Enjoy Car-Free Days at National Parks Across the Country
Recently, Shenandoah National Park announced a car-free day on part of the infamous Skyline Drive, an opportunity for cyclists and other non-motorized users to enjoy the scenery and atmosphere free from motorized vehicles. This announcement and Facebook comments on the topic got me curious. What other parks around the country are doing similar initiatives to encourage cycling?
Here’s a list of the ones I could find:
Shenandoah National Park is hosting its first Ride the Drive Car-Free Day event on April 23, 2017, coinciding with National Park Week and National ParkRx Day. Skyline Drive will be closed to motorized vehicles from the Front Royal Entrance Station at mile 0 to the Thornton Gap Entrance Station at mile 31.5, while the rest will remain open to cars. Entrance fees to the park will also be waived on April 22 and 23. People looking to participate are encouraged to register, however. You can find more info and register for the event here.
Acadia National Park
In 2015, Acadia National Park started offering car-free mornings on certain dates on the Park Loop Road, which includes Cadillac Summit Road. For the past two years, car-free mornings have taken place on two Saturdays a year, usually one in May and one in September. On these dates, the Park Loop Road, including the road to Cadillac Summit, are closed to motor vehicles until noon. Acadia has not announced their 2017 car-free morning dates yet, but check their news page for updates as the spring progresses.
Cades Cove Loop Road is an 11-mile one-way road that provides cyclists with excellent wildlife viewing opportunities and the chance to tour 19th-century homesteads in Smoky Mountains National Park. From early May to late September each year, the road is closed to motorized vehicles every Wednesday and Saturday morning until 10 am. Bikes can also be rented at the campground store in the summer and fall months. For more info on cycling in the park, check out their webpage.
While Lassen has not announced any car-free dates for 2017 yet, they have held a few each year for the past several years. Cyclists have the opportunity to see sights such as Lassen Peak, Brokeoff Mountain, and Manzanita Lake and ride the entire length of the park road without any other vehicular traffic. One car-free day usually takes place in late spring, once the road is clear of snow cover, and another in the fall before the road is closed for the winter. Based on previous years, it seems that the first car-free day date is usually announced sometime in April. Check the Lassen website for updates.
Crater Lake National Park will be hosting two car-free days this year. On September 9 and 16, 2017, East Rim Drive will be closed to motorized vehicles all day on these two Saturdays. This will offer cyclists 24 miles of car-free roads to enjoy, and the opportunity to check out America’s deepest lake and the surrounding forests. There is an entrance fee to the park ($15 per vehicle or $10 per person if walking or cycling in), but no additional fee to participate in the event. More information and a map can be found here.
Do you know of other National Park car-free days or similar opportunities? Please share in the comments!