GRANITE PEAK PUBLICATIONS: Accompanying travelers to the national park since 2002

All posts tagged bicycles

Late fall travel in Yellowstone

Categories: Transportation
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Cyclist enters Yellowstone National Park All roads close to public motorized vehicles at 8 am on November 5, 2018, except the road between the North Entrance and the Northeast Entrance. Outside the park to the northeast, the Beartooth Highway is closed, but the Chief Joseph Highway remains open.

This is when the fall bicycling shoulder season begins. However, the weather forecasters are predicting wind and snow for this weekend, so conditions will not be ideal. See the National Park Service’s Spring & Fall Bicycling for more. The shoulder season lasts until about the third week of November, when plowing operations stop so that enough snow can accumulate on the roads to support oversnow travel.

Then the Grand Loop Road will open to snowcoaches and snowmobiles on December 15, ending the fall season officially.

Photo credit: NPS photo from the Yellowstone National Park Flickr album, Jacob W. Frank, June 13, 2018.

Cycling through early Yellowstone in 1892

Categories: News, Through Early Yellowstone
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Gate of the Mountains Albert Hencke

The Gate of the Mountains by Albert Hencke (1865-1936), originally published in 1893 in Outing magazine. Click for a larger version.

This month Dave Iltis of Cycling Utah decided to reprint Janet Chapple’s annotated version of “Lenz’s World Tour Awheel” in its entirety in the late summer issue of their magazine, Cycling Utah / Cycling West. Cycling Utah has been providing cycling news, information and events in the western United States since 1993. Dave bought the book in the shop at the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center and decided that the charming adventure story deserves wide readership among bicycle riders. You can even get the whole magazine issue as a free download from that website.

Philadelphia-born Frank Lenz made his pioneering side trip through the then 20-year-old Yellowstone National Park as part of his solo round-the-world cycling journey. It took place in late August 1892, but even so he encountered snow. As he says:

I was congratulating myself upon having passed through the most uncomfortable portion of my trip when I espied it raining on the opposite side of the river, and soon the icy-cold spray reached me. When within half a mile of a government engineer’s camp, what was my surprise to see the rain change into snow. As it blew up quite strong. I made for the cook’s tent for shelter, and here for three hours I thawed out my fingers and feet, which were nearly frozen.

Lenz’s story is one of the highlights of our enjoyable anthology, Through Early Yellowstone: Adventuring by Bicycle, Covered Wagon, Foot, Horseback, and Skis. Other highlights, according to Aaron Parrett’s Montana book roundup in Montana: The Magazine of Western History, include Nathaniel P. Langford’s 1871 “Wonders of the Yellowstone,” Margaret Andrews Allen’s “A Family Camp in Yellowstone Park” (1885) and the journalist Ray Stannard Baker’s “A Place of Marvels: Yellowstone Park As It Now Is” (1903). You can read this and other reviews to learn more.

If you are interested in the shoulder seasons for cycling in the park, see the National Park Service’s Spring & Fall Bicycling page.

—Beth Chapple, Editor and Publisher

Why we say it is Yellowstone National Park’s birthday today

Categories: History, Through Early Yellowstone
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1872 Yellowstone act excerpt

Excerpt from page 50 of Through Early Yellowstone

On the first of March in 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the bill setting aside “the tract of land in the Territories of Montana and Wyoming, lying near the head-waters of the Yellowstone river,” creating the nation’s first national park at Yellowstone. We reproduce the text of that act in our historical anthology, Through Early Yellowstone, to share with other readers what this foresightful law was meant to do. This land was “set apart as a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” And the act continues to inspire governments to dedicate land for conservation throughout the world—just look at Chile and Peru for recent examples.

The month of March in Yellowstone also means that park roads start to close to oversnow travel, in preparation for plowing and reopening in April and May. While the road from the North Entrance (Gardiner) to the Northeast Entrance (Cooke City) is open year-round, today at 9 pm the road from the East Entrance to Lake Butte Overlook (Sylvan Pass) closes to snowcoaches and snowmobiles, and other roads follow throughout the next two weeks. Conditions permitting, there is also a schedule for reopening the roads for motorized traffic. See the Park Roads page at https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/parkroads.htm.

This period between closing the park roads to oversnow travel and reopening them is a time when cyclists and hikers can travel the roads but car drivers are not allowed. See the National Park Service’s Spring & Fall Bicycling page to learn about the regulations and reminders, since you must still share the road with bears, administrative vehicles, and snow removal equipment. No services are available within the park during the spring shoulder season.

—Editor and Publisher, Beth Chapple

Updated August 20, 2018.

Great bike-riding opportunity this month!

Categories: News, Trip planning
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Some of the plowed roads in Yellowstone are open for just a short time every year to bike riders. This great opportunity to enjoy the road from West Yellowstone to Mammoth car-free lasts until April 15th, when the other park roads gradually open to motorized vehicles. You can enjoy the quiet, the animals, and all the beauties of the northwest part of the park on two skinny wheels. Click here for all the details. Note that the road from Madison to Old Faithful is closed at this time for bear management.

The same privilege is offered by Glacier National Park in northern Montana, another paradise. But Going-to-the-Sun Highway requires really ambitious bike riders with good brakes!

Snow bikes

Categories: On the Web, Transportation, Winter
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Behold! Another mode of transportation I didn’t know existed: a snow bicycle, in particular one made by Surly Bikes. This is not a commercial, and I know very little about bikes, but it seems like an interesting idea to me. Here’s what I read about it:

Recently, 53-year-old Rick Buchanan was turned away when he tried to lead a group of snow cyclists into Yellowstone National Park.
Tim Reid, Yellowstone’s chief ranger, told Buchanan that the bike is not an approved means of winter travel, therefore, the group could not ride in the park. Under Yellowstone’s winter management plan, one can only enter the park by approved snowmobiles, snowcoaches, cross-country skis, or snowshoes. But the snow bike has actually been gaining popularity in the past 5 years.

My hope is that the park authorities will get in step with this new possibility and begin allowing them into the park during the winter season.
For more details, see “Snow Cyclists in Yellowstone.”

2011

Good news for bicycle riders at Old Faithful

Categories: Transportation, Trip planning
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For those of us who live too far from Yellowstone to make it practical to take bikes along when we visit, there are now bikes for rent in Old Faithful Village. The concessionaire Xanterra announces that “the bike shop at Old Faithful Snow Lodge offers hybrid bikes for rent to help make your Yellowstone bike riding even more pleasant. Helmets, racks, bike trains, trailers, jackets, gloves, hip packs, are available for rent as well. Call the Bike Shop number for details.” Phone is: (307)545-4825.

What I’ve been wanting to do ever since walking five or six miles each day to see geysers has become more of a chore than a pleasure is to rent a bike to cover the distance from the settled part of Old Faithful out past predictable Castle, Daisy, and Riverside geysers to Fan and Mortar (which is erupting every few days so far this summer). Now it’s a possibility even if you arrive in an airplane or don’t want to put bikes on your car for a long road trip.
Here are some details: Every day between June 1st and September 30th this summer [2010] you can rent adult bikes for $8.00 an hour, $25.00 for a half day, or $35.00 for a full day, and child bikes for less. There are several pleasant places to bike from Old Faithful besides the Geyser Route Two that I write about in Yellowstone Treasures (pages 98-102). However, some rides would require putting bikes on a bike rack on your car unless you ride on the Grand Loop Road—which I don’t really recommend.