This guest post is from Jessica at Bring The Kids.
Are you looking for a chance to slow down and really soak in more of the beauty of Yellowstone? Consider biking around Yellowstone. Not only does it allow you to take in more of the sights and get off the beaten path, but biking Yellowstone can give you access to the park when most visitors aren’t allowed in. Yellowstone is one of the best National Parks for biking!
Where Can You Bike In Yellowstone?
Biking is allowed on park roads, in parking areas, and on designated bike paths. Bikes are not allowed on any backcountry trails, boardwalks, or oversnow routes in the park. Below we’re sharing some of the best bike routes in Yellowstone.
Can I Ride an E-bike in Yellowstone?
Yes, Yellowstone allows e-bikes everywhere that traditional bikes are allowed. If you don’t have good endurance, struggle riding hills, or just want a more relaxed day, riding an e-bike through Yellowstone is a great option. If you’re new to riding an e-bike, remember that e-bikes take a little bit of time to get used to. They’re significantly heavier than a traditional bike so use extra care when you mount and dismount your bike.
Can I Rent A Bike in Yellowstone?
Yes, bike rentals are available at Old Faithful from Yellowstone National Park Lodges. Prices start at $10/ hour for adult bikes and $8/hour for kids’ bikes. There is limited availability, so plan on getting there early in the day if you want to rent bikes.
From Mel: You can rent bikes in West Yellowstone, MT, Livingston, MT, and Jackson, WY.
Is It Safe To Bike In Yellowstone?
Biking in Yellowstone can be quite dangerous depending on where you are riding. Park roads have cars and RVs often going much faster than the speed limit, so use caution when biking on roads. Keep in mind also that most of the drivers in Yellowstone are much more concerned with trying to spot animals out their side windows than looking for bikers in front of them. The best bike routes in Yellowstone are those that are close to parking areas or have designated bike paths.
If you want to bike on the roads in Yellowstone, you’ll want significant road biking experience before you go, or to plan on going in spring or fall when the roads are closed to auto visitors.
What Should I Bring With Me When I Bike In Yellowstone?
When biking in Yellowstone, make sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, a hat, insect repellent, and a good fitting bike helmet. (If you are renting a bike, a helmet will be included with the rental) During the cooler months, you’ll also want to bring a warm jacket and gloves.
Make sure to always carry bike repair supplies with you, so that your day of biking isn’t ruined by a flat tire. Some essentials you’ll want to bring are a pump, spare tube, patch kit, and bike toolkit. Always make sure to wear high-visibility clothing, especially if you’re planning on biking on any Yellowstone roads.
Biking in Yellowstone can be a great way to see more of the park while getting some exercise. Just make sure to plan your route carefully, bring the right supplies, and be aware of your surroundings.
Animal Safety While Biking In Yellowstone
When biking in Yellowstone, it’s important to be aware of the wildlife you may encounter. Bears, elk, and bison are all common in the park and can be dangerous if they feel threatened. When you’re hiking, you’ll gradually come upon animals, but they are often more startled by bikes because they travel faster.
Here are some tips to practice good animal safety while biking in Yellowstone:
- Stay on designated trails (where bikes are allowed) and never bike alone
- Make plenty of noise so you don’t startle animals
- Always carry bear spray and have it easily accessible in an outside pocket or on your belt
If you see a bear, elk, or bison while biking, stop pedaling and slowly back away. Make sure to keep an eye on the animal and never turn your back on it. If you are too close to the animal or it feels threatened, use your bear spray.
Fall and Spring Biking In Yellowstone
During spring and fall each year, the park is not open to auto visitors, but the roads are open for park maintenance crews. These are easily the best times of year to bike in Yellowstone.
If you’re looking for a more peaceful biking experience and don’t want to worry about sharing the road with cars, consider biking in Yellowstone during fall or spring. In the fall, the leaves are changing color and the roads are closed to automobile visitors. This means that you can bike without having to worry about traffic.
In the spring, the roads are still closed to cars, but the weather is much milder. This is a great time to bike and see all of the park’s beautiful wildflowers, and possibly some wildlife babies.
During these times, maintenance vehicles can still be on the road, so it’s important to still use caution.
Just be aware that some trails and areas may be closed due to winter conditions in the spring and fall. Always check with a park ranger before you head out on your bike.
Best Bike Trails In Yellowstone
In Yellowstone, there are several trails and gravel roads that are open to bike riding. Here are some of the best places to bike within Yellowstone.
Riverside Bike Trail
Located near the west entrance of Yellowstone, this trail follows the same path as the Grand Loop road for several miles. This is a mostly flat trail that will give you fantastic views of the Madison River. If you bike this section later in the day, look for elk and moose drinking down at the river, and bald eagles in the trees above.
Lone Star Geyser Bike Trail
If you want to see a geyser without lots of crowds, Lone Star Geyser Trail is the place for you. This trail is relatively flat, with a few steeper sections towards the end. When you get to the end of the trail, park your bikes and enjoy watching Lone Star Geyser and cooling off in the nearby creek.
From Mel: Biking to Lone Star Geyser is one of our family’s favorite ways to explore Yellowstone.
Old Faithful Morning Glory Pool
This bike trail is one of the most popular places to bike in the park. The paved trail will take you from Old Faithful all the way out to Morning Glory Pool. Along the way, park your bikes and head out onto the boardwalks to enjoy more geysers and hot pots. If you’re renting bikes in Yellowstone, you’ll want to do this ride since it’s right by the rental area.
See more things to do at Old Faithful.
Natural Bridge Bike Trail
This is a short 2.5-mile (round trip) bike ride that takes you out to Natural Bridge. The trail is moderate in intensity and will give you stunning views of the forest around.
From Mel: We also like to hike to the Natural Bridge in Yellowstone.
Old Lake Road Bike Trail
This bike trail is an old road near Yellowstone Lake between Lake Hotel and the main road south of Lake Junction. This is an easy bike trail that gives you some great views of Yellowstone Lake. While the trail is relatively short (1 mile), pack a picnic to enjoy on the side of the lake to make a full afternoon of your bike ride.
Mount Washburn Bike Trail
This bike trail is located between Canyon Village and Tower Junction. This is a strenuous trail that allows cyclists to ride up to the top of Mount Washburn for some incredible views. The trail is 3 miles one-way.
Once at the top of Mount Washburn, you can go up the to balcony of the fire tower and see all the way to the Grand Teton Range (on a clear day). You may see mountain goats, marmots, and other wildlife.
Abandoned Railroad Bed Bike Trail
EDIT: This road was converted to the new North Entrance Road after the flood on June 13, 2022 and is no longer a good option for riding.
This is a great beginner trail that is wide and mostly flat. It follows an abandoned railroad bed for about 9 miles. This trail is near the North Entrance of Yellowstone. It’s also called Old Gardiner Road.
Bunsen Peak Loop Bike Trail
This trail is for more experienced riders and offers some great views of the park. It’s about 10 miles long and has some steep climbs and descents, so you’ll want to make sure you’re in good shape to ride this trail. Mountain bikes are recommended for this trail since there are some rougher sections of trail.
Start at the Bunsen Peak Trailhead and follow the flattish dirt road a bit before it becomes steep and winding, dropping 960 feet in 2.5 miles to Glen Creek. It meets the Golden Gate Service Road near the National Park Service garage buildings and heads toward Joffe Lake (1.5 miles) and follows the Glen Creek drainage steeply back uphill on a service road until it meets back up with the Grand Loop Road. Most of the trail is a dirt road and mountain bikes are highly recommended.
Alternatively, leave a shuttle vehicle at the National Park Service garage buildings so your ride is all downhill!
Yet another alternative is to start at the Bunsen Peak Trailhead and ride to the Osprey Falls Trailhead (and walk to the falls), which is a relatively gentle 6.5 miles roundtrip.
If you’re looking for a great bike ride in Yellowstone, any of these trails will do the trick. Just be sure to check with park rangers before you head out to make sure the trail you want to ride is open and that conditions are safe. Biking in Yellowstone is a fun experience that will make your time in Yellowstone much more memorable.
Jessica Averett is an outdoor-loving mom of 5 kids. She believes that the best memories are made outside and mixed with a little bit of dirt! You can follow some of her best outdoor advice at BikingKids.com
More Tips for Visiting Yellowstone
- Start Here! Planning a Trip to Yellowstone