how the cycling is around there. I've heard heavy traffic, narrow shoulders, and bison make for a somewhat hostile riding environment. Anyone have experience biking there?
Sounds accurate....bent_spoke
May 17, 2003 6:45 PM
I've been there, but did not to bike. Tourist being tourists will not be paying attention to you, especially if they are seeing bison for the 1st time (this was my reaction...5 days later, who cares about the buffalo. It's like seeing a herd of cows). I'd be real careful around the bison. You might out run a dog if you get a good jump...but not a bison. I believe they get up over 30 mi/hr & they can be set off by sudden motion or noise (e.g. clicking cameras can do it). Off road, you may have to think about the bears, elk, mt. goats, etc. Welcome to the zoo! Also, you'll be at altitude, as I believe Yellowstone Lake is at 9000 ft & this might take some time to get use to. It's a great place though & you should have a great summer!!!
Bears (Bear bells)coonass
May 18, 2003 3:33 AM
I've read/heard that you should make some noise while venturing, so as not to surprise (Brown or Grizzly)bears, or any other wild animal that might attack you. REI sells Bear Bells that fit on your wrist/ankle for such a reason. You can identify which type of bears are in your vicinity by examining their stool speicmens; Brown bears have berries and vegitation in their stools; Grizzlies have Bear Bells and berries in theirs. :) Pardon'
Got me thinking so...B2
May 18, 2003 6:08 AM
I emailed the Yellowstone NPS. I'll post their response when I get it.

I rode there a couple years ago...PdxMark
May 18, 2003 10:18 AM
as part of a vaction. The trick is to ride early in the morning. Traffic is light to nonexistent. It was great riding conditions, despite the absence of a shoulder. The one problem is that some roads are in atrocious shape - potholes, crackes, breaks. I broke a Cuissi bottle cage riding over that stuff. But the morning scenery, sounds, sights are well worth it. On one ride (heading toward Teton from Old Faithful Inn) you can cross the continental divide something like 3 times in a few miles.
re: Road biking in/around Yellowstone?faberbz
May 18, 2003 3:12 PM
Cycling in the park can be the best experience on two wheels, and easily the worst.

I live in Bozeman and ride in the park several times a year. The best time is to catch it is in the spring when the roads are open for bikes but not cars.

During the summer, however, the bison and elk are the least of your worries. The "zoo" is on the road, i.e. convoys of RVs, cars, tour buses, etc. Most of these people aren't used to seeing animals, I suppose, and cause more accidents then the animals themselves.

The traffic pressure lets off a little a week before and a week after 7/4 and for the two weeks preceding Labor Day--not much, though. The roads are not in the greatest condition (if you were here through winter, you would understand why), but they are working on them and they are getting better each year. The latest significant improvement is from Madison Junction to Norris.

The traffic, although plentiful, is not moving too quickly, though, and riding through the park is entirely possible. If you are prepared for it, can be a lot of fun. Bring a patch kit--for your lungs (if you don't live at altitude)

Great rides:

West Yellowstone to Jackson: follow the Madison and Firehole Rivers, pass Old Faithful, cross the Divide 3 times, West Thumb, dowhill through moose country and on to GTNP --if you get tired of fighting the wind in GTNP, you can always stop at Jackson Lake or Jenney Lake or Moran Junction or whatever and not go ALL THE WAY to Jackson.

Mammoth to Red Lodge: this is even more fun coming back. Start at Mammoth, cross the Yellowstone River (the bridge can be windy!), go through some "rolling" terrain, through the Lamar Valley (lots of bison, elk, antelope, sometimes wolves), exit the park at Cooke City, take the Beartooth Highway up and down to Red Lodge, a nice town to relax in after that ride. Then go back the next day--over the Beartooth Pass!

A lot of people ride the park with no problems. Most I see there are hard-core European cycletourists with stuffed panniers and some with trailers, hauling all that over the Divide and such.

I'm jealous of where you liveSpecialTater
May 19, 2003 8:18 AM
It's such a beautiful place. I cannot imagine riding a bike over the Beartooth. It was difficult enough to DRIVE UP!
Anywhere to rent?TNSquared
May 19, 2003 9:42 AM
I'll be in Yellowstone for two weeks in June, and would love to get in some early morning rides. However, I'm traveling in an RV with all 14 of my in-laws, so probably won't have anywhere to carry my bike with me.
Where in YNP will you be located?Dale Brigham
May 19, 2003 6:45 AM

I worked summers of '75-76 in YNP at Lake Hotel, and I can tell you, those were the two best summers of my life.

I left my bike back in TX, but brought my backpacking gear. Could have brought XC skis the first year (about 4 feet of snow on ground in Lake region) plus the Lake was frozen until July. Weather can be brutal, even in summer.

Although traffic is heavy on the limited roads and shoulders are rare (or non-existent), the speed limit is 45 mph (I recall), and most folks seem to understand that they are in a NP, not on a freeway. However, watch out for entended mirrors on RVs and other behemoths (Park Service advises drivers to retract mirrors, but many do not).

Realistically, IMHO, where you are posted (work) will determine your regular riding (and backpacking/hiking) habits, since it is a long way from one area of YNP to the other. My guess is that you will find regular daily ride route(s) near you home base, and take occassional more far-reaching rides that may require a car trip to get you to your jump-off spot. At least, that's what I would do.

Have fun (almost impossible not to in YNP), and tell us how it all turns out.

Not quite sure yet....therepublican
May 19, 2003 12:03 PM
Strangely, we start the drive out tomorrow (from New Jersey), but they have yet to tell us which lodge we'll be posted at. The company I'll be working for owns nearly a dozen sites all over the park, and I could be at any one of them.

Anywhere they put me should be quite a change (for the better) from South Jersey, where there doesn't seem to be any point exceeding 10 feet above sea level. Being somewhere between 5,000 and 9,000 will be quite a shocker, especially considering I'll be riding hills for almost the first time in life. Can't wait.