Yellowstone is not one of the most cycling friendly parks we've visited, in large part because of the massive amount of tourist traffic on the limited number of roads around the park. The paved road shoulders are slim to non-existent in places, there are no official bike lanes, and there are no paved bike paths. So, although there are many wonderful things about this most iconic of national parks, road cycling is not really one of them. Cars and tour buses rule here.
However, as you probably surmised, we did manage to get out a couple of times to get a few miles in. But of course we did!
Our longest ride was from our campground, Bridge Bay, to West Thumb and back. This was a beautiful ride along Yellowstone Lake and not as hilly as some of the other parts of the park. The road shoulders were pretty good here as well, compared to some of the other park roads. Here's a map showing where we rode.
Traffic ranged from nonexistent at times to much heavier, like when many vehicles would all pile up behind a slow RV. Other than once when a huge tour bus came within a few inches of my left elbow (scary!) we didn't have any real problems with vehicles. It was, however, a very windy day, so we did fight headwinds at times. When we had the wind at our backs, it was exhilarating!
Here's some of what we saw along the way. Note that we were careful to take photos only at moments when traffic was light or non-existent. This doesn't mean this is what we encountered overall, though it does look pretty idyllic in the photos, no?
Arriving in West Thumb, we checked out a bubbling mud pot. We didn't go around the geyser basin boardwalks, though, as we knew we'd be hitting this same spot the next day on a tour.
After a snack, we turned around and started heading back. There were some more gorgeous views along the way, and some startling turquoise-colored boiling pots. Definitely not for swimming!
Because of the stiff breeze, the lake was behaving more like an ocean, with whitecaps and waves. We had to stop for a photo and even used the self-timer so we could both be in it!
We especially enjoyed riding the short stretch of Gull Point Drive, off the main highway. This road was lightly traveled and so peaceful..
On the way back we rode an extra couple of miles to the Lake Village area to check out the laundry facilities at the lodge, as we were going to need to do a couple loads later in the week. Our total mileage on the day was just over 44 -- not bad!
Stay tuned as we take a bus tour and see much more of Yellowstone than we were able to by bicycle.
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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