Yellowstone and the Gravelly Range Family Trip
Ennis, Montana, where fly fishing rules, is the gateway for this great mountain biking adventure. Riding into the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest our route takes us along the top of the Gravelly Range northwest of Yellowstone. This remote part of the greater Yellowstone ecosystem remains much like it was long before Yellowstone was established as our country's first national park. After a few days of awesome views, we descend to the banks of the Madison River on our way to the park itself.
Yellowstone is a truly inspiring place. It is one of the only places in the world where one can actually witness dynamic geologic forces at work. Unlike most geologic wonders, where change happens over millions of years, in Yellowstone things change from week to week! And when you see all the geysers, hot springs and fumaroles, you will understand why. In addition to the geology, the abundant wildlife flourishing in the greater Yellowstone area will astound you. This is definitely our best trip for viewing wildlife and your family will love it!
The Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest is a remote area just northwest of Yellowstone National Park. After meeting in Bozeman, we will shuttle 2-1/2 hours south to Ennis, Montana, home of millions of trout, and a few people. Ennis is located near the beautiful Gravelly Range in the Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest. After a quick pit stop we will continue up into the mountains to the Gravelly Range Road where we will unload and begin our ride for the day. Our route takes us through beautiful alpine meadows full of wildflowers.The views from up here are world class. A few strenuous climbs and fun descents will bring us to our camp for the evening at Clover Meadows. TOTAL MILEAGE: 10 - 15 miles
After breakfast at Clover Meadows we will continue south, and today becomes a big climbing day. Three climbs (shuttle options are always available)! Along our route we will pass through several more stunning meadows full of wildflowers and an occasional lingering snowfield. In this area, the wildlife is abundant and we have an excellent chance of spotting deer, elk, moose, yellow-bellied marmots and several species of birds of prey. Crossing our highpoint at Monument Ridge affords us distant views of the rugged Taylor-Hilgard peaks in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. After lunch we roll along towards Black Butte and camp near Black Butte Cabin. TOTAL MILEAGE: 12 miles, optional hike
This morning dawns with a one mile climb and then a long descent. For the last two days we have been traversing across the ridge and today we get to descend all the way to the Madison River. Today’s ride is big fun as we lose almost 3,000 feet over approximately 20 miles. We will ride through huge stands of Lodgepole Pine, expansive meadows, through Wolverine Basin, and finally to the West Fork of the Madison River. Our riverside camp for the evening gives us the opportunity for a quick dip or perhaps a chance to fish in the famous waters of the Madison (if you brought your pole and fishing license). TOTAL MILEAGE: 20 miles
After riding through the Gravelly Range, we will load up the bikes, jump in the van and shuttle over to Yellowstone National Park. We start our ride on one of the few dirt paths that allow bikes in Yellowstone and enjoy incredible views of intense color and beauty. As we make our way toward the Old Faithful Geyser, we will ride a combination of paved park roads and dirt bike paths. Yellowstone National Park is a treasure and inspires awe in everyone who travels through it. Between the geysers, the abundant wildlife, and the powerful waterfalls, we are constantly impressed by its natural wonders. Our afternoon route takes us right to Old Faithful. The world’s best known geyser predictably erupts every 90 minutes, so we can tour the area and the historic Old Faithful Inn and visitors center while waiting for this must see attraction. Our last night’s camp will be inside the park at Grant Village on the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, North America’s largest mountain lake. TOTAL MILEAGE: 15 miles
After breakfast we will drive from Grant Village through Hayden Valley along the famous Yellowstone River. In this open parkland you may see moose, bison and possibly even grizzly bears, all from the safety of the Western Spirit van. Waterfowl, including white pelicans and trumpeter swans, are abundant in the marshy areas. Our stop at the Mud Volcano will show us the varied thermal features here, including the Dragon’s Mouth Spring. And yes, we are quite sure there is a real dragon in there. Our tour of the park will conclude at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone where the river plunges 1,000 feet. We will hike the South Rim Trail along the river which affords us incredible views of the spectacular upper and lower falls. Hot water acting on volcanic rock created the canyon’s yellow colors and our view from Artist’s Point is truly one to remember. After lunch we will shuttle back to Bozeman. TOTAL MILEAGE: AM van/walking tour; 2-3 mile hike
Itineraries are subject to change due to weather, road conditions, rider safety and other factors which may affect the logistics of the adventure.
Riding Surface: Packed dirt and gravel roads, some sand and some loose rock, pavement.
Overall Rating: Introductory/Intermediate
Technical Difficulty: Easy
Physical Difficulty: Moderate
Altitude: 5,000 - 9,000 feet
For travel logistics and a packing list, please download the complete trip itinerary.