Yellowstone opens to bicyclists during snow plowing

A bicyclist rides past freshly plowed snow along the road between Norris and Canyon Village in this 2012 file photo.

Ruffin Prevost / Yellowstone Gate

A bicyclist rides past freshly plowed snow along the road between Norris and Canyon Village in this 2012 file photo.

Bicyclists willing to brave the often unpredictable elements of spring in Yellowstone National Park are now able to travel 49 miles of park roads from the West Entrance at West Yellowstone, Mont., to Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyo.

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 17.

Park officials advise that a bicycle trip into Yellowstone this time of year is not to be undertaken lightly, because the quickly changing weather can be challenging. Snow and ice may still cover sections of road which may be lined with tall snowbanks.  Pullouts may remain snow packed.

Extra caution is advised traveling through the a construction zone north of Norris Junction, which is not paved and may be muddy, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office.

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.

Bears, bison, elk, wolves and other wildlife could be encountered at any time.  Riders are strongly encouraged to carry bear spray, and should be prepared to turn around and backtrack 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.

The road from the North Entrance at Gardiner, Mont., to Cooke City, Mont., at the park’s Northeast Entrance is open all year to cyclists and automobiles, weather permitting.

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 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.

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