Over 4 million people visit Yellowstone Park every year, for the incredible scenery and wildlife. One of the best ways to see the park at a leisurely pace is by bike. As soon as the snow has been cleared, the Yellowstone is open for cyclists looking to tour the national park. This is a great time to visit, as you can ride until April without needing to negotiate with motorized vehicles – especially ideal for novice riders. In the summer months, you can cycle on all the public roads around the park, as well as on the designated cycle routes. Here are some great routes for you to try out.
The Old Faithful Cycle Tour
The Old Faithful Cycle Tour is on September 29th, 2018, and has been running for 21 years. It’s a great way to explore the national park in the fall, just when the colors are starting to change. The bright yellows and oranges of the aspens are particularly impressive. On this 60 mile round trip you will be able to see thermal features, elk, bison and of course geysers. The ride is perfect for families and small groups, as well as individual leisure cyclists that just want to explore. Using a hybrid bike is recommended, as the terrain is quite varied. It is a relaxed supported ride, and not a race. There are a couple of feed stations on the way around, and also some on-course bike mechanics, if you run into any difficulties. One of the nicest things about this tour is the community feel – there is a delicious group meal organized for the end of the day.
West Yellowstone and Madison Junction
A very popular ride amongst amateur cyclists is the 28 mile route between West Yellowstone and Madison Junction. The distance can be covered at a leisurely pace in a day, giving adequate time for admiring the amazing geysers, and getting in a spot of lunch. You will need to be wary of the wildlife in the area, a “buffalo traffic jam” is not unheard of. It’s common to see coyote on this route, as well as the bald eagle. Don’t forget that the wildlife has right of way in the park – especially the bears and the wolves – don’t go within 100m of them.
Daisy Cut Off to Biscuit Basin
Daisy Cut Off to Biscuit Basin, is a great little ride to do with young family. It’s only four miles long, so is easily manageable in an hour or two. Biscuit Basin itself is completely fascinating, and the water is a beautiful shade of deep azure. Don’t go diving in though, the water is extremely hot, even it if is inviting. The basin is very close to Old Faithful, and has a boardwalk around it, so you can park up your bikes and get a good view of the geothermal as it bubbles away.
Spring Cycle Only Days in Yellowstone
Once Yellowstone National Park closes to snow traffic (usually on or around 15th March – but this is weather dependent) to the third Thursday in April, cyclists will find that some of the park roads are open, but just to non-motorized traffic. These roads are plowed and so cycling, walking, jogging are all allowed and there is no fee from the entrance of West Yellowstone to Mammoth – this is of course, dependent on conditions. Another way to enjoy cycling!
Cycling around Yellowstone park will enable you to see so many different sights than if you were traveling in the car. You can pick a short ride if you only have a few hours, or make a day of it, stopping for a picnic. Whilst riding you can take in the smells and incredible noise of both the geysers and the unique wildlife.
AUTHOR: JACKIE EDWARDS