Bicycle Touring the Greater Yellowstone Region

Bicycle tour yellowstoneThe Greater Yellowstone Region is a fabulous destination for a bicycling adventure; the mountains and valleys are a treat for the eyes and a test for the body.

Yellowstone and Grand Teton Parks are crowded and most of the roads are narrow with lots of traffic and potholes.  While the roads are lousy, campgrounds go out of their way to accommodate bikes. Yellowstone's and Grand Teton park campgrounds fill up fast so one must get a spot early, but an exception is made for bicyclists.  Bikes are always welcomed and will not be turned away from a full campground.  If one is a cyclist, the campground fee is reduced. Slower speed limits improve safety on park roads, but limits are often broken many cars zoom by. 

Yellowstone is an interesting place, but due to its popularity, it can be hectic and risky for cyclists so exercise all due caution. Motorized drivers are mesmerized by nature’s embarrassment of riches and are rarely aware of anything on the road. Approximately 300 miles of roadway are available to the bicyclist and commonly long distances exist between developed areas. Road Elevations range from 5300 feet to 8860 feet requiring extra time and energy between various points of travel. Some notable climbs inside the park are Craig Pass at 8261 feet, Sylvan Pass at 8530 feet and Dunraven Pass at 8859 feet.

Cool and cloudy days are typical during the months of May and June. July and August are characterized by warm days and cool nights, and always be prepared for our regular afternoon thundershowers. September and October generally have clear and cool days, providing excellent riding weather. However, occasional early season snowstorms can occur in late September and October.

Bicycle touring through in the Greater Yellowstone Region can be a rewarding experience although advance preparation is essential for a successful and enjoyable trip.

Nearly all the gateway communities surrounding Yellowstone connect to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks via designated Scenic Byways and are all gorgeous bicycle tour routes the provide a plethora of camping and other recreational opportunities


Barley farm Teton Scenic BywayTeton Scenic Byway - (Teton Valley ID) The jagged teeth of the Teton Mountain Range are actually in Wyoming, but for many bicyclers prefer “the quiet side” on the western slopes, along the Teton Scenic Byway. At nearly 10 million years young, the Tetons are the newest mountains in the Rockies. In fact, they continue to grow today at the snail-like pace of about an inch every hundred years. In fact, the largest peak on the range, Grand Teton, now stands at 13,772 feet. ...........................Beginning at Swan Valley, this stunning bicycle tour travels east on Idaho 31 through the beautiful Pine Creek pass to the town of Victor, and then north on Idaho 33, along the western side of the Teton Range. The mountains sharply contrast with the rolling agricultural fields to the north and west. In the towns of the Teton Valley, Victor, Driggs, and Tetonia, travelers can enjoy small town hospitality, internationally famous resorts and festival events held throughout the year. West of Tetonia, the byway turns north on Idaho 32, offering glimpses of the Tetons and the Falls River until it reaches Ashton, where the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway begins.

Fort Henry Scenic Byway - (Island Park ID) See the first white settlement marked by the Fort Henry Monument, from which this byway gets its name. A new monument now replaces the old one at the original site. The old monument relocated in an adjoining field can be viewed from the original site. This route trails along BLM land, desert and mountain ranges; where herds of deer and elk, as well as Sharp Tail and Sage Grouse can be seen as you peddle your way along the Red Road.

Upper Mesa Falls, Island Park, Idaho•  Mesa Falls Scenic Byway - (Island Park ID) The Mesa Falls Scenic Byway begins where the Teton Scenic Byway reaches its northern end in Ashton, at the junction of U.S. 20 and Idaho 47. From there, the route travels through the town of Warm River toward its main attractions: the Upper and Lower Mesa Falls.

Wind River Canyon Scenic Byway – (Wind River Valley) From the southern entrance in the town of Shoshoni to just north of Thermopolis, the Wind River Canyon Scenic Byway offers 34 miles of fascinating Wyoming geology, history, and recreation. ....................Take the byway between the ancient rock cliffs of Wind River Canyon--the same path once used by Native Americans, explorers, and pioneers. Continue through the Wind River Indian Reservation, keeping an eye out for bighorn sheep. Enjoy fishing and rafting opportunities just off the byway on Wind River, which becomes the Bighorn River, and finish your journey by enjoying a soak at the world's largest mineral hot springs at Hot Springs National Park.

Beartooth Highway -  (Red Lodge MT) Heralded as one of the most scenic drives in the United States the route features breathtaking views of the Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains, and open high alpine plateaus dotted with countless glacial lakes, forested valleys, waterfalls and wildlife. The Scenery isn't the only thing that will take the breath away from the bicyler as there is no air up ther at the top. The Beartooth All-American Road provides easy access to Yellowstone National Park at its northeast entrance. Take time to enjoy this unique travel destination and all of the amenities, attractions and historic sites in the great Yellowstone area. Visits to the gateway communities of Cooke City and Red Lodge, Montana and Cody, Wyoming will complete an unparalleled family western vacation.

North fork shoshone River, cody wyomingBuffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway - (Cody WY)US Highway 14-16-20, the Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway, follows the North Fork of the Shoshone River through the scenic Wapiti Valley to the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The route is known for its abundant wildlife, astonishing rock formations, and recreational opportunities. Six miles west of Cody the highway skirts Buffalo Bill Reservoir, a source of excellent trout fishing, and location of Buffalo Bill State Park. The Park has facilities for camping, picnicking, boating, and windsurfing.

Wyoming Centennial Scenic Byway • (Dubois/Pinddale WY) the Wyoming Centennial Scenic Byway provides travellers with a rich aesthetic, cultural and historical experience, as well as views of diverse landscapes and ecosystems. It crosses the Continental Divide, and offers a route that, although well-traveled, is "off the beaten path" between Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. The route provides a loop opportunity for visitors to these two famous National Parks, and is part of the Federal Highway system that includes other nearby scenic byways, such as the Beartooth Highway.

Big Sky Loop • (Livingston MT) This challenging three-day ride can be done either self-supported or sagged. It traverses nearly 200 miles of some of the most scenic and least populated landscapes of south-central Montana. You begin by riding up the bucolic Shields River Valley to Clyde Park and Wilsall. From White Sulphur Springs you'll climb eastward over the northern flank of the Castle Mountains, then descend along the Musselshell River through one of the prettiest pieces of mountain-and-ranch country anywhere in the West. From Harlowton you'll bear due south for Big Timber, where you'll turn west to follow the Yellowstone River back to Livingston.

Bridger Canyon • (Bozeman MT) The road bike ride from Bozeman and up Bridger Canyon is a classic. Good shouldered pavement, stunning scenery and a healthy climb or two thrown in for good measure are recipe for a refreshing road bike outing. The directions for the ride are fairly simple. Begin in downtown Bozeman, from Main Street look for Rouse Avenue, Highway 86 and head north. There is also signage to Bridger Bowl Ski Area in which to help guide. Rouse turns into Bridger Canyon Road; stay on this road the whole way. You can turn around at the end of the climb at Battle Ridge Pass, which is approximately 20 miles from town. Along the route enjoy the scenic countryside with the tremendous views of the snow-capped Bridger Mountain Range always looming to the west. It is approximately 1400 feet in elevation gain from Bozeman, 4800 feet, to Battle Ridge Pass at 6200 feet, so the climbing is gradual.This ride is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to great riding near Bozeman. Check out the other side of the Bridger’s by going north on Springhill Road or head south into the Gallatin Range by tackling the climb up to Hyalite Reservoir.

Chief Joseph Scenic Byway • (Cody Wyoming) Located along the northeastern edge of Yellowstone National Park, the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway offers spectacular views and a unique history. However, not only will you find the breathtaking beauty that Wyoming is known for, you will find world-class opportunities for wildlife viewing, access to a variety of recreation oppportunities, and a chance to see the land where the legendary flight of Chief Joseph and his band of Nez Perce occurred. Dedicated to this story, the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway offers you the opportunity to learn more of this tragic tale. From prehistoric times to the present, the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway has much to reveal about the relationship between the natural environment and human history. Length: 47.0 mi

Outfitters and Tour Operators
Bicycling Yellowstone greater Backroads Tours • For unparalleled beauty and wilderness, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks shine in scenic splendor. As two of the country’s best-known parklands, these glorious examples of Wyoming’s varied and rugged wilderness never fail to inspire even the most well traveled. With its steaming fumaroles, thundering geysers and bubbling pools, Yellowstone is a geological treasure. And rising in great jagged waves, the Tetons offer nothing less than staggering grandeur with their alpine lakes, soaring peaks and valleys teeming with wildlife. Come along with Backroads to an extraordinary setting that invites exploration by bike, foot and kayak.
Articles
 

Wayne's Yellowstone / Grand Teton bike tour • Welcome to my 3rd crazyguyonabike tour report. I'm a veteran bike tourist, having done more than 23,000 miles of self-contained tours (click my name above to see a list of all the tours on my bio page). So on this trip report you won't read about how I prepared for the physical and mental rigors of a big new adventure. You won't read about any life-changing events. And you won't read about how I gathered and tested the equipment. Bike tours are a routine (but fun and satisfying) thing for me. This trip report is mainly just a travelogue, with details about where I went and what I did, and some comments about how I felt. I hope this trip report will give you information, ideas, and inspiration for your own bike tour to someplace special. Failing that, I hope you will at least find this report to be interesting and entertaining, with some nice pictures.


Custom Search