The Complete Guide To Biking In Yellowstone

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Looking for a unique way to see Yellowstone National Park?  Plan on bringing your bike on your next visit to Yellowstone and exploring some of the most beautiful places in the west, from the speed and comfort of your bike.  

While driving through Yellowstone is nice, biking through Yellowstone is absolutely amazing since it allows you to slow down and really soak in the scenery with all it’s sights, sounds, and smells!

dad and baby biking through Yellowstone

While bikes are technically allowed anywhere that cars are allowed in Yellowstone, we DO NOT recommend riding on regular roads in Yellowstone.  The roads in Yellowstone have almost no shoulder for bikes to ride safely on, and the drivers in Yellowstone are some of the most distracted EVER (many are focusing much more on looking for wildlife than on watching the road).  Keep yourself safe and stick to designated bike routes within Yellowstone.

We recently had a family reunion up in Yellowstone and our group had over 20 of us on bikes ranging from age 2 to age 65, so there really is something for all ages to bike in Yellowstone.

Read: 10 Awesome Adventures To Do With Kids In Yellowstone

Biking in yellowstone Guide

Best Time Of Year For Biking In Yellowstone

If you’re planning on biking in Yellowstone, you’ll want to pay attention to when you visit the park.  Yellowstone is the most crowded from early June until Labor day and the traffic on the roads is almost always heavy then.  However, traffic is significantly lighter in May and September when the weather is still nice, but the crowds of tourists haven’t arrived yet.  If you’re looking for the best time to bike in Yellowstone, May and September are the absolute best months.  

From late October until April, most of the park is covered in snow so biking isn’t possible then anyway.  If you can, plan on biking Yellowstone in the late spring or early fall.

There is also a short period of time every fall and spring when the roads of the park are closed to cars, but are open to bikes.  Check out the Yellowstone Biking site for more information.  

Can I Go Mountain Biking In Yellowstone?

While you are allowed to ride a mountain bike in Yellowstone, there are no singletrack mountain bike trails in Yellowstone.  There are, however, many singletrack trails just outside of the national park boundaries (check out the TrailForks app for current trail conditions).

Can Kids Bike in Yellowstone?

kids biking in Yellowstone

Yes, kids can absolutely bike in Yellowstone and they’ll probably love every minute of it.  Instead of hiking for an hour, our kids were thrilled to be biking 20 minutes to check out the geysers, and love the thrill of downhill rides through the forest.  For kids who are not experienced enough on a bike to ride a couple of miles, consider a bike trailer, bike seat, or a tag-along bike. Biking Yellowstone with kids is an adventure that they won’t soon forget!

Camping Benefits of Biking In Yellowstone

Yellowstone is one of the most difficult places to find a campground in the entire United States.  Most campgrounds fill up close to a year in advance, and the walk in campsites are often taken shortly after sunrise.  

If you’re looking for a good way to camp in Yellowstone where you have a good chance of getting a campground, consider bikepacking in Yellowstone.  Bikepacking is similar to hiking backpacking, where you carry all your camping gear with you on your bike.  Most of the campgrounds in Yellowstone have a certain number of sites that are designated for bike in campers, making bikepacking Yellowstone a great way to get to camp in the park.  

Safety Tips For Biking In Yellowstone

Biking in Yellowstone can be an amazing experience, but you do need to do a few things to keep yourself safe.  Our favorite biking with kids site, BikingKids.com has lots of tips you should check out as well. Here are a few things to remember for safe biking in Yellowstone National Park:

yellowstone family biking
  • Always wear a properly fitting helmet
  • Wear bright colored clothing.  Even if you’ll mostly be avoiding roads, it’s important that you’re extra visible in parking lots and along trails while biking.
  • Always carry bear spray.  
  • Carry an extra tube, tire levers, and a small pump for emergency tire repairs
  • Have a basic first aid kit with you
  • Carry plenty of water and snacks.  Yellowstone can get very hot during the day, so be prepared.
  • Equip your bike with front and rear lights if you are riding on the roads or if you will be out at dark

Best Bike Trails In Yellowstone

There are several amazing bike trails for families in Yellowstone, as well as for riders of all ages and abilities.  Many of the trails are nearby some great Yellowstone hiking trails for kids. Here are some of the best bike trails in Yellowstone:

Old Faithful To Morning Glory Pool Bike Path

A visit to Yellowstone wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Old Faithful.  Fly by the crowds on your bike and explore the whole geyser basin.  While bikes are limited to the main roads, biking Old Faithful is a great way to check out all the local geysers as well as go all the way down to Morning Glory Pool with it’s stunning colors.  The full ride is 2 miles RT and is slightly uphill on the return.

biking old faithful

Biking To Lone Star Geyser

This may be my favorite Yellowstone biking trail and I would easily classify this as the best bike trail in Yellowstone.  I love this ride because most of it is in the shade, thanks to all the forest trees, and the end is simply spectacular.  The ride goes up a dirt road with a few hills and ends at the Lone Star Geyser.  Lone Star is one of the least crowded geysers in Yellowstone and when we were there, there were only about 10 other people at the geyser, which was a breath of fresh air after visiting some of the other geyser areas.  Kids will love biking on this trail as the whole ride back is downhill.  Total ride length is 3.5 miles RT.  

biking to lone star geyser

Mount Washburn Bike Trail

Mount Washburn is a popular Yellowstone trail for hiking because it has fantastic views of Yellowstone.  Instead of hiking up the mountain, ride up from the Chittenden Road parking area.  Make sure that everyone in your group knows how to use their gears well as this Yellowstone bike trail is a pretty decent climb. At the end, you’ll be rewarded with amazing views!

biking yellowstone

Riverside Bike Trail, West Yellowstone

If you’re anxious to get on your bikes as soon as possible, check out the Riverside Bike Trail, just inside the west entrance of Yellowstone, alongside the Madison River.  This trail is a gravel road (mountain bikes or knobby tires are best here) and takes you along the river to enjoy some stunning scenery.  Often Elk, deer and moose can be seen along the riverbanks, so enjoy watching them from a distance.  This trail is great for kids since it’s fairly level.

girl biking in Yellowstone

Old Gardner Road Trail

If you’re coming in through the North entrance of Yellowstone, consider biking the Old Gardner Road trail.  THis trail starts behind the Mammoth Hot Springs hotel and continues all the way to the north entrance.  This is a great smooth trail and is fantastic for biking with kids in Yellowstone.  

Areas for Biking Near Yellowstone

If you’re planning to spend extra time around Yellowstone, we highly recommend visiting Big Sky Montana, or heading south to Grand Teton for hiking and outdoor adventure. If you have several extra days, then drive up to Glacier National Park for some of the best mountain scenery and hiking in the US.

Family Biking Grand teton

Biking For Kids in Yellowstone – SAFETY TIPS

Are there places for biking with kids in Yellowstone? YES! In fact, most of the trails are incredibly kid friendly. On our last biking trip to Yellowstone, we went with extended family and had 12 kids from ages 3-13, and it was so much fun! Here are our top tips for biking Yellowstone with kids:

  1. Make sure that kids are comfortable bike through crowds. Remind them to pull over and walk their bikes through crowded areas.
  2. Teach kids bike etiquette. If they encounter a pedestrian, they need to more over and give them plenty of space.
  3. Carry plenty of water and snacks. The high altitude of Yellowstone can make biking there more difficult than most other rides. Carrying lots of water and snacks will make sure that everyone stays hydrated and fueled on your Yellowstone family bike ride.
  4. Consider a trailer or bike seat for younger kids. Even if your young kids know how to ride a bike, the distances for Yellowstone bike rides and crowds, can make it more challenging for younger kids. Until your child is incredibly confident and competent on their bike, it’s usually better if mom and dad help them.
  5. Bring along a Tow-Whee bike strap for younger kids. We bike A LOT with our kids and the Tow-Whee bike strap is the best thing to happen for biking with young kids. It’s a large bungee type strap that you can use to pull your kids up hills so they don’t waste all their energy. We use them for kids up to about age 9 and it’s been a complete game changer for biking with kids. They’re a pretty affordable piece of bike equipment, and they last a really long time (we’ve had one for at least 6 years and it still works like new).

Are Ebikes Allowed in Yellowstone?

Yes, ebikes are allowed in Yellowstone and are classified just like regular bikes.  Ebikes in Yellowstone are allowed anywhere regular bikes are.

Can you bike into Yellowstone?

Yes, you can bike directly into Yellowstone.  The fee to enter Yellowstone by bike is $20 and the fee to drive in is $35.  While you can bike into Yellowstone, it’s important to note that most of the popular sites are quite far from the entrance stations, so they may be difficult to quickly see by bike. 

Can you rent a bike in Yellowstone?

Yes, bike rentals are available at the Old Faithful Lodge. Most of their rentals are hourly rentals, so if you need something for longer than a day, it’s probably cheaper to rent a bike outside of the park. The town of West Yellowstone has several options for shops that offer bike rentals.

Can you bike the Grand Loop Road?

Biking on the Grand Loop Road is allowed, but it can be dangerous due to traffic and lack of shoulder space. Always follow safety rules and guidelines, and make sure that you’re very visible to motorists (who are often distracted). Having a light on the front and rear of your bike (flashing is best), and wearing bright reflective clothing is one of the best ways to make yourself stand out to drivers in Yellowstone.

What wildlife can I see while biking in Yellowstone?

Wildlife such as bison, elk, and possibly even bears could be seen while biking. Always maintain a safe distance, and never ride up behind any wildlife where you could startle them. When you’re on a bike, you’re not protected at all from the Yellowstone wildlife, like you are in a car, so being extra cautious is a great idea.

What should I do if I encounter wildlife on my Yellowstone bike trip?

If you encounter wildlife, maintain a safe distance, don’t feed them, and do not block their movement. If necessary, turn around or take a different path.

Do I need a permit to bike in Yellowstone?

No, you do not need a special permit to bike in Yellowstone, but normal entrance fees apply.

Is there a speed limit for biking in Yellowstone?

The speed limit for bicycles is the same as for motor vehicles in the park, which is typically 45 mph.

Can I bike camp in Yellowstone?

Yes, but you can only camp in designated campgrounds and you must adhere to all camping regulations. Getting a camping stie can sometimes be difficult, so arrive early in the day. There are no backcountry camping options for bikers.

About Jessica Averett

Hi, I’m Jessica, a mom of 5 kids and married to my favorite adventure partner. I love to bike, ski, camp and hike. We've visited over 40 countries with our kids, but are equally happy on the road as we are exploring our home state of Utah.

1 thought on “The Complete Guide To Biking In Yellowstone”

  1. We are looking at renting bikes from Old Faithful Snow Lodge and biking from there to geysers and such. I know the Lone Star Geyser isn’t far from Old Faithful. Are there bike trails from Old Faithful to Lone Star trail? If not, it sounds sketchy to be on the road or would you say that 2 mile stretch would be manageable with a family, kids,( 7,10,13). Thanks for your opinion.

    Reply

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