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National Parks of the West 2014

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WS Member Аватар пользователя WS Member
National Parks of the West 2014


I'm in the preliminary stages of planning My Big 6-6-6 Tour - I'll be 60 years old, the route is around 6,000 miles, and I think it will take 6 months.

The route is roughly:

Baton Rouge, LA, to East Texas / Dallas
Dallas to Palo Duro Canyon
Palo Duro to Four Corners
Four Corners to Monument Valley (maybe)
Monument Valley (maybe) to southern Utah - Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, Zion
Southern Utah to Craters of the Moon
Craters of the Moon to Grand Teton / Yellowstone
Grand Teton / Yellowstone to Glacier
Glacier to Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore to Lake Itasca, Headwaters of the Mississippi
Lake Itasca, Headwaters of the Mississippi to Venice, LA.
Venice, LA, to Baton Rouge.

Any tips and tricks for the following will be gratefully received:

Palo Duro to Four Corners
Four Corners to Monument Valley
Zion to Craters of the Moon


Unregistered Аватар пользователя anon_user
western states

when you get out on bicycle in those semi arid states Utah, AZ, New Mexico, NV take a lot of water say a gallon. has water is very hard to find. Most towns 80 to 90 miles apart so plan on camping in a non camp ground area at times.
If summer very hot. over 100 degrees F Lovely area but a lot climbing. Your going over 9000' evevation. but starting at around 4000'

WS Member Аватар пользователя WS Member
What a minute, Dan / No more water in that can

Thanks, Charles. I have been looking at the maps and such and see the distances between things can be great. I'm looking at collapsible water jugs and the like. I'd rather not have a motley assortment of plastic drinks bottles lashed to my bike. ;-)

Given that I live in Louisiana in a very FLAT part of the state I'm a little concerned about the elevation change. I'm hoping that I'll get plenty of practice on lesser slopes as I head northwest.

WS Member Аватар пользователя WS Member
The Big 6-6-6 Tour

Hi MayaBikeDude,

I think that your bike tour in the year you turn 60 sounds wonderful!

In summer 2007 I did a loop that went in a couple of the places that you asked about. My route was basically from Las Vegas to Yellowstone (via Craters of the Moon); Yellowstone to Colorado Springs; and on the return leg back to Vegas I cycled through the Four Corners/Monument Valley area.
If you have any specific questions about these areas I'll be happy to share the knowledge that I have.

Also, when do you plan to cycle? If I could possibly host you I would love to do so.


P.S. I have also cycled between Yellowstone and Glacier (in 2011) if you want any information on this.

WS Member Аватар пользователя WS Member
Zion to Craters route?

Hey Kevin,

It's Mark in Louisiana, a.k.a. Maya Bike Dude.

My first question: when using Google maps' bicycle route feature to get from Zion National Park to Craters of the Moon it suggested three routes. One of those routes, the shortest, looks like it just makes up a road between two points. I say this because the street view shows nothing but scrub brush where the road is supposed to be.

So . . . how did you get from Zion to Craters? Just curious.

WS Member Аватар пользователя WS Member
Re: National Parks of the West 2014

Hi Mark,

Yes, I knew it was you (unless there are 2 warmshowers hosts in Louisiana named Mark Martin!) I was just having some fun.

I have never used Google maps bicycle route feature, so I can't comment on how well it works. But based on your statement it sounds like it has some bugs in it.

Here is a route that I am generally familiar with between Zion and Craters of the Moon.
* head west from Zion on Hwy 9 and work your way down to St. George
* on the north side of St. George you'll find Hwy 18; head north on it
* Hwy 18 intersects with Hwy 56 after about 60 miles; head west on Hwy 56
* cross into Nevada and cycle on to Panaca; here you'll encounter Hwy 93
* head north on Hwy 93; cycle through Nevada and into Idaho on it
* stay on Hwy 93 to Shoshone, ID (it's about 20 miles north of Twin Falls); in Shoshone you'll meet Hwy 26; head east on Hwy 26/93
* you'll find the visitor center for Craters of the Moon on this road about 75 miles up the road

Here are some comments/qualifiers:
* I have cycled this route with the exception of the roughly 60 miles on Hwy 18 (between St. George and Hwy 56)
* In general there is not much traffic on this route (with the exception of cycling through St. George and Twin Falls) which makes it generally decent cycling
* On most of this route the road's shoulder is poor (the shoulder could be very narrow, it could be nonexistent, or it could have a rumble strip in it). The result is that you frequently are driving in the lane -- and this route is almost all 2-lane road. Because there is not much traffic, this is usually not a big deal. But if you get into some heavy traffic the lack of a good shoulder can make some stressful cycling. I only recall this happening once to me, between Wells and Jackpot (on Hwy 93 in northern NV). It was a Saturday afternoon and there was a lot of traffic on this road -- and everyone was going fast -- like 70 mph.
* I've cycled through St. George and it's not bad. I'll be happy to give you a detailed route to Hwy 18 from Zion if you like.
* There are some stretches where the towns are spaced a long distance apart. You'll have to plan your water stops carefully if you'll be cycling this in the summer.

Let me know if you want more information on this route -- or anything else.


WS Member Аватар пользователя WS Member
Great info! Thanks!

Hey Kevin,

Just making sure. ;-)

Thanks for that great route information!

I see that 9 runs into Hurricane then sort of merges with the interstate. A closer look shows Telegraph Street and East Riverside on the southeast side of the interstate heading southwest to 18 in St George. Does that sound right?

There's only one place that looks a little confusing in Nevada - Rt 93 splits with one branch heading northeast and the other northwest. Once I saw the rest of the directions I realized I would need to take the northwest branch toward Jackpot (which I visited some 40 years ago when stationed in Idaho).

Two lane roads with no shoulder should be okay. It's sounds like riding here in Baton Rouge. I'd prefer a lovely wide rumble-strip-less shoulder and low speed motor traffic but, hey, I'll take what I can get.

One of the Google Maps routes seemed to follow ghost roads in western Utah. At least, in street view there was nothing there but scrub brush and sand from the look of it. I'm glad I started looking at this route early or I would have been standing on a road in Utah scratching my head wondering how come the road I was supposed to take didn't exist.

I plan to leave Louisiana in March. I should be in Utah no later than early May. From what I can tell, it shouldn't be too hot yet but I will definitely keep an eye on my water.

Do you carry a water reserve, like a collapsible 1-gallon jug, when you ride the West and other arid areas?

WS Member Аватар пользователя WS Member
National Parks of the West -- 2014

Hi Mark,

Yes, I think that you have the gist of getting to Hwy 18 in Saint George from Zion. A couple of years I put together a map for cycling between Santa Clara and Hurricane that shows a decent route; here is a link to it:

And you obviously figured out the correct branch of Hwy 93 to take in northern Nevada. You will be surprised at Jackpot if you were there 40 years ago; the town itself is not much bigger but the casinos there are a lot bigger than they used to be.

If you get into Utah in early May then you should have relatively comfortable weather for cycling. I'm sure you'll have some days when it gets pretty warm but it shouldn't get real hot (at least for more than a short period of time).
Cooler temps will decrease your need for water, but you still have some long stretches of highway in a couple of places between towns. I will check my notes over the weekend and see if I can elaborate on this further for you.

I'm not sure if this is a big deal or not, but be aware that when you cross the Rocky Mountains (and perhaps other places too) there will almost surely be a lot of snow on the ground if you plan to be there in April. The road will be generally dry and safe to cycle on, but there will probably be miles of snow-covered ground on both sides of whatever pass you choose to use. Oftentimes there will be no services available around the pass and so you will need to plan your day so that you can hopefully cross the pass and get down the other side all in one day. You also want to pay close attention to the weather because you don't want to get caught in a storm crossing a snowy mountain pass on a bike.
Please note that I am not saying that you shouldn't or can't do this; I am just saying that you need to be a little more careful in your planning.

For carrying water I have cages for 3 water bottles mounted on my bike; I normally use large water bottles and mount just two of them. I also bring two Platypus water containers (they are collapsible and the ones I use are 2-liter in size) for extra capacity. In situations where I need even more water I'll bring some extra water bottles (like 2-liter soda bottles) and dispose of them when I no longer need the extra capacity.
In situations where water is a concern I oftentimes let it dictate my day's activity. For example, if I have a 70 mile stretch between sources in hot weather, I will try to depart my fill-up point in late-afternoon with the intention of cycling until late that day; the next morning I'll get up early to (hopefully) arrive at the next distant water source before it gets too hot.

Here is a cycling website that I have found very useful in planning tours (in the U.S.). Many states have put together cycling maps for their respective areas and this website does a good job of listing them:

There is a chance that I will be in Cody, WY when you cycle through the Yellowstone area. My Dad and my brother both live there. They don't cycle and are not in warmshowers -- but if I am in Cody and you are in the area, you would have a place to stay and relax for a bit if so inclined [I have taken a number of my friends to Yellowstone and we always stop and visit my Dad for a day or three so this is not unusual].
When I initially read your post I didn't realize that you had a route already planned. Cody is 50 miles east of Yellowstone, and this is probably out of your way if you plan to enter Yellowstone from the south and then exit at the north end of the Park.

That is all I can think of for now. As mentioned above, I'll try to find out if there are any long stretches of road without services -- and send you another email accordingly.

It may be more polite if we continue this offline. Why don't you send future messages to this email address Thanks!


WS Member Аватар пользователя WS Member
Greeat info and over to email

Thanks, Kevin! This is some awesome good info.

I'll reply via email in a bit.


WS Member Аватар пользователя WS Member
Hi Mark, During my summer

Hi Mark,

During my summer 2007 bike tour I kept a journal. Over the weekend I found it and reread the appropriate sections.
I planned water stops carefully mostly when cycling in Nevada on Hwy 93. Let me give you a list of the places where I got water cycling Hwy 93 in Nevada.
* Panaca -- there is a convenience store here; if all you want is water, I would recommend going a short distance further on Hwy 93 to Cathedral Gorge State Park and getting water there.
* Cathedral Gorge State Park -- there is a small visitor center that was manned by a ranger when I was there. She was well informed about the area and let me know where water would be available.
* Pinoche -- you have to exit the highway to access any services. You will find the town park on the road in; they have a faucet where you can fill your water bottles in this park.
* Pony Springs -- the ranger at Cathedral Gorge S.P. told me that there was a U.S. Forest Service fire-fighting station here and that they would probably help me out. She was correct. There was a big green fire truck parked out front (it was right off the highway) and so it was easy to locate. There were 3 guys here and they let me have all of the water that I wanted (they had ice too).
* Major’s Place -- there is a bar and RV park here and
* Ely -- this is a good sized town and should have most things you need. It also sprawls over a surprisingly large distance.
* McGill -- there is a convenience store here. You probably want to fill or top-off your water bottles here.
* Lages Station -- there is a small convenience store here.
* Wells -- this is a small town that has most services
* Jackpot -- you appear to know this small, border town
After Jackpot, the only stretch that I noted water being a concern was heading to Arco, ID from Carey (on Hwy 20/26/93), a 45-mile stretch of road. Note that there is a convenience store where you can fill up your water bottles in Carey.

If you are not familiar with Yellowstone N.P. I wanted to give you a few tips.
* there are thermal features scattered across most of the Park; look at the standard map the Park Service provides and you will see many listed on it. If you want to go where they are the most concentrated then you should go to the Old Faithful area. There is a 2-mile trail here that goes by geysers, mudpots, boiling springs, etc. The downside to the Old Faithful area is that it is the most crowded part of the Park.
* if you want to see bison you want to cycle the stretch of road between Lake/Fishing Bridge and Canyon. You will see both herds of bison as well as animals grazing right off the road. The bison can also be on the road too.
* if you want to see elk you should go to Mammoth, the small community at the northern end of the Park. There are some Forest Service buildings in Mammoth with nicely landscaped grounds and the elk like to hang out here. There always seems to be some big bulls (with big racks) among these elk too. Just so you know, I have taken a number of visitors through Yellowstone N.P. and I always go to these 2 places to see wildlife -- and I have never been disappointed.
* the roads in Yellowstone oftentimes have no shoulder but the people usually drive slow enough that this is not an issue.
* there is one stretch of road inside Yellowstone that is notably tough cycling. It is the stretch between Old Faithful and West Thumb. You cross the Continental Divide twice and have 2 or 3 steep hills to climb. This road is also relatively busy with traffic to/from Old Faithful. Since there is a good chance you plan to cycle this road I wanted to give you advance notice.
* I’ll also mention that temperatures tend to be cool in Yellowstone. The Park usually opens on Memorial Day weekend and you will usually see a fair amount of snow if you come this early. But even in the middle of summer I have noticed that it never gets hot in the Park and that every morning is surprisingly cool to cold.
* I’m guessing you know that there are hiker-biker campsites in the Park. I think I paid $6 or $7 a night in 2011.

I hope that this helps.


Unregistered Аватар пользователя anon_user
National Parks

Hi. We're about the same age and I'm in the planning stage of some future tour. It's in the same area as your preference. All longer tours I've done were organized and I found I'd like to see certain places.

I can send the link to a route I'm making if you send your email address. Mine is

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