Spring bicycling begins on select Yellowstone roads

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

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

Some roads in Yellowstone National Park are now open to bicyclists as plow crews work to clear ice and snow in preparation for the park opening to autos later this month.

Bicycles are allowed now on 49 miles of park roads from the West Entrance at West Yellowstone, Montana, to Mammoth Hot Springs. But 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, according to information provided by the park’s public affairs office.

Park managers warn that a bicycle trip into Yellowstone during early spring can be challenging. The quickly changing weather can make travel difficult. 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 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 most sections of park roads during this period.  Cell phone coverage throughout the park is sparse and unreliable.

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.

When planning a spring bicycle trip into Yellowstone, visitors should read the information and tips contained at: http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/springbike.htm.

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.

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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