Us national park touring in may - any advice welcome!



Duncan Grimes

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Feb 5, 2018
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Hi,

I'm planning on cycling for 2 weeks in the US in the middle of May with 2 friends. We've done a fair bit of cycle touring in the UK and Europe but never in the US so looking for some advice and apologies if my Qs are basic. We'd like to go through the a national park and small town america. We'd also like places to stop off and do wild swimming if possible. Does anyone have routes that are doable in 2 weeks that they would recommend?

The routes I looked at were Yellowstone and Grand Teton, but weather looks unpredictable - has anyone got experience of cycling there in May?

I've also looked at Yossemite, Badlands and the Appalatian trail - does anyone have advice for any of those in May? Especially, which will have the most reliable weather?
 

rfield54

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Nov 1, 2009
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The road rides through both Arches and Canyonlands (Island In The Sky) NP's are spectacular in May. If you choose Island In The Sky, you should strongly consider adding Dead Horse State Park to this ride, as it's close by. Moab (UT) is the town close by . . . good luck
 

rfield54

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Nov 1, 2009
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BTW, Arches and Canyonlands NP's are both in Utah. If you want Colorado cycling suggestions, lemmeno. May can be a tricky weather/snow month in the mountains though.
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
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Hi,

I'm planning on cycling for 2 weeks in the US in the middle of May with 2 friends. We've done a fair bit of cycle touring in the UK and Europe but never in the US so looking for some advice and apologies if my Qs are basic. We'd like to go through the a national park and small town america. We'd also like places to stop off and do wild swimming if possible. Does anyone have routes that are doable in 2 weeks that they would recommend?

The routes I looked at were Yellowstone and Grand Teton, but weather looks unpredictable - has anyone got experience of cycling there in May?

I've also looked at Yossemite, Badlands and the Appalatian trail - does anyone have advice for any of those in May? Especially, which will have the most reliable weather?
FYI ...

AFAIK, there are no portions of the Appalachian Trail on which you can cycle.

The Badlands are so named because water was scarce for the pioneers making the crossing ... so, check your maps carefully for distances between where you plan to stop ... expect wind (goggles OR mounatineering-type sunglasses with side/wind flaps on the temples are probably a good thing to have OR inexpensive saftey goggles or saftey glasses with side shields) ...

You can probably stay at KOA campgrounds and/or RV/"caravan" parks along the way ...

Motels are an option if your budget allows.​

BTW. You need overnight permits to camp inside National Parks ... go to the Ranger Station to get camping permits ... reservations ARE ADVISED if you know when you will be at a National Park ... they can be made 6+ months in advance ... if you don't have a reservation for a campsite, then you can stand-in-lline in the morning to try to get one of the cancellations/no-shows ... I recommend that you be in line by 8am. Campsite permits used to be free (hopefully, they still are!) but are VERY LIMITED unless you get a "backcountry" pass.​

Portions of Yellowstone will probably seem hillier than whatever you may be anticipating ... due to the elevation, the overnight temps could be much colder than you are used to ... I think your sleeping bag should be rated to 32ºF for Spring & Summer (!?!) camping ... bring a stocking cap to wear at night ...

Cody, WYOMING which is outside the southern part of Yellowstone AND/OR whatever small towns you may encounter in South Dakota if you opt for the Badlands will probably be your best-bet for "small town America" ... the town of Moab is very commerciallized ... I think that Jackson Hole is now fairly high-end-tourist oriented for the most part ...

The "Buffalo Bill Indian Musem" (not sure if that's the correct name) in Cody is worth seeing.​

The roadway beyond the scenic lookout near the west entrance of Yosemite is steep and narrow ... you may be able to take the shuttle in from the parking area (which may be a figment of my memory's imagination) that is near the west entrance into the Valley.
April showers bring May flowers, but bring rain gear ...

BRING A VERY GOOD LOCK
for each bike.
 

rfield54

New Member
Nov 1, 2009
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Another option to consider is the Blue Ridge Parkway. I rode it last May (6 days, 480 miles, 48,000' elevation gain), and it's a superb trip.
 

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