18 November 2015

The First Bike Tour Of The First National Park

At this time of year, most of the roads in Yellowstone Park are closed to wheeled vehicles or are being prepared for winter use.  As weather permits, brief periods of day cycling (as well as walking, roller-blading, roller-skiing and other forms of non-vehicular travel) are allowed. 

Back in 1883, those roads hadn't been built.  In fact, there weren't many paved roads anywhere between the Mississippi River and the Sierra Nevada mountains.  Any sort of travel was therefore arduous; one can only imagine what it would have been like to ride bicycles with sixty- or seventy-inch front wheels through the rugged terrain of what would become Yellowstone, the world's first national park.

Even in such conditions, a few intrepid cyclists dared to pedal (or, at times, push, carry and simply slog with) their bikes through woods, canyons and rivers.  Among those cyclists were C.S. Greenbaum, W.K. Sinclair and W.O. Owen of the Laramie Bicycle Club in Wyoming.

Yes, they rode through Yellowstone on those bikes!

At that time, there were two entrances to the park. One, in Bozeman, Montana, was 900 kilometers (560 miles) away.  The other went through Beaver Canyon, Idaho, some 1500 kilometers (900 miles) from LBC's home base.

The three men chose the Idaho entrance.  To get there, they took a train across Utah and met up with a team, wagon, outfit and guide in Beaver Canyon.

Rebecca Connell Walsh made this most interesting podcast about the three men and their ride, the very first through Yellowstone:

Yellowstone's First Bicycle Explorers


  1. Thanks for sharing. My wife and I frequently enter at West Yellowstone and ride to Old Faithful and back. 60 very nice miles. The shoulders are nice and wide, and although there's a lot of traffic, it's not too bad, as the speed limit for cars is 45 mph. Haven't done it on a penny farthing, however.

  2. MT--One of these days, I'm going to get out to Yellowstone. And ride.