biking near yellowstone national park

Biking Near Yellowstone National Park

Destination biking is one of my favorite things ever.  (And you will find that I have too many favorite things.  I can’t help it.)  I love finding biking trails and getting off the beaten path.  It is our opportunity to see and experience areas that we might not have otherwise seen.  Biking near Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding area is no different.  We had a wonderful time biking during our visit and enjoyed several great trails.  I’m going to save our favorite place for last.  I cannot wait to share it with you.

West Yellowstone Biking

I’m going to go off on a small tangent here before talking about the biking near Yellowstone National Park.  However, it has a relevant point.  We bought a ProForm stationary bike this winter to keep our spinning legs going while it was too cold to ride outside.  Our ProForm has the monitor where I watch the iFit trainers ride on different trails.  I absolutely love it because I get to bike (in a way) in places I have not yet visited such as Vietnam, Tokyo, New Zealand and San Francisco.  While I love the beauty of the rural trails, I also love the videos in which the trainers are riding through cities.  It is such a great way to see the city!

Which brings me to my point.  I want to do more city biking to see more sights!  West Yellowstone is not a large town and we actually did quite a bit of walking from our RV park to shopping, or to get a sweet treat (we can never pass by an ice cream shop without stopping).  However, we did bike through West Yellowstone several times.  In fact, each morning, we would wake and ride down to the bike shop there called Freeheel and Wheel.  Not only are the employees there so friendly, and they have great bike (and ski) supplies, but they also have a fabulous espresso bar in the shop.  Yum!  

West Yellowstone was busy in July during our trip so traffic could be difficult to navigate especially when all five of us were in tow.  However, we were able to safely ride to and from all the trails we wanted to hit from our RV park and we were also able to see different parts of the town.  It is a win win!!  

West Yellowstone Frontier Trail #630

This trail was a flat and fairly easy gravel trail that loops around West Yellowstone.  It is only a couple miles long and you can ride around West Yellowstone or turn around and head back like we did.  We had our eyes peeled for wildlife but did not spot any unfortunately.  
We did come to part of this trail that veered off and had a steep downhill section.  Our older two boys decided they wanted to have a fun ride down the steep path and down they went.  It was not so fun for them to walk back up while the rest of us watched from the top.  Aside from that optional steep hill, the most difficult part of this trail is a few rocks or tree limbs on the path.

Biking West Yellowstone’s Riverside Trail

As the name indicates, part of this trail runs right along the Madison river.  This area is also used for cross-country skiing but it made a fairly easy trail for biking too.  We saw a couple fisherman while out on this trail but again, no luck in spotting any wildlife.  By the river, the trail was a narrow single track.  However, we spent time riding along a paved road too.

riverside trail in west yellowstone

My favorite (yes, another favorite) part of this ride was that we came out on the road to the West Entrance of Yellowstone National Park.  We were able to grab photos by the Yellowstone National Park sign before we rode back to the RV park.  The boys were hot from our ride so we have shirtless photos but photos none-the-less.  

Cycling the Rendezvous Ski Trails Near Yellowstone

These are cross country ski trails but are great for biking or hiking in the summer!  There is not much information online other than the information for skiing.  However, we enjoyed these trails and rode here more than once.  It was a local favorite according to the people we spoke to about biking near Yellowstone National Park.

While there was quite a bit of undulation on these hills, it was very manageable.  The trails were gravel and wide.  Our greatest challenge was reading the signs and trying to figure out which trails we wanted to ride.

Not far down the trails from the entrance, we found an area with a jump.  This was the boys favorite part and we even made a second trip to this jump on another day so the boys could practice some more jumps.  

biking near yellowstone national park with jumps

While online it states no dogs are allowed, that may be only during ski season.  We saw several people walking their dogs along these trails and we took our pups for a walk here too. Most National Parks do not allow pets inside the park (for good reasons) but it can be more challenging to find great places to walk your dogs while visiting.  These trails are a great place to do so.

There are plenty of other opportunities to bike within Yellowstone National Park.  Here is a link to the trails on the park’s website.  There were several that I wanted to check out but time was short.  (Yellowstone Trail Map)

Big Sky Mountain Resort and Bike Park

Okay.  Are you ready for our favorite ride during our visit to Yellowstone National Park?  We headed one north of West Yellowstone to the Big Sky Mountain Resort, and let me tell you it was amazing! 

This was our first (but not our last) downhill ride experience. The drive from West Yellowstone to Big Sky is under an hour. There is not much to see between the two locations, and cell service is sporadic. Make sure you have a full tank of gas before heading out in the morning. This was easily the most enjoyable part of biking near Yellowstone National Park for the entire family.

Bike Parks and Resorts Near Yellowstone

My plan was not to ride that day.  My husband had done all the research on Big Sky and came up with the plan.  I wanted to go but was planning to hang out at the resort while my guys all rode.  I had no clue what to expect or whether there would be a place for me to sit and relax at the resort.  When calling to confirm the lady that answered the phone assured me that there was plenty of room.

Upon arriving at the resort, I felt silly that I had asked the question.  I had pictured a small building at the base of the mountain.  Oh, I was wrong.  This is a full resort.  There are multiple buildings, shops, restaurants and outdoor space.  When we first arrived, my husband headed to get our tickets and the rented bikes while I ordered food for the boys (the always hungry boys!)   There is actually a small food court area with many food choices.  I also stopped in a few of the shops.  In addition to mountain biking, there are lots of summer activities.  We were so amazed with the mountain biking that we did not participate in anything else.

Renting Cycling Equipment Near Yellowstone

Once we arrived, the excitement got to me and I decided to ride.  We brought two of our own bikes but rented three that could better handle the downhill trails.  There is a rental shop on the resort to rent a bike and all necessary equipment (helmet, pads).  If you take your own bike and equipment, you only need to purchase a lift pass to ride the ski lifts up.  I recommend making reservations online to ensure your spot.  However, I had no issues in my last minute rental and lift pass. 

downhill mountain biking big sky resort near yellowstone

While it is an expense (and not a cheap expense) to rent the bike (especially if you are renting several), it is much better than not having the proper equipment.  Trust me…from another downhill adventure, we tried to ride one of our own bikes and ended up with popped tires.

Downhill Biking Near Yellowstone

There were two different lifts up to the trails.  As I decided late to rent a bike and ride, my husband and the three boys headed up the lift to get a first ride down.  Below is our text exchange as I was going through the renal process.  (Please excuse the typos.  I loved his last response but in the excitement of the day, proper typing was not a priority.)  I knew I was in for a treat.

excitement of big sky resort first run

The smaller ski lift that holds two people took us up to a few of the easier trails.  We started on the green trails as they provided plenty of excitement for us first timers.  There were smaller jumps, lots of ups and downs and many switchbacks.  You are riding in trees but in most places, the trails were wide enough that the trees did not feel too close to the trails (unless you got off the trail, of course).  The trails were mainly dirt or small gravel.  

For more complex and difficult trails, there is also a large ski lift to ride up to another side of the mountain.  We rode one of the easiest trails on this side of the mountain but it was still fairly difficult.  The boys did not seem to have many issues but I am not athletic and fell over on one steep switchback.  I ended up walking down a section instead of riding.

view from the lift at big sky resort

Scenery While Biking Near Yellowstone National Park

The employees all around the resort were extremely helpful in deciding which trails to use.  If you are unsure, chat with them. In addition to the memorable and fantastically fun experience, my other favorite (yes, that word again) part was taking in all the gorgeous scenery.  Wow.  From the tops of the trails, it was breathtaking.  

scenery when cycling near yellowstone national park

It is also important to note that there were times that we had to pull off to the side of the trail.  There are experienced mountain bikers that are able to fly down those hills.  You must be alert to other rides for everyone’s safety. 

One note I will mention on riding the ski lifts.  You must be strong enough to lift your bike quickly into the lift.  I struggled at first and thankfully the nice guy running the lift helped.  However, as that would be a lot for them to help everyone, it is best to be able to do it yourself.  Our youngest also had difficulty lifting his bike but my husband or one of the older boys were able to help.  The highlight of our youngest’s day was when he was called a ‘little shredder’ by another rider.

downhill biking at big sky bike park and resort near Yellowstone

If you do not want to bike, you are also able to ride the lifts up and hike down.  It is a great option if you don’t bike but want to enjoy the gorgeous nature in this area.

Overall, I highly recommend biking near Yellowstone National Park area.  We love exploring new places and by bike is one of the best ways.  When looking for biking trails in an area, the All Trails app is a great resource.  It is free to download and contains great information and reviews.  We frequently use it to find places to ride. 

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