By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A new bike route mapped out by the Adventure Cycling Association will lead cyclists on an adventure through Yellowstone National Park all the way to Minneapolis — nearly 1,300 miles.
The Pikes, Peaks and Prairie Route was created so cyclists could have the opportunity to see iconic American parks such as Yellowstone, Devils Tower, Mount Rushmore, the Badlands and the Black Hills, the ACA said.
The network of biking trails is broken into three routes, beginning from West Yellowstone, Montana, through Yellowstone and on into Gillette, from Gillette to Midland, South Dakota, and from there on to Minneapolis.
The route only runs for 2.3 miles in Montana, and then the cyclists will ride through Yellowstone, leading to the Sylvan Pass, going nearly 60 miles downhill along the North Fork of the Shoshone River into Cody.
The route will run through a majority of northern Wyoming, allowing the rider to see small towns, wildlife and much more during their time on the road, the ACA said.
In total, the ride is around 1,288 miles from West Yellowstone to Minneapolis. The highest elevation is 9,665 ft. at Powder River Pass between Buffalo and Ten Sleep.
The Needles Highway and Sage Creek Road in South Dakota are offered as alternate routes, although riders should be aware that the Needles Highway in Custer State Park, near Rapid City, is a strenuous ride and the road is narrow. The Needles Highway is usually open from April to October.
The western half of the route can be ridden from May through October, but the portion east of the Black Hills has a wider time window, from March through November. The route in Yellowstone is closed in the winter.