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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm hoping we might be able to have a discussion on the potential for more bike access on some national park trails, without thing devolving into the mud slinging and talking past each other of the other thread. Eh?

This ruling has me excited. Our national parks are vast and varied; some have trails totally unsuited for mountain biking for a variety of reasons, others have trails that would I think work very well. I'd like to hear some ideas on which might fit into the later.

By way of example, Bryce Canyon National Park, in south-central Utah. Not the biggest park, does not receive anything close to the volume of traffic of places like Zion, Yellowstone, or Yosemite. Most people who visit don't hike, and 98% of those who do hike in the Fairyland, Sunrise, and Sunset points (see map, below). These trails, while mostly rideable, would not be good choices for biking. The volume of hikers and intensity of use would be begging for problems.

On the other hand, the loop off of Rainbow Point at the south end of the park road is ideally suited for biking. The trail is all (theoretically) rideable, the grades are sustainable for biking without inducing things like erosion and skidding, and relatively few people hike the loop (or ride it on horses). User conflicts would be unlikely, and easily managed. More sections of the Below The Rim trail might be suited for cycling, but I haven't hiked 'em so I don't know, yet.

So please, share your experiences in a constructive manner. What trails out there are sustainable, bikeable, and not too crowded? What trails should we start lobbying our park superintendents to consider for inclusion?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Grand Canyon

Ain't gonna happen. I'd love to ride across the canyon in a day, and the severity of the climb out would likely separate the wheat from the chaff here (or create a business for mule shuttles out), but the insane crowds (and mule trains) make this improbable to the point of stupidity.

There are however several trails on the north rim, which used to be old roads, that would be lovely biking trails. And the potential to create the Rainbow Rim extension south into the park. Anyone who has ridden the AZT in the Kaibab NF knows what amazing riding can be had in that area.
 

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Cuyahoga Valley National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

Outside of Cleveland, and one of the real hopes of getting some real trails around the city. The terrain is perfect and the location couldn't be better. There's already a volunteer base and advocacy organization that would be willing to work with the park to help them out.

Not to mention that the local group has ALREADY done trail work to help out where they have not been allowed to ride. That's a nice goodwill gesture, huh?

JmZ
 

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The other thing about most national parks is that they are big places... and 99% of the visitors stay to the main, most famous parts.

I think some of the back country stuff up by Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite would be ideal for some bike-legal trails. Same with some of the Kolob area/West Rim, and East Entrance/Checkerboard Mesa area of Zion NP.

My local national park is Great Basin National Park in Eastern Nevada and it is famous for being the least visited park in the Union. It would make perfect sense to legalize a few of the least used trails for mountain bikes to attract more visitors... For example: Baker Lake, Johnson Lake, and the Oceola Ditch trail.

I agree that there are places in National Parks where bikes should not be allowed (though it would be fun as heck).... but let's be reasonable.
 

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CrgCrkRyder
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Chestnut Ridge Loop Trail

One trail that I would like to see the Park Service open to mountain bikers is the Chestnut Ridge Loop trail just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Roanoke, VA. This 5.5 mile loop trail was rebuilt to IMBA specs in 2004.
http://www.imba.com/news/trail_news/17_3/itn_17_3.pdf See page 7 under Southeast

Even before the Bush rule change, the Park Service was discussing the possibility of opening it to mountain bikers for a year trial period. A comment period was opened last year and bikers pretty much bombarded them with our views of the subject. Unfortunately, that was the last we have heard on it. Seems to have gotten lost in the bureaucracy. Maybe this rule change will allow the local managers to make a decision. The trail is well built, encircles a campground, and hooks directly into the Mill Mountain Trail system which is being developed by Roanoke City. The newly formed Mountain Bike Patrol for the Mill Mountain trail system could patrol this trail also. The area is adjacent to suburbia and is not what could be considered fragile. For multiple use, the trail should be brushed back for safety as some areas are grown up and hard to see around corners.

http://www.roanoke.com/outdoors/hiking/wb/43422
 

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Time is not a road.
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Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, CO has some potential. It's a somewhat small park and actually gets quite a bit of use, but there are some areas that would be nice as connectors through the park to other existing trail systems. Some trails in the park are very remote and at quite high elevation which means they get little traffic which would make them ideal as well.
 

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beer thief
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There are a few trails in Acadia National Park in Maine that would be excellent. Not the popular stuff like Cadillac Mountain, but out of the way spots that are incredibly scenic and very lightly used by hikers. Like many NPs, a lot of the visitors give it a windshield tour and then go shopping or eating in Bar Harbor.

Isn't there a section of the Mah-Da-Hey (sp?) that is cut off by NP lands? Open it up!
 

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Jackbooted Elitist Hipstr
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Yep- Smokies

More than 800 miles of trail in the park and, as an ex Park Ranger I know that many of those miles rarely see any traffic.

Surely there are a few trails folks would agree are suitable for bikes.

Like maybe the Sugarland Mountain Trail which starts near the summit of the highest peak in the east and drops down for 12 miles... Maybe not the best example, but it sure would be fun.
 

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I Crash Often
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ionsmuse said:
Ain't gonna happen. I'd love to ride across the canyon in a day, and the severity of the climb out would likely separate the wheat from the chaff here (or create a business for mule shuttles out), but the insane crowds (and mule trains) make this improbable to the point of stupidity.

There are however several trails on the north rim, which used to be old roads, that would be lovely biking trails. And the potential to create the Rainbow Rim extension south into the park. Anyone who has ridden the AZT in the Kaibab NF knows what amazing riding can be had in that area.
Gonna need a serious bike for that. I went to the Grand Canyon this spring and it was intence. And instead of having your buddys run 'truck' shuttles to your favorite down hill spot, you're going to call in the mules for a shuttle up. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
More!

There are more people with thoughts out there. C'mon!

Zion:
Maybe some of stuff up on the east rim and Kolob district. The East Rim trail as a lollypop from Lava Point would be nifty. Much as I'd like to ride Walter's Wiggles, that is too much to hope for.

Yellowstone:
Lamar Valley, Pelican Valley, Wapiti Lake, Specimen Ridge, and I'm sure many others would be fantastic. Unlikely to happen, as the YNP administration has a rep as being very protectionist (with good reason given the shenanigans that went on 100 years ago). It might make sense, here and in other places, to open up certain trails to bikes during spring and fall off-seasons.

Yosemite:
Some of the T. Meadows high country stuff would be brilliant, but would raise hackles more than other places. Wilderness is also an issue, especially when creating loops and networks (lets not go there for the moment).

Canyonlands:
Some of the trails in the western part of the Needles district would link up well with existing 4x4 roads. Salt Creek would make a great Pugs ride, though the amount of archeological sites would make this sensitive.

Theodore Roosevelt:
YES, for the love to pete! Open the Maah Daah Hey all the way! The section in the southern district would make for brilliant riding, and allow a great epic loop from Medora.

Glacier:
Riding the Highline would be fantastic, but is very not likely to happen.

Redwoods:
Every trail would make for brilliant, brilliant riding. Very sustainable too, without much or any trail work. Crowds could in places be an issue.

Arches:
Hell no.

Grand Teton:
Some great candidates for burly, adventurous loops. (Paintbrush!)


Eh?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
keylay said:
Gonna need a serious bike for that. I went to the Grand Canyon this spring and it was intence. And instead of having your buddys run 'truck' shuttles to your favorite down hill spot, you're going to call in the mules for a shuttle up. :D
I've hiked the main corridor trails at least 6 times each. I'd take a good mid-long travel 29er to ride down the Bright Angel (at the crack of dawn), up along Bright Angel Creek, up the North Kaibab (with plenty of pushing) then back down again and up the Bright Angel by headlight. BA would be almost all rideable above Indian Gardens, with fresh legs.

I've done the double in a day in around 13 hours on foot. It would be interesting to see if I could beat that on a bike.
 

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Jackbooted Elitist Hipstr
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brado1 said:
Man i just cannot see you as a Park Ranger....



no wait, Yes i can :p
Awwww man... will that pic ever die?

I still have my natty polyester uniform and stylie flat hat. If you ask nicely I'll dress up for ya...
 

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HIKE!
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Theodore Roosevelt:

There is a purpose built trail around the southern unit (Buffalo Gap Trail) that allows bike traffic around that end. It would be a bonus to ride through the Mah Dah Hey, but the southern unit is also pretty "horsey". The potential to dip into the northern end to allow a true through-ride is great. That northern little bit will open up the ride wide! This is good for ATB riding and use of the Mah Dah Hey!
 

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It would probably be a good idea to build new trails for mtb's instead of using existing hiking trails and I thought that was part of the focus of Bush's plan. I could be wrong though.
I would worry about trail conflicts on the more famous and popular existing trails, such as Highline in Glacier, Bright Angel in GC, Tuolomne Meadows in Yosemite, Paintbrush in Tetons and doubt very much that they would ever be open to bikes. But there are other less used trails that would probably be excellent ridng trails without the crowds in all of those parks.
For me Yellowstone would be ideal, it has the most miles of backcountry trails of all the NP's and 99% of all hikers are on the roads. These type of Disneyland parks where the majority of the visitors hardly leave their cars would be most ideal. A trail along the Snake River in the Tetons would be nice although somewhat flat.

I would love to ride in the Needles District in Canyonlands but the Maze District would be more likely due to it being far less traveled. Kolob District in Zion seems reasonable and would be sweet. All the places you mentioned in Yellowstone are excellent ideas. Rainbow Point would be good but we already have a Bryce type mountain bike ride on the Thunder Mt trail and there are others right across the road as well. Not that I wouldn't be happy with a trail in Bryce and Rainbow would be the most likely place if it was to happen. Hetch Hetchy area in Yosemite would be the most likely and doable. Medicine Hat area in Glacier is much less crowded and just as beautiful.

In the NW...
N Cascades: I'm sure there is trail or two we could ride but it might not be at elevation and therefore a ride through the forest. Most of the trails that have views would be tough riding due to their steepness and technicality of climbing to the view. It would be great to be able to ride Rainy Pass.

Mt. Rainier, the mountain is huge and there is plenty of trail that is hardly used.

Olympics, there seems to be many opportunities and I'm sure we could find at least two trails that would be worthy. But again they might never have a true view of the mountains and would be valley rides in the forest. Riding from Hurrican Ridge would be awesome but unlikely at alpine elevation.

The more I think about it the more I am inclined to hope that new mtb trails and have access to less used trails. Many popular trails would be too dangerous during a descent because of the high volume of hiker traffic. It would not be fun having to give the right away to climbing hikers every 30 feet.

Beside Daylight Savings Time being extended this is the one thing I can agree with a Bush policy! :)
 
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