Touring - Yellowstone
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04-13-08, 09:24 PM
Hey, me and some friends were talking about going to Yellowstone at the end of the summer and just camping and biking around, but we honestly don't know much about Yellowstone. Is it bike friendly? Do we need mountain bikes or will we be ok on are road bikes? Will we be eaten by bears? Or does anyone know of a better national park to go to?
04-13-08, 09:47 PM
Very few national parks are especially bike friendly.
Yellowstone has narrow roads with a lot of traffic.
Grand Teton and Jackson Hole are more hike & bike friendly.
Glacier in Montana has stunning mountain scenery.
No, you will not get eaten by a bear.
The last bear victim in a frontcounty camptground was in 1943.
But you should NEVER EAT IN YOUR TENT.
Maybe check out some of the Canadian parks north of Glacier as well. All the RV traffic in Yellowstone combined with the narrow windy roads would give me the willys if I was cycling. Awesome park (visited for a month on my move out here), but very cycle unfriendly.
04-14-08, 05:51 AM
Yellowstone was fun when we passed through while doing the Trans America. We liked it a lot. There lots of good sights to see within a short hike from the road, or even from the road itself. There is a lot of cool looking geothermal stuff of various descriptions, also beautiful waterfalls, etc. Wildlife is plentiful.
The roads are OK. They are fairly narrow and mostly without shoulders, but we didn't find that to be a huge problem. It might have been worse if we had passed through on a weekend.
It isn't completely clear if you are bike touring or car camping with bikes along. If bike touring, campsites are guaranteed even if the campgrounds are otherwise full.
BTW: The Tetons are close enough to tour both Yellowstone and the Tetons in the same trip if you have a little time.
04-14-08, 08:58 AM
I worked a summer in Yellowstone. Roads are not bike friendly but they are doable, just narrow. As for bears, don't cook by your tents, DO NOT store food or things like toothpaste in your tent, the park service provides "bear boxes" to store food in. Use them and you will be fine. Truthfully most animal attacks in Yellowstone are by Bison, and Bison often use the roads as trails, although this is more likely in the winter. Biggest thing to watch for is if you come up on Bison on both sides of the road. You do not want to get between a mother and a baby. Make sure you stop and talk to the rangers as you enter the park they will give loads of good advice.
04-14-08, 09:15 AM
Like Staehpj1 hinted, I don't think I would like to try to see the park by bicycle. There is not really a bicycle trail infrastructure. Some of the roads, like near Mt. Washburn (sp?) are narrow, twisty and beat up. The Park Service did make a point of widening roads and the motorist started driving faster and killing more wildlife. Sad.
Yellowstone is the ultimate wildlife place. The grizzly bears are at about the carrying capacity of the region. We saw one last year. There is a wolf program supported by the Yellowstone Foundation. If you see cars in a pull off and spotting scopes set up, that is the Yellowstone Foundation wolf rangers. They know where the wolves are and they will let you watch them in the 'scopes. Wolves actually get near the roads.
I recommend hiking there, too. If you get 1/4 mile from the trailhead, the crowds drop off.
The wolves are actually in trouble because the federal government has prematurely removed them from the endangered species list. We need some action to protect them. Defenders of Wildlife: www.defenders.org (http://www.defenders.org)
04-14-08, 10:45 AM
Like Staehpj1 hinted, I don't think I would like to try to see the park by bicycle. There is not really a bicycle trail infrastructure. Some of the roads, like near Mt. Washburn (sp?) are narrow, twisty and beat up.
I wouldn't say that I hinted that. I liked touring Yellowstone by bike. I agree that it would depend on your tolerance for narrow roads and traffic, some will find it acceptable as I did and others not. Also where possible I would maybe avoid the weekends or minimize the mileage then.
04-14-08, 08:51 PM
Bears? Well the best thing to do is to avoid them. How? You can hang bells on your bike and that usually scares them off. If they should get too close, you can zap them with pepper spray. But the best thing to do is to recognize their scat, so you know they are in the area. How do you know it is bear scat? You taste it. If it tastes like pepper and there are bells in it, you will know it is bear. :)
This was posted by another member but it is so goo it bears repeating. :)
04-15-08, 10:33 AM
We rode Yellowstone, from Gardiner southeast to the Grand Canyon before joining the TransAm at Lake Yellowstone, last September. We found little traffic in the park, especially up north. We did ride in the rain for 2 days from Dunraven Pass to Moran, so this may have decreased the traffic in the south end of the parks. The riding was beautiful, with the really vibrant colors (fall colors starting to come out too). Food in the park is expensive, so I suggest packing your own as much as possible.
Every park campground has hiker/biker spots for discounted rates. The Park Service has a policy of NEVER turning away a hiker or biker, so you'll find camping options at every stop. The folks at the Flagg Ranch Lodge on the west side of the Rockefeller Parkway just south of the Yellowstone south entrance are really great. We showed up in their upscale lodge cold, wet, and dirty and they sat us down in the dining room for a reasonably priced dinner and treated us really well. As a result, we stayed in their campground a few hundred feet from the Snake River. The next morning, it was 22 degrees when we woke up and we returned to the lodge's beautiful stone fireplace and ate cinnamon rolls from the lodge store and dried our shoes. Really great folks there.
As far as bears are concerned, a couple of the campgrounds we stayed in had seen bears recently, but not during our stays. Never eat near or in your tent (be mindful of cooking smells blowing across your tent, as well. Take a set of non-eating clothes and keep your eating clothes with your food stash. You should be fine.
I'd be just as concerned with bison on the road. You'll feel much more exposed on your loaded rig than the gawkers in their cars. We found a ton of bison on the road near 3 Falls and south of the Grand Canyon.
edit: There were bear boxes at every campground we stayed in in the parks.
04-15-08, 11:30 AM
Food in the park is expensive, so I suggest packing your own as much as possible.
The food there was pretty good though and prices weren't completely crazy, so depending on how tight the budget is...
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