US National Parks May Open To Mountain Biking

Earlier this week the National Park Service announced a shift in policy that could potentially allow mountain biking in more of the parks. A new rule, that goes into effect on August 6, will give park superintendents the option to decide if they will allow cyclists access to roads that are typically closed to motor vehicles. Those paths would include fire and access roads that are now only used by the park service itself.

This is welcome news for mountain bikers, many of whom have hoped to ride inside the national parks for some time. But while this new rule does open the door a crack, it is unlikely that many of the superintendents will actually grant access to those roads. The policy does provide for greater flexibility of course, but don’t plan on riding through the backcountry of Yellowstone just yet.

Those opposed to allowing mountain bikes in the parks should rest easy, as the new rules stipulate that mountain bikes would be restricted to fire and access roads only. That means you won’t find them on the majority of hiking trails and any newly created trails will have to be closely evaluated before access to bikes of any kind would be granted.

Cycling on paved roads that are shared with motor traffic has always been permitted inside the parks and that hasn’t changed in any way because of this new policy.

Given the multitude of great options, what national parks would you most like to explore by mountain bike? Personally, I think Big Bend would be fantastic, along with Canyonlands and Arches.

[Photo credit: Tom Johnson via WikiMedia]