Cycling Yellowstone | Yellowstone Photography Prints | Yellowstone National Park Photography

April 16, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

A 42 mile stretch of Yellowstone National Park opened to bicycles only on April the second. Being a runner, I knew I wouldn't be able to complete the entire stretch. My legs just aren't conditioned to it, and having done the Tour de Farm with my father in New Jersey, years ago, I remembered just how hard cycling could be. Anytime you can access Yellowstone before the summer horde makes their appearance, you jump at it, so I was able to round up an old mountain bike, and head into the park

On a somber note, I had originally planned on going to the park on Friday, knowing the weather was forecasted to be in the 60's for the weekend, but a significant truck accident with a fatality had taken place on highway 191, shutting down the bridge for pretty much the entire day. I missed the accident by about ninety minutes. A 45 minute drive was now re-routed to 2.5 hours, and I just wasn't in the mood for it. So I decided to try again the following day.

I woke up early on Saturday with news that the bridge had re-opened, so I packed up and headed towards the park. Backpack check, snacks check, water check, bear spray check, camera check, bicycle check, buttocks, quadriceps and calves....... check!

Within a matter of moments, my legs were burnin' and my ass was hurtin', but I knew eventually the muscles would work themselves out. Instead of doing the full 42 miles (it actually would've been 84 roundtrip), I had thought of doing 20 in and 20 back. The west entrance to Gibbons Falls sounded nice, but I'd monitor my pace as I peddled along. It was a brisk 30 degrees when I started, and the first few miles were just me, the trees, and the pavement. My first break point was the Two Ribbons Trailhead, a dock running down and along the Madison River. Some snow and ice caked the dock and river bank as I made way down riverside. While I did take photos of this area, nothing really popped for me.

I continued my journey till reaching an overlook looking north towards Mt. Holmes and the Wyoming portion of the Gallatin Mountain Range. Mt. Holmes with an elevation of 10,336 feet, is the tallest peak in this range and can easily be seen looming in the distance. Named after geologist William H. Holmes who ascended the peak in 1878, it marks the southern terminus of the Gallatin Range.

Yellowstone Photography Prints | Yellowstone Landscape Photography | Mountain Photography PrintsYellowstone Photography Prints | Yellowstone Landscape Photography | Mountain Photography PrintsLooking north towards Mt. Holmes and the Wyoming portion of the Gallatin Mountain Range. My next photographic opportunity would come just before crossing the only bridge to cross the Madison River in the park. Wait, I lied! A little bit further back, a scene had captured my eye, just like they normally do. This sage brush field still cloaked in snow, as mountains rise from the Yellowstone landscape. Just below the aforementioned bridge, a footpath leads you down to the Madison river. Here I was able to capture the river, as the same landscape rises above. By this point I was about 7 miles into my excursion, and that 20 miles out to Gibbons falls had turned into thoughts of maybe just 10 miles to the Madison Junction.

Yellowstone Photography Prints | Yellowstone Landscape Photography | Mountain Photography PrintsYellowstone Photography Prints | Yellowstone Landscape Photography | Mountain Photography PrintsA sage brush field still cloaked in snow, as mountains rise from the Yellowstone landscape.

Yellowstone Photography Prints | Yellowstone Landscape Photography | Madison River PhotographyYellowstone Photography Prints | Yellowstone Landscape Photography | Madison River PhotographyThe flowing Madison River. Winding my way through the park, I peeped this amazing view of a broken stump, the Madison River, and a silicone shaped hill towering over each. This would turn out to be my favorite capture of the day, later to be named "Snow Cone."

Yellowstone Photography Prints | Yellowstone Landscape Photography | Madison River PhotographyYellowstone Photography Prints | Yellowstone Landscape Photography | Madison River PhotographyI peeped this amazing view of a broken stump, the Madison River, and a silicone shaped hill towering over each. I aptly named it, "Snow cone." Eventually I'd find myself at the Mount Haynes overlook pullout. Named after the first official photographer of Yellowstone National Park, this spot marked exactly ten miles in. After some slight consideration, I decided I'd turn around here and not continue the extra mile or so to the Madison Junction, I had the dock all to myself, and an amazing view. I parked my bike, threw down my backpack, snapped some photos, and stretched my weary legs out. A 45 minute break basking in the sun, thanking the universe for allowing me such a special place to be living in.

Yellowstone Photography Prints | Yellowstone Landscape Photography | Mount HaynesYellowstone Photography Prints | Yellowstone Landscape Photography | Mount HaynesMount Haynes towers over the Madison River. Yellowstone Photography Prints | Yellowstone Landscape Photography | Landscape Fine ArtYellowstone Photography Prints | Yellowstone Landscape Photography | Landscape Fine ArtA boardwalk in Yellowstone is much different than a boardwalk in Jersey. Did that extended break actually hurt me in the long run? Possibly, as the ten miles back to the West Entrance was a hump. I'd find myself walking my bike up a short incline, as well as listening to my quads screaming at me from below. By now numerous bikers were heading into the park, some waving, some carrying on conversation like I wasn't even passing them by. To be honest, I didn't feel like waving and smiling to everyone either, so I kept my head down for certain stretches, there's only so much of myself I can give away! Once back at the truck, I felt like I had just ran a marathon, well at least a half marathon. Back in Big Sky my body was shot. I felt hungover and the lower half of my extremities felt like jello. I had just confirmed what I already knew, I'm a runner, not a cycler. Would I do it again? Well on April 19th the park opens to vehicle traffic, and I think maybe this time, I'll stick with my truck.

Big thanks to Freddie at the Jalisco Taco Bus here in Big Sky, as afterwards, I wanted to eat just about anything that was thrown in front of me.

All of these photos, minus the quesadilla, are available for sale in a variety of sizes and products. You can find them in my brand new Yellowstone portfolio. Click the link: HERE, or just hover your mouse over any of the photos above. 

I have a few more blog entries from Yellowstone, one entitled: Autumn in Yellowstone and another 24 Hours in North Yellowstone. Click on either title to access them. 

To browse and purchase any of my fine art / landscape photography prints, click the link: HERE.

To browse my current inventory of repurposed barn wood framed photos, click the link: HERE

Yellowstone Landscape Photography | Yellowstone Photography Prints | Yellowstone National Park Photography | Landscape Photography Prints | Fine Art Photography Print


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