YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK – Two sure signs of the onset of spring in Yellowstone are sightings of bears emerging from their dens, and the appearance of hardy and prepared bicyclists on a few sections of park roadways.

As plow crews continue to clear roads for the start of automobile travel, a portion of the park is open to bicyclists for this short season. Through April 19, the road between West Yellowstone, Madison, Norris and Mammoth Hot Springs is open to travel by adventurous and prepared bicyclists. There is no spring bicycle access to Old Faithful or Canyon areas.

Cyclists should expect to encounter and yield to snowplows or other vehicles operated by park employees or construction workers. Also, the quickly changing weather can be blustery, snowy and brutally cold. Snow and ice may cover sections of road while bears, bison, elk, wolves and other wildlife could be encountered at any time. No services are along these sections of road.

Bicyclists are encouraged to carry bear spray and should be prepared to turn around and backtrack when encountering wildlife on the road.

Snow removal efforts may also allow for a brief period of bike access into the park sometime in May from the South Entrance to West Thumb and from the East Entrance toward Sylvan Pass.

The road from the North Entrance at Gardiner to Cooke City at the park’s Northeast Entrance is open all year to cyclists and automobiles, weather permitting. Some interior park roads don’t open to automobile travel until Memorial Day weekend.

Call (307) 344-2107 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays for updated road access information, or (307) 344-2113 for 24-hour weather information before traveling to the area.