Five Tips for Exploring Your Parks and Public Lands by Bicycle

August 26, 2016

Our public lands are a special place, and even more special when explored by bike. If you're planning on riding your parks this season, here are some tips to help you prepare for your adventure.

Seek Out Car Free Days

Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks are two examples of parks that give cyclists and hikers a sneak preview of their roadways before opening them up to vehicles in the spring. Timing is everything and depends on how smoothly road-clearing efforts go; but riding some of our nation's iconic roads without traffic is worth the effort to make it happen.

On the flip side, some parks do have travel restrictions on cyclists during peak season, so always plan ahead when scheduling rides inside park boundaries.

Hiker-Biker Camping

High five to whoever came up with hiker/biker only camping. If the campground sign reads “FULL,” don't lose hope immediately. Seek out a space exclusively set aside for those on foot or bicycle. This saved the day for my wife and I while trying to camp at Jenny Lake in Teton National Park a few years back on a busy weekend. Check with your local parks to see if they offer this at their campgrounds.

Share the Road

Our parks will introduce you to some wild places. While it's important for cyclists and motorists to share the roads with each other, wildlife is not always interested in sharing the road with you. Respect their space, and take proper precautions.

Pack It In, Pack It Out

I like to think that camping on public lands is like being a guest in someone's house. Be sure to leave a clean campsite, and put those campfires dead out.

Interagency Annual Pass

Also known as “The America the Beautiful: National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass,” the Interagency Annual Pass could be the best $80 you've ever spent. This pass is honored by the National Park service, Forest Service, BLM, and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service that charge entrance or amenity fees. If you're 62 years of age or older, you can snag a lifetime pass for just $10! If you frequent your parks often, this can quite literally pay for itself.

Photos by Josh Tack

TOURING GEAR & TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling’s member services department. It appears every other week, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead. Look for Josh’s “Fine Tuned” column in Adventure Cyclist magazine as well.


Lynn McQuinn August 28, 2016, 7:05 AM


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