Yellowstone National Park Biking Page
* * * Spring Bike Opening 2016 * * *
Biking in Yellowstone National Park can be a fun experience. Besides the main park roads, there are several bike paths and times when bikes are permitted on the roads before the entrances open to vehicle traffic. The best time for biking the park roads with minimal vehicle is in the spring. As soon as the roads are plowed and snow and wood chip removal complete, you can bike from Mammoth to the West Entrance with very little traffic. There will be limited vehicle traffic during this time. There will be Admin Travel for park employees trying to get ready for the spring opening. This timeframe is usually mid March (depending on snow removal) to the third (3rd) Thursday in April.
You will be able to travel from Mammoth to the West Entrance and from the West Entrance to Mammoth. You will NOT be able to travel from the Madison Junction south to Old Faithful. The Madison Junction to Old Faithful road will be closed due to early spring bear activity in that area.
You can also bike from the North Entrance to the Northeast Entrance. This would involve a steep winding narrow road from Gardiner to Mammoth Hot Springs. The rest of the road would be best described as hilly. This road is open year round to vehicle traffic, so you will have to share the road, but the traffic would be considered light. You CANNOT bike east of Cooke City, Montana until later in the spring when the road is plowed open.
Yellowstone's roads are narrow and most of the old roads do not have a lot of space engineered for bikes. The newly constructed roads have more space for bikes. You have to be very careful on the narrow roads, especially if you plan to bike during the main tourist season (mid June to after Labor Day).
There are some campgrounds that have set aside areas for groups that are biking in the park. Camping for bicyclists is limited to the developed campgrounds located throughout the park. Campsites are available by reservation (through Xanterra at 307-344-7311), and on a first-come, first serve basis. The distance separating campgrounds, and the fact that all of the park's campgrounds typically fill early each day during the peak visitation season, will pose logistical problems for the bicycle or hiking camper in Yellowstone. A limited number of campsites are reserved for hikers and bicyclists at all campgrounds with the Exception of Slough Creek Campgrounds. If you are traveling with a large group of bicyclists or hikers, call Xanterra prior to your arrival to check on group campsite availability. Not all campgrounds can accommodate large groups. If you have access to a vehicle, use it to find a campsite in your destination campground early each day.
Bicyclists or hikers camping without a vehicle can use designated hiker/biker sites for $4.00 per individual per night. All other vehicular campsites range from $12.00 to $18.50 per night, depending on the facilities available. The opening and closing dates vary considerably for each campground in the park. Check the Camping Page to make sure that a campground is open if you are planning a spring or fall visit to Yellowstone.
Obey Rules of the Road! You will share the road with park administrative vehicles. This will include heavy construction vehicles working on park construction projects.
Bicyclists should ride single file on the right hand road shoulder.
Pedestrian travel is recommended on the road shoulder opposing traffic.
Be alert for administrative vehicles!
Park rangers do not patrol the spring biking roads regularly; assistance and emergency medical service can be delayed.
Wear a helmet and high visibility clothing.
Bicycles using the roadway before sunrise and after sunset must be equipped with a forward facing white light and a rear facing red light. Travel at night is not recommended.
If bison are on the road, do not cause them to run; consider modifying your ride accordingly.
Stay 25 yards from all wildlife; 100 yards from bears.
The following list may help you prepare for a safe outing:
Advanced preparation is essential. Travel self-contained as there are no facilities or services provided, i.e. be prepared to repair a flat tire or make repairs.
Travel between Madison and Old Faithful (bear-management area) will be closed until the third (3rd) Friday in April.
Wild animals have the right-of-way and can be dangerous and unpredictable. Do not approach, chase, molest or feed wildlife.
Minimize the dangers associated with a bear encounter. Bring bear spray.
Be prepared for rapid weather changes. Prevailing winds blow from the west making the ride toward Madison far easier and more comfortable than the return trip.
Park roads are NOT maintained on a regular basis; you may encounter intermittent snow and ice on the roadway.
The road just south of Gibbon Falls for about six (6) miles north is narrow, winding, and has no road shoulders. Use extreme caution!
There is limited or spotty cell phone coverage in the park.
Be careful and enjoy biking in Yellowstone National Park. Some information provided by Yellowstone National Park.
Click here for an Adobe pdf copy of the Bicycle Information, Trail Descriptions and Map.
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