Yellowstone Park has opened 49 miles of roads on the western side of the park to bicyclists.
Cyclists are urged to prepare for quick-changing spring weather on the route from the West Entrance near West Yellowstone, Mont., to Mammoth Hot Springs. Bicycles will not be allowed to travel on to Old Faithful or Canyon until the first interior park roads open to public motorized vehicles on Friday, April 18, according to a Yellowstone news release.
The bicycle route, which opened March 27, presents outdoorsmen with a challenge because it may include sections still covered with snow and ice and bordered by tall snowbanks. Cyclists may find pullouts packed with snow and they’ll need to yield to any snowplows, park service vehicles or construction workers they encounter. They also may encounter wildlife including bears, bison, elk, and wolves, park spokesmen say.
Yellowstone warns cyclists to ride single file and follow all other rules of the road. They are strongly encouraged to carry bear spray, should be prepared to turn around and backtrack when encountering wildlife on the road, and must stay out of closed areas.
Riders need to have a plan for self-rescue 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. Cell phone coverage throughout the park is sparse and unreliable for communicating emergencies.
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 307-344-2107 from 8 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 by calling 307-344-2117.