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Cycling through Yellowstone National Park



West Yellowstone, Montana – Wide open roads in America’s first National Park with no cars in sight are a cyclist’s dream.

It’s a challenging bike journey that’s only accessible once a year in the spring.

Being prepared is crucial if you plan to bike in Yellowstone National Park or virtually anywhere in Montana this spring.

You can ensure you have a great trip by packing extra layers of clothing, warm gloves and hats, sunscreen, bear spray, lots of water, a small lunch, and a first aid kit.

The journey begins with a visit at Freeheel and Wheel, which is located just outside the park’s West Entrance.

“We’re a bicycle and cross-country ski shop,” said owner Melissa Alder. “We’ve been here in West Yellowstone for 27 years.”

The company outfits customers for outdoor activities year-round and April is sometimes the best month for a bike ride around the park.

“In April, if weather permits, they do allow bicyclists to go in and utilize some of the roadways in the park, without the public traffic happening,” said Alder.

We were prepared to attempt a trip into the park on a recent day with sunshine and dry roads.

We traveled 30 miles total from West Yellowstone to Madison Junction on our bicycles.

On the route, several other riders had more elaborate arrangements.

“Gardiner today,” said one rider named Tom. “I’m going all the way through.”

While cycling the park’s deserted roads, your intentions could change suddenly because of passing wildlife, bad weather, and other factors.

And occasionally, you’ll pass by sights that are so breathtaking that you’ll need to take your time admiring them, or perhaps stop completely.

Right now, cyclists have the most alternatives at the West Entrance. You can ride from there all the way to Mammoth, which is about 50 miles away.

Since the park’s conditions can swiftly change, it’s crucial to be ready. Additionally, since there are no services offered, you must bail yourself out if you get into difficulty.

“The park is essentially closed,” Alder said. “There’s no services. There’s no rescues.”

The headwinds in Yellowstone, which are notorious for making the 15-mile ride back to town feel particularly difficult, were the most difficult portion of our journey.

On April 21, these routes become available to traffic, and Alder advises against cycling on them once summertime tourist traffic begins.

You, therefore, have approximately a week to take advantage of Yellowstone’s enchanted Springtime.

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