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Thread: Yellowstone Road Ride Trip Report

  1. #1

    Yellowstone Road Ride Trip Report

    We took the 15-18 year old young men from our ward on a Yellowstone bike trip this past week. We basically biked nearly 165 miles in 3 days doing The Grand Loop. We drove to West Yellowstone Monday and camped a couple of miles north of town. Tuesday morning we unloaded the bikes just inside the park entrance and rode through Mammoth and into Gardner, MT. We ended up camping by Mammoth that night. One boy crashed going down the steep, tight, twisty road from Mammoth to Gardner. He ended up in the first-aid clinic in Mammoth for a couple of hours but was OK in the end. Wed. morning we began riding from Mammoth heading east and finished up at our camp by Yellowstone Lake. This second day was quite difficult as it included much climbing including a brutal 12 mile, 2,400' elevation gain grind up from Tower Falls to the top before the long descent towards the Hayden Valley. On this leg of of the ride we saw 1 grizzly bear and 8 or 9 black bears- very cool! Thursday we rode from our camp by Yellowstone Lake back to the Madison Junction thus completing our loop. We had heard that day 3 would be the easiest but it proved harder than we expected as it included a long, difficult climb out of West Thumb up to the continental divide. Overall we had a great time and finished our trip by rafting the Snake River just south of Jackson, Wyoming. I would recommend this trip to anyone looking for a good High Adventure trip for their boys but because of the level of difficulty I would keep it to the older kids not the 12-13 year olds. My son and I rode a tandem bicycle which served us very well. We rode all but about 5 miles of the brutal climb up from Tower Falls. Of the 8 boys that rode, 3 of them rode every mile without using the sag wagon and 1 of the 4 leaders as well. I felt my son and I did good considering we were on a heavy (compared to the road bikes everyone else had) tandem mountainbike which I had mounted with slicks. Good time which the boys will remember for the rest of their lives I'm sure!
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    Are we there yet?

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  3. #2
    That sounds like a great time. I was in Yellowstone last month for the first time in 15 years. I had forgotten what a great and beautiful place it is. I want to go next spring when they open the park to bikes before the cars get in.

  4. #3
    Looks like a great time, man. I got my biking merit badge back in the day, but I cheated.

  5. #4
    That sounds like a great trip. It's something the boys will never forget.

    I've done both the upper loop and the lower loop separately. The upper loop was done when I was a scout, but we took it way easier than y'all did. We did it in six days instead of three.

    Day 1: West Yellowstone to Madison
    Day 2: Madison to Mammoth
    Day 3: Mammoth to Tower
    Day 4: Tower to Norris
    Day 5: Norris to Old Faithful and back to Madison, SAG back to camp @ Norris because of the Ranger/Nazi at Madison.
    Day 6: SAG back to Madison, rode from Madison to West.

    What we did was send the SAG wagon off early to grab the next night's camp spot. After setting up a couple small tents they'd come back to check on us. They'd run ahead to the next pullout and wait, mostly so they didn't block traffic. It was a pretty good system. It was a great way to see the park on a more personal level.

    On our last night we saw two guys pull into the campground on their bikes. They were bicycle touring the USA for the summer. It's not often that teenagers are jealous of adults, but these guys were supermen in our eyes. They had kiddie trailers hooked to their bikes with their gear in them. I thought it was a way better system than paniers at the time. I was absolutely floored that they had covered 75 miles that day with all that gear.

    The lower loop was ridden more recently. Last summer two friends and I did something even more fun than riding the park in a week, we rode the entire south loop on a Saturday. We started and ended at Madison going counter clockwise, no SAG. My computer said 102 miles.

    The highlight of that trip was getting stuck in slow traffic and riding along for a mile or two next to some people on a motorcycle. They were from Tampa, FL and were doing the grand loop. It was the fifth or sixth time I had seen them. They would pass me, then they'd stop to take pictures so I would pass them. They went north at Canyon and I went west. It just goes to show that pedal power can get you there just as fast sometimes.

    My only regret is that I didn't take more pictures at our rest stops. I'd like to do it again, but it probably won't happen this summer.
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    Remember kids, don't try this at home. Try it at someone else's home.

  6. #5
    Cool! I would like to try it again but on a road bike. I also didn't take enough pictures but one of our sag vehicles took a bunch of video that they are going to edit into a nice 15 minute or so record of our trip. I highly recommend this road ride!
    Are we there yet?

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