Beginning last week, bicyclists willing to brave the unpredictable elements of spring in Yellowstone National Park are able to travel 49 miles of park roads from the West Entrance at West Yellowstone, Montana, to Mammoth Hot Springs. There is no bicycle access to Old Faithful or Canyon until the first interior park roads open to public motorized vehicle access on Friday, April 15.
A bicycle trip into Yellowstone this time of year is not to be undertaken lightly. The quickly changing weather can be challenging. Snow and ice may still cover sections of road. Tall snow banks may line roads and pullouts can be snow packed.
Bicyclists are required to ride single file and follow all other rules of the road. Cyclists should expect to encounter and yield to snowplows or other motorized vehicles operated by park employees or construction workers traveling in conjunction with park operations.
Bicyclists should be prepared to encounter bears, bison, elk, wolves, and other wildlife at any time. Riders are strongly encouraged to carry bear spray, be prepared to turn around when encountering wildlife on the road, and must stay out of closed areas.
No services are available along these sections of road. Cell phone coverage throughout the park is sparse and unreliable for communicating emergencies. Riders need to have a plan for self-rescue or repair and be prepared to be out in severe winter conditions for an extended period of time in the event they experience a mechanical breakdown, injury, or other emergency.
Cyclists can call 307-344-2109 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays for updated road access information, or call 307-344-2113 for 24-hour weather information before committing to any ride in the park. Additional planning information is also available online at http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/springbike.htm.
Updated Yellowstone National Park road information is available 24 hours a day at: http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/parkroads.htm or by calling 307-344-2117.