Author Topic: TransAm Closed in Yellowstone for the Season  (Read 5471 times)

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Offline jamawani

TransAm Closed in Yellowstone for the Season
« on: September 07, 2014, 07:33:47 pm »
The TransAm route through Yellowstone is closed for construction for the remainder of this year and, likely, for a chunk of 2015 over Craig Pass from Old Faithful to West Thumb. It is possible to detour via Canyon and Bridge Bay - - which is 30 additional miles. (It's actually a pretty nice route.) This route will remain open until November 3 unless - and quite possibly - closed earlier due to snow.

I have biked in Yellowstone since 1987 and it has gotten increasingly bike unfriendly - while the administration always bewails the crush of cars. Meanwhile - the NPS has constructed a cloverleaf interchange at Old Faithful so the thousands of onlookers can zoom away as soon as the geyser erupts; there are 40-foot pull-thru parking places at all of the major attractions; 4 people in a car pay $25 - but 4 cyclists pay $12 each or $48.

I have follow park activities carefully- especially cycling related activities. I toured in the park in late July. Never did I see anything related to earlier closure of Craig Pass or alternatives for cyclists - online at the park website, posted at ACA (which would have been a nice thing for the NPS to do), or posted within the park itself.

After 25 years of bike touring, I have to say that the National Park Service is, fundamentally, aimed at automotive visitors with their ever larger RVs and need for auto services. After all, everything is political and car visitors vote - especially retired folks in RVs. Whatever the various superintendents at Yosemite, Grand Canyon, or Glacier say about traffic - they really don't mean it.

Offline GSullivan

Re: TransAm Closed in Yellowstone for the Season
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2014, 04:26:10 pm »
Hi -

Yes, we hear you. We've met several times with Yellowstone NP but haven't made much impact. Our local partner, Tim Young from WY Pathways is meeting with Supt and staff again in late Oct. and we'll be passing along our concerns about the road closure and some other issues that we've recently heard about from some touring cyclists from Tennessee.

Thanks for your post and letting us know about the closure and the growing issue concerning lack of bicycle accommodations in Yellowstone.
Ginny Sullivan

Offline chippedtooth

Re: TransAm Closed in Yellowstone for the Season
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2015, 11:58:25 am »
Just a heads up to current TransAmers, the roads are apparently still closed and will remain closed until June 11 according to the NPS website.

Bumped into a cyclist who'd just been through and he said it was a total shambles. The Rangers were rude and said they 'couldn't help cyclists' and when he approached another, was told to 'get out of here'.

We'll see how we fare in a week when we get there but from the sound of it, we aren't expecting much help from the NPS!
Thanks for the tips! :)

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: TransAm Closed in Yellowstone for the Season
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2015, 08:18:28 pm »
That's a shame.  I'd suggest you plan on going up around the lake, then over to Norris, and down the Gibbon River.  If you haven't seen Old Faithful, catch a bus for a half day (or more!).

The van-supported AC tour we paralleled through there went south through Jackson and over Teton Pass, then up to West Yellowstone.  I don't remember if they were shuttled or cycled it; perhaps someone from ACA can help out.

Offline jamawani

Re: TransAm Closed in Yellowstone for the Season
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2015, 08:29:41 am »
Dear Chipped -

Looks like you are going east to west quite early in the season.
We've had a cold, wet May here in Wyoming as you probably know.
There should be a warm-up this weekend, but then another cool-down.

Don't let the Yellowstone closure get you down.
I have cycled every inch of Yellowstone road and know it is worth it.
Actually, I believe that the Canyon-Norris loop is a much better route.

From West Thumb - a lovely, active geyser basin on the lake - head NE to Lake.
It is worth getting off the main loop and heading down to the lake at Lake.
The old Lake Hotel and the views are superlative - plus there's a camp store and picnic spots.

From Lake - the road thru Hayden Valley can be narrow and busy at times -
But Hayden Valley is the Serengeti of Yellowstone - you are likely to see herds of buffalo.
There are also some lovely spots alone the Yellowstone River.

There are two access areas to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone -
Artist Point is on the South Rim (1st left) - hardly anyone walk out on the trail.
After you cross the river, make sure to use the North Rim Road to access Canyon Village.
You can hike down to the falls (long, steep) from the first turnout.
Canyon Village has the best hiker/biker campsites in the park - plus nearby showers and café.

From Canyon - it is a short ride west to Norris - pleasant campground, no store -
But Norris has the most extensive geyser basin in the park - best early morning or evening -
Thus it might make sense to camp here.

From Norris - the Gibbon River Road is a pleasant, downhill ride to Madison -
The road was reconstructed recently so it has moderate shoulders and good pavement.
Madison campground's hiker/biker sites are only so-so - no store -
But the river and cliffs are lovely here - plus elk herds with calves.

From Norris you can do an out-and-back to Old Faithful -
I would climb on the old Firehole Road - zoom back downhill on the return.
Above Firehole, the road follows the river - gentle ride.
Make sure to stop at Grand Prismatic Spring if you do this.
Old Faithful is a zoo - one zillion tourists and cars - even a cloverleaf interchange.

When riding in Yellowstone - consider riding early and late.
Because there are hiker/biker campsites, you need not worry about camping.
From the South Entrance - a late afternoon ride will keep you in the shade with lighter traffic -
Rather than roasting in the sun with heavy traffic and no shoulders while you climb.

I prefer Lewis Lake to Grant Village - quiet and pleasant.
(Actually, Grant Village Campground is closed until June 21 - bear habitat)
(And Lewis Lake is closed until June 15, too)
(Speaking of bears - never, never eat in your tent.)

http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm

So you will need to camp just south of the park -
I do not care for Flagg Ranch - expensive ($35) and touristy - but it is the only place.
You can also ride in a mile and rough camp along Grassy Lake Rd - 
Or camp at Lizard Creek in Grand Teton.

http://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/upload/GRTE_park_map_2011.pdf

It's 70 miles from Lizard Creek to Canyon Village - with a big climb.
You should plan on those endpoints - the park will arrest you if caught rough camping.
And it could mean the end of your trip if you are a foreign national.
Late May/early June is still pre-season in much of the park.
But there are ways to do it and get the most from your time in the park.

Have a great ride!  J

Pic - Hayden Valley
« Last Edit: May 30, 2015, 11:36:02 am by jamawani »

Offline chippedtooth

Re: TransAm Closed in Yellowstone for the Season
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2015, 06:31:47 pm »
Thanks for all the tips!

Based on that and looking at some maps, this is my provisional plan for the next few days, any comments would be appreciated!

We're staying in colter bay village tonight.
Tomorrow would be colter bay to Bridge Bay camp ground just shy of Lake.
Wednesday is a sightseeing day and we end up in Canyon.
Thursday is also a sightseeing day and we end up in Madison.
Then Friday morning we head from Madison down to old faithful and back before heading out of the park.

So we have pretty much all day Wednesday and Thursday to look around the park with around 25 miles of riding each day.

Does that sound like it'd work to you?

I've looked online and the NPS website says average camping cost is around $25, do you know if we'd get a better rate being cyclists?

Thanks again for all the tips! We're really looking forward to it.
Thanks for the tips! :)

Offline John Nelson

Re: TransAm Closed in Yellowstone for the Season
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2015, 06:43:02 pm »
I've looked online and the NPS website says average camping cost is around $25, do you know if we'd get a better rate being cyclists?
They'll charge you about $7 per person to stay in the hiker/biker site, which may be better or worse depending on how many of you there are.

Offline jamawani

Re: TransAm Closed in Yellowstone for the Season
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2015, 12:14:43 am »
Bridge Bay sux -  but that's just my humble opinion.
A veritable parking lot.

I've ridden every mile of pavement in the park -
Plus most of the legal dirt sections. Since 1987.

You have a fairly long ride on Tuesday - -
At the very end - there is a loop out to Gull Point -
Just before you reach Bridge Bay.
It is a pleasant and quiet diversion.
Saves a bit of climbing - adds a couple of miles.
(Or you can head out to Gull Point on Thurs - usually empty.)

Lake used to be on the Grand Loop Road but it has been realigned.
Still, it is worth turning off - the views are spectacular.
Fishing Bridge has an excellent museum and short trail out to the lake.
(Many of the lake areas are closed in spring due to grizzly feeding.)

Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the Hayden Valley -
The road is not great, but the scenery and wildlife are superb.
(They pave pull-outs for RVs - but cannot have shoulders - environmental regs, right.)

Do not overlook the south rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
The road ends at Artists' Point - with lots of tourists -
But if you hike out just 1/4 mile there will be almost no one.

Then get back on the loop road and take North Rim Drive to Canyon Village.
It is one way, so you cannot easily access it from the campground.
(They should have made it two-way for cyclists - but, but, but)
There are also great hikes from Canyon Village along the rim.

If you leave in the morning from Canyon you can tour Norris Geyser Basin -
Then have a leisurely, downhill run to Madison - getting in in early afternoon.
I might suggest riding down to O.F. in the late afternoon - stopping at Grand Prismatic Spring.
(There will be fewer people if you get there around 6:00 - 17 miles each way, lightly loaded)
Then a downhill ride back in the early evening.

Pic - Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone from Artist Point Trail

« Last Edit: June 02, 2015, 12:17:39 am by jamawani »

Offline staehpj1

Re: TransAm Closed in Yellowstone for the Season
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2015, 05:49:17 am »
I've looked online and the NPS website says average camping cost is around $25, do you know if we'd get a better rate being cyclists?
They'll charge you about $7 per person to stay in the hiker/biker site, which may be better or worse depending on how many of you there are.
When we were there with three in our group we got a regular site because it came out cheaper and was a nicer site.  That was 2007, though.

Offline cheesehawk

Re: TransAm Closed in Yellowstone for the Season
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2015, 06:42:33 am »
Hey Jama Took your advice and am NOT headed to the Big Horns. Holed up in Casper right now, waiting for some gear to arrive FedEx. I have a place to stay near Pavilion so I can cross the Wind River Red in a day to Dubois. Hearing weird things since I got to Wyo. I assume I'm OK to cross solo in the day? If anyone near Casper and heading to Yellowstone let me know and we can link up.