If Tim Young gets his way, even casual cyclists will soon have a way to tour some of the wildest country in the lower 48. Young is the brains behind the proposed Greater Yellowstone Trail: a 180-mile, largely-paved corridor that would connect existing trail networks in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. If completed on schedule, the trail would stretch uninterrupted from Jackson Hole to West Yellowstone in Montana by the end of 2019.
“All of the communities along the entire Greater Yellowstone Trail are really excited about it,” Young told Shoulders of Giants. “Individuals are facilitating their own sections and then supporting each other to try and complete this whole project.”
Designed with foot and bicycle traffic in mind, the route passes through Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, three national forests, two state parks, and multiple municipal and county parks.
The proposed loop will connect several existing trail networks, many of which were built along old railroad beds. Those complete systems, which are a mix of paved and gravel trails, make up about 70% of the finished route.