Day 16 – Hebgen Lake to Yellowstone Park

Fri 18th June 2010

It was a frost last night so we set off wearing plenty of warm gear. The sun was already shining on the mountains on the other side of the lake but we were on the wrong side and in the shade for quite a while. With only 78 miles to do today and the thought of cycling through Yellowstone Park I think Chris and I went into holiday mode for a day with the thought that we had all the time in the world.

About 20 miles into the ride we hit the very nice town of West Yellowstone and as we were due a stop decided to have a second breakfast of pizza and coffee (holiday mode already). We chose well because the owner of the cafe told us that he gave transcontinental cyclists all food at half price. It didn’t take us long to eat a 12″ pizza and we were soon on our way into Yellowstone Park. We had to pay $12 to get in and we were surprised how busy it was, a bit like queing to go into a theme park.


At last Chris gets pizza for breakfast and not a cat in sight

Yellowstone Park

Entering Yellowstone Park

Once in the park we were exited about what we might see and kept our eyes peeled. What we saw lots of were cars and more cars. In fact we saw more cars in the first hour than we had seen in the past week – and the awful smell of exhaust fumes. Yellowstone is certainly a wonderful place with the most stunning landscape I have ever seen but the amount of people took the edge off it for us, we WERE in a theme park. Just inside the park we entered the State of Wyoming, our fourth State so far.

Wyoming Border

Goodbye Montana - It's been nice knowing you

We did enjoy our day in the park though and took lots of photos. We saw coyottes, bison, elk and a bald eagle but no bears. We also saw the thermal pools which were amazing and we stopped off to see ‘Old Faithful’ the largest geyser in the park. Unfortunately we got there just after it had blown and would not do so again for another 90mins, so we had to leave due to time.

Grazing Bison

Am I close enough?


Elk & Fawn


Hot thermal water entering river system

After leaving Old Faithful we were passed by an ambulance and two park ranger cars on blues and twos. We found out later that a man had been mauled to death by a grizzly which is a very rare occurrence.

Because of our carefree attitude to today we found the climbs up to the Continental Divide at over 8,300 ft tough going, especially as these were at the end of the day. So we arrived at the campsite at about 6:30pm ready for a relax and a nice warm shower. No such luck – the campsite had no running water at all so there were no showers or drinking water but plenty of notices about bears and long list of things you mustn’t leave in your tent with you.

That was a tough climb

So after dinner we packed up most of our things and deposited it all into a bear proof locker and got into our tents. By this time it was getting cold so the days cycling gear stayed on. We both put on our thermals and I also wore my fleece and a skull cap to keep my head warm. All that just about kept us warm at night because it was very cold as expected at nearly 8,000 ft. So it turned out to be a good day but also a very tough one. For once it hadn’t rained and we were grateful for that.

Daily Mileage – 81.5 miles

Time in Saddle – 7 hrs 54 mins

Total Climbing – 3,862 ft


  1. Hey guys!
    How disappointing to hear that Yellowstone Park was crowded!!! :( did you know that it is basically one huge caldera that is waaaaay overdue to experience a major eruption? Best keep pedalling then eh ….. ;)
    Great pics yet again, love the one of the bison – its looks enormous!

  2. Hey Guys!
    Seriously someone was mauled by a bear!! Not a great way to stop us worrying!
    Sorry i havent posted for a few days ….i checked it yesterday and you hadnt entered a new one! But now you have 2!! Yippee!!
    Dad you are starting to look like a need a shave.
    Love you

  3. Babs, don’t listen to the bear story – they are out of Yellowstone now and safe!

  4. If you wanted to see bears, you should have stayed a few more days here on The Kicking Ass Ranch. We now have a pesky mama black bear and her two cubs, that come around each evening and knock over garbage cans, chase dogs, and sleep up in our trees. Great to see you two are having a good trip. We are thinking of you. Good Luck.

    Pete n Karen

  5. We met the guys at the continental divide in Yellowstone on Friday the 18th. What an inspiring undertaking. We took a photo with them in front of the marker and wished them well. Give me your email and I’ll send it to you. Gods speed to you both.

    Mike Woltjer