Biking through Yellowstone National Park is a great way to explore the beauty in an up-close-and-personal manner.
Spring Biking Through Yellowstone
In order to avoid the heavy tourist traffic in thebusy summer months (mid-June through Labor Day), consider planning your biking trip in the spring. Getting out during the week makes for even lighter traffic conditions.
“There are several good reasons for riding a bike into Yellowstone National Park in spring. First, and probably foremost, is the ability to take your time and really observe, smell and hear the landscape,” writes Brett French in an essay for the Billings Gazette about the joys of taking a bike trip through Yellowstone. “When visiting Yellowstone in a car, the scenery flashes by, and a passenger’s view is restricted. And it seems like a hassle to stop at the pullouts and pile out again. Not so on a bicycle. On a bike, the view is 360 degrees.”
Each year there’s a small window of time where most of the snow has melted from the major thoroughfares, but these roads are not open to general vehicle use (park employees are allowed though).
2014 Road Opening March 27, 8am
What’s generally open during the spring window?
Mammoth to the West Entrance in both directions
North Entrance to the Northeast Entrance (involves a steep, twisty, narrow ascent; road is open all year, but usage in the spring is usually light)
Watch the NPS website for dates and road conditions www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/springbike.htm
What’s not typically open during the spring window?
Madison Junction south to Old Faithful (it’s closed because of heavy bear activity)
East of Cooke City, Mont.
Camping for Cyclists
Cyclists looking for campsites should consider reserving their spot ahead of time (call Xanterra at 307-344-7311) since the sites are booked on a first-come, first-serve basis and often fill up quickly—especially in the busy summer months. Expect to pay $12.00 to $18.50 per night, depending on how extensive the facilities are, for a regular campsite.
All campgrounds except for Slough Creek Campground save a few campsites for hikers and bikers for $4.00 per camper, but if you’re traveling with a large group, it’s suggested that you plan ahead as the hiker/biker sites are smaller.