Mountain Bikes in the National Parks

Moab Mtn BikerI love the title of this article: Mountain Biking is Not a Crime. Cool title, but strange content. If you didn't know any better, you would think that mountain bikes are not allowed in the National Parks. The author even suggests in the first paragraph that not only are mountain bikes not permitted on the same roads as RVs, they are completely "verboten" in the Parks. This of course is not true! Anybody can ride their mountain bike in a National Park. The catch? You are not allowed to ride it everywhere. But, the author of that article wants to be able to ride her mountain bike anywhere she wants. This is not cool. I'm not even the first person to say this today. The National Parks Traveler has also reviewed this article.

There are rules in place to keep the wildlands in our Parks wild. And while it would probably be a blast for mountain bikers to run on the skinny single tracks of some wilderness areas, the line has been drawn and this is not allowed. Even though 4x4 trucks are capable of getting off the paved road, you wouldn't expect that they would be allowed to drive across open fields or up slickrock inside a protected Park. Just like these 4x4s, mountain bikes are designed to play in the dirt, but they shouldn't be allowed in the wilderness protected backcountry.

Many of our wild National Parks are surrounded by millions of acres of federal lands with designations for recreation, including the Forest Service and the BLM to name two. So, here is the plan for your next road-trip: Bring the mountain bike. Ride it around on the paved roads inside of your favorite National Park. There may even be some dirt roads available to take your bike in the front-country. And, if you are really wanting to go bombing down a single-track trail on your bike, drive (or ride) outside the park and ask around for the trail. Inside of National Parks, single tracks are for hiking boots.


With respect the last time I was in GRSM I did not see any 4x4 trails. One the otherhand I did see hundreds of miles of trail that could be used as MTB trails, you all probably know this but there is around 550 miles open to horseback riding. Not only are horses more detrimental to the trail than a bike, they also feed on the vegitaion and leave manure. I would like to know the reason why MTBs are not allowed in the National Parks, so if someone could email me with that answer I would appreciate it.