Yellowstone Opens Early to Bikes…

APRIL 2018

by dal


This is a cautionary tale-

A few years ago I visited Yellowstone when it was too early for exploration. I should have known better. I wrote about the experience here:

But if you MUST visit YNP the below news article announces that the park has opened to bikes…But don’t expect to search beyond the road because the park will still have meters of snow on the ground where it hasn’t been scraped away.

From the Bozeman Daily Chronicle March 28th Edition

Some roads inside Yellowstone National Park opened to bicycles on Wednesday, but some remain closed because of weather and construction.

The park said in a press release that cyclists can ride from Mammoth Hot Springs to Willow Park and from the West Entrance to Roaring Mountain.

There will be no bike access to Old Faithful or Canyon until the roads open to cars on April 20.

The park reminds people that the weather is variable during the spring and that cyclists should plan accordingly. The park also said cyclists might encounter snowplows and wildlife.

Riders are urged to carry bear spray and plan for self-rescue or repair.

More information about biking in Yellowstone is available at


33 thoughts on “Yellowstone Opens Early to Bikes…

  1. I just moved to New Mexico from Houston.
    I am now officially self employed as a full time treasure hunter. I even made up business cards that say so. This is the year when the treasure will be found. Victory is not far, but too far to talk

  2. That’s some snow, more than a few inches, prolly more than several. Just follow that snowblower, no shortcuts and watch your step
    David here

  3. Lucky you Dogbone. Thanks for the reminder to be safe Dal. Wish I was able to go this year, will have to wait until next one. Have fun for me and allow me to live through all of y’all’s adventures.

  4. When they said open to bikers I think that they meant open to bicycles. With that snow and ice they probably would ride on a mountain bike with big deflated tires.
    I will stick to my Harley when the weather is warm up there.

  5. Ha Ha. Good luck to any bicyclists trying to ride from Mammoth Hot Springs to… anywhere. I was in my pickup truck there yesterday… definitely still winter weather, roads were plowed but still had patches of snow/ice. It was windy, snowy, and visibility was not good. Did I mention it was in the low 20ºs? I wanted to go to Cooke City to look for wildlife but didn’t due to conditions. So I returned to Gardiner, where I sat at the bar in the 2 Bit Saloon and enjoyed one of the best burgers ever with a cocktail called a “beach party”… isn’t that funny? Asked the bartender to make me something fruity with rum… after he mentioned Malibu, white vodka… I said yes before he could finish a list of the rest of the ingredients. It was delicious!

    A word of warning and something for travelers to consider who have locking gas covers on their trucks. Prior to the 2 Bit, I stopped at a station across the street to fill up the tank. When I tried to insert the key into the lock on the cover, the “slot” the key normally goes into was frozen solid. The key could not be inserted, not even a tad. Went back to hotel, and poured very hot water over the key slot. After a couple dousings, I was able to open the door to the gas cap. This will now hang open until I hit a warmer climate on the way home.

    One more question about the roads open to bicyclists…. when you have to stop for a bison or two crossing the road in front of you, who has the right-of-way? I’m guessing who ever is bravest… sometimes they just stand there in the middle of the road, looking at you, not moving either front or back until they want to…

    Did I mention it is COLD here! This morning is sunnier… time to hit the road and look for wildlife…. in my truck!

    • Better to hit the road and look for wildlife than to hit the wildlife and look for the road. Stay safe Cynthia. Know where I can find some oil for a nugget?
      Hi Sasha!

    • Lol, always an adventure in the park Cynthia. Not sure about bikes having the right away, but on snowmobiles we have a method. If the bison are walking toward us we pull over in a single file row, parking bumper to bumper, we step off on the opposite side from the big wild animals and let them walk by the “fence” we have built. If they are traveling the same direction as us we group up, bumper to bumper, and try to move through them, that doesn’t work all the time. The experience really reminds us of how small we really are.

    • Thanks for the update Cynthia. Did the Two Bit still have a poker table? If my memory is correct that two bit table ate more than a few of my measly YP pay checks back in the day. In hindsight the bi-weekly hold-em investment was well worth my educational ante.

      • Straw, I don’t know if the poker table is still there or not. There was a row of poker slot machines where 2 drunk guys sat, cursed, and sang loudly along with the classic rock songs blasting from the speakers. It was awesome… they added to the local ambience! It was the highlight of an otherwise dismal day, weather-wise.

    • Cynthia,

      Try some WD-40 in the gas cap lock using the little red pipette that comes with the can. It helps keep the tumbler from icing up because the water won’t stick to the metal covered by the mixture.

  6. Just out of curiosity, if you slide on some ice (in a car) into those snow walls from the first pic above, does it do anything? I.e. damage your car, you get stuck, etc. I picture it kind of gently keeping you on the road without really hurting anything, but I have no basis for that being actually the case.

    • I actually got stuck against one a couple of years ago. Bringing a sedan into snow and ice in a storm is not a great idea by the way. The effort to put on 1 set of chains did not help as I just kept sliding back into the snow wall. It didn’t hurt the car but I did end up getting towed and since it’s Lexus I had to have the large flat bed variety tow me out to a place where I could buy one more set of chains.

  7. Always keep an eye on your bike!Last Friday was a gorgeous day here in the midwest so I rode my bike out into the countryside to look for arrowheads. I locked my bike to a tree as I went down to search a creek i have permission to hunt . I wasnt gone but a half hour, and was never more than a hundreds yards from my bike, but the creek was bendy,and the bike was out of my eyeline.When I returned both tires had been stolen and I had a long walk home 🙁

  8. Geeze Lousie, Dal, I just read your account of your early “search” in April 2012 where you rode your bike to Madison Junction, trudged up the hill, rolled down same hill, and then, exhausted and practically frostbit to death and close to hypothermia, bicycled your way back to West Yellowstone. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING???

    I want all the readers to know I did nothing dangerous on my current trip… I used good sense and postponed my drive to Cooke City yesterday to look for wildlife because the road surface was still slick and visibility was horrible. It was difficult to make that decision but I’d hate for anything bad to happen where another Fenn searcher has to be rescued inside YNP. Or worse…

    Today’s weather started out with sunny skies, albeit cold at 16º but I was not on a bicycle, horseback, covered wagon, or on foot. I was comfy inside my Dodge Ram truck. The roads were still icy where the trees lined both sides through the forest but just in patches… As a driver who lives in New Mexico and seldom drives in snow, there were brief stretches that were sphincter clenching, constipation alleviating spurts but all in all, ok. All you folks who drive in snow can have a good chuckle over this!

    I watched a billion bison, dozens of elk and deer, a giant BigHorn sheep, coyote, crows, magpies (were Heckle and Jeckle magpies?) and finally a moose eating the top branches in a thicket of willows. Unfortunately, she was hundreds of yards away but I had my binocs and zoom lens. I wish I could see one closer.. they look like prehistoric gigantic lugs. I arrived at Slough Creek too late to see the wolves… maybe next time. And I saw no bears… bummer. Maybe I can invite Dal to join me in June… I can roll him down a hill… at least the grizzlies might be curious and come out to play!

    I go home tomorrow…. probably, unless I have a dream…

  9. It sounds like you had an awesome trip Cindy! I am glad to hear that you are still all in one piece after your adventure! And yes Heckle and Jeckle were magpies! LOL


  10. Also when back home, check your email. I wanted to talk about a few things in private so a certain blogger (not dal) does not steal or repeat anything I say as if they own it.

    I have a couple things that might help you in Montana, and since I am not searching MT I figured I would pass it along (in private).

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