Spring biking in Yellowstone- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Spring biking in Yellowstone

    I am from California (please, no derision or jeers. I am far away from LaLa Land and Frisco, in the NE corner of the state.)

    Looking at a Spring ride in Yellowstone in April before the roads open to cars. From the YNP website it looks like the only section of road reliably open then is West Entrance to Mammoth. Possible two easy days of ~50 miles each West to Mammoth, spend the night, return. Anyone done this and have feedback?
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  2. #2
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    I've usually just done out and backs to the Madison junction -- there's always a headwind riding back West Yellowstone.

    Last time I did it (2 years ago?) I think the road down to Old Faithful was closed for road work in the shoulder season.

    One year I want to do THAT ride, as the climb wouldn't be nearly as bad as up and over to Mammoth, where I suspect you're more likely to run into pockets of snow/ice pending snowload and spring melt...

  3. #3
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    Be prepared for ice, snow, and bison. Don't feel bad if you must turn back short of your goal.
    I don't know what trail we're on, but at least it's getting dark

  4. #4
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    Thanx. I did not consider the headwinds. I know of the climb and steep grade into Mammoth.

    I anticipate some snow and ice on the roads, and the road needing repair in places. In that light, would you recommend a road bike or a MTB with a wider traction tire? Also, I understand the bison have the right of way. If encountered on the road you must not hurry or harass them, instead dismount and wait until they get the notion to move on.
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  5. #5
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    I'm not 100% certain but I believe the section of road they are working on between Norris and Mammoth was left as dirt at the end of summer. It is about 6 miles or so. That section would be very dicey on a road bike I would imagine, as it will be either snow, ice or mud. I wasn't up that way at all in the fall but I'm pretty sure it is still a work in progress.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CKnapp1983 View Post
    I'm not 100% certain but I believe the section of road they are working on between Norris and Mammoth was left as dirt at the end of summer. It is about 6 miles or so. That section would be very dicey on a road bike I would imagine, as it will be either snow, ice or mud. I wasn't up that way at all in the fall but I'm pretty sure it is still a work in progress.
    I drove that section in September and I don't really remember any long stretches of dirt. I'd for sure ride it on a road bike. But I was in a truck so maybe I don't remember really well. I've ridden the section from West Yellowstone into the Madison Junction and back and it was fun. Buffalo and elk along the road.

    I live in West Yellowstone half the year. My neighbor just sent me a photo of my house and the snow is deep this year. Where it slides off my roof, it's piled all the way up to the roof. You'll most likely be riding plowed road with some fairly deep snow. Heading up from the Madison Junction, it will only get deeper. That's a guess as you never know what the weather will do.

  7. #7
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    A road bike would be fine, but run a larger CX type (33-28c) tire if you can - the road will be rough in spots, you may be riding through extensive sections of roadwork, and expect there will be gravel and sundry detritus along the shoulders.

    Be prepared for cold, potentially wet weather.

    And particularly this year, I'd call ahead to verify conditions and have a Plan B. We have had a BIG snow year this year (I live just outside Yellowstone/Grand Teton NP), and it's anyone's guess at this point what roads may or may not be open in the park in April.
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

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