Yellowstone opens to hardy bicyclists
by Yellowstone National Park
March 24, 2009
Yellowstone National Parkís interior roads have closed to snowmobile and snowcoach travel for the season. It will be a month or more before some of those roads are cleared and ready for cars, trailers, RVs and buses.
During the time employees are clearing and preparing park roads for motorized wheeled vehicles, adventurous bicyclists have an opportunity to experience the change from winter to spring first-hand without other visitor traffic.
Starting Saturday morning, March 21, bicyclists will be allowed to ride between West Yellowstone, Madison, Norris, and Mammoth Hot Springs.
Snow removal efforts may also allow for a brief period of bicycle-only access into the park sometime in May from the South Entrance to West Thumb, and from the East Entrance toward Sylvan Pass. There is no seasonal bicycle-only access to Old Faithful or Canyon.
Cycling in Yellowstone during this time of year is not for the faint of heart. The weather is unpredictable, and severe winter conditions can be encountered at any time. There are no services open in the interior of the park and riders should be prepared to take care of all their own needs. The cleared section of the road may be narrow and covered with a layer of snow and ice, and pullouts may remain filled with snow. Cyclists should expect to encounter snowplows or other vehicles operated by park employees or construction workers traveling in conjunction with park operations.
Cyclists are asked to ride single file, encouraged to carry bear spray, and should be prepared to turn around and backtrack when encountering wildlife on the road. More information is available online at http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/springbike.htm.
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 307-344-2113 for 24-hour weather information before traveling to the area.
The road from the North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana, to Cooke City, Montana, at the park's Northeast Entrance, is open all year to cyclists and automobiles, weather permitting. The only campground open this time of year is at Mammoth Hot Springs.
Weather permitting, park roads will begin opening to motorized vehicles on Friday, April 17. Some interior park roads donít open to automobile travel until Memorial Day weekend.