Yellowstone Opens Roads to Spring Cycling (but be careful)

Yellowstone Opens Roads to Spring Cycling (but be careful)

Written by on March 25, 2022

Today, Yellowstone National Park opens sections of the Grand Loop Road from the West Entrance to Mammoth Hot Springs – not to vehicles, but bicycles.

Starting today, cyclists “willing to brave the unpredictable elements of spring” in Yellowstone National Park can ride the 49 miles of the Grand Loop Road between the West Entrance and Mammoth Hot Springs.

The following sections of the Grand Loop Road between the West Entrance and Mammoth Hot Springs will open to cycling:

  • West Entrance to Madison Junction
  • Madison Junction to Norris Junction
  • Norris Junction to Mammoth Hot Springs

However, the park isn’t a cyclist free-for-all. Bikes are not allowed on the remaining interior park roads until they  open to public automobile access at 8 a.m. Friday, April 15.

Yellowstone spring cycling

Courtesy National Park Service

While a spring bicycle trip in Yellowstone is enticing, park officials are adamant that cyclists must take any journey seriously.

For example, snowplows and other motorized vehicles operated by park employees or construction workers are still on the road clearing snow for the April 15 opening.

Yellowstone is already ubiquitous for quickly changing weather conditions – and the temporary road closures caused by these conditions. Last fall, the park suddenly closed a day early due to a sudden snowstorm that moved into the area.

Furthermore, snow and ice still cover sizeable sections of the Grand Loop Road.  While the West Entrance – Mammoth route is clear enough for cyclists, completely clear roads are not guaranteed.

The best advice for interested cyclists is relatively simple – prepare and be aware.

Yellowstone officials say cyclists can keep themselves safe by following these guidelines:

  • Ride during daylight hours only.
  • Anticipate encountering bears, bison, elk, wolves, and other wildlife.
  • Stay at least 100 yards from bears and wolves and 25 yards from all other wildlife. Prepare to wait or turn around if bison or other wildlife are on the road.
  • Carry bear spray and know how to use it.
  • Stay out of closed areas.
  • Ride single file and follow all other rules of the road.
  • Plan for self-rescue or repair. Cell phone coverage throughout the park is sparse and unreliable for communicating emergencies.
  • Prepare to spend an extended period in winter conditions in the event of a mechanical breakdown, injury, or other emergencies. Remember that amenities along the route are not open aside from a few restrooms.
Yellowstone Pelican Creek

Courtesy Yellowstone National Park & Jacob Frank

Cody residents may also have a chance to take a bitterly cold bike ride from the East Entrance to the end of Sylvan Pass.

As conditions allow, bicycles will also be permitted from the East Entrance to the east end of Sylvan Pass. 2022 is the first year where the East Entrance will officially open at the same time as the other four entrances.

Check the Spring and Fall Bicycling web page for road status.

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