Teton Valley Mountain Biking

October 19th, 2008

The Tetons from Targhee's Peaked mountain

Mount Moran from TargheeSo, it did snow a lot last week, but winter is not here yet. It’s only October. With that in mind I’ll return from the skiing stoke to mountain biking, until the snow really starts to fly, of course. :) This summer I had about a month to kill in Teton Valley with my sexy new mountain bike so I went in search of trails to ride… and was blown away by what I found! The trail development in the Big Holes alone is enough to keep a man busy for a month… and then there’s Grand Targhee… and Teton Pass… and the Gros Ventres… dang. I rode around quite a bit this summer and not only do I still have whole areas to explore, but there was some kind of massive boy scout trail building effort this summer on Teton Pass that added two new rides. Anyway I’m back in Driggs for the weekend and was pleased to see that the lower elevations were melted off so I could do more exploring. This seems like a good time to blog about the local rides, too.

Grand Targhee Area

Grand Targhee in the summer

Dreamcatcher and Teton ValleyGrand Targhee is finally doing a bit of work on their mountain bike trails. They run the lift in the summer, and even rent bikes, but they’ve never had much of a trail system in place. While they still have a long way to go before they are a downhill destination, they did put in at least one downhill-only trail this summer which runs kind of parallel to Teton Traverse. In addition to this, Mellow bit of the Mill Creek trailthey have a nice XC loop out in Ricks Basin and there is some riding to be done around the cat tracks on Freds and Peaked mountain. The website has a PDF map which details some of this. Also, even though it is not exactly part of the resort, one of my long-time favorite trails is the Mill Creek trail. It’s a nice singletrack that runs from the mouth of Teton Canyon up to Targhee. Some people ride up Ski Hill Road and down Mill Creek, but I like to ride it up and down. Riding up Mill Creek instead of driving up to Targhee adds some nice length/exercise/fun to any Targhee ride too. Despite the lack on infrastructure I thoroughly enjoyed a few rides up at the ‘Ghee this summer, and can’t wait for more development!

The Big Hole Mountains

Hunter on the Southbound trail in Big holes

Sharks Belly trail in the Big HolesA lot of work has been done in the Big Holes since I rode there last. I actually helped do some of it this summer! :) But really, the Forest Service, Trails and Pathways, and many hard working volunteers have out done themselves managing the Big Hole trails. The Trails and Pathways organization offers a nice waterproof map of the area which gives you any idea of how awesome it is. Me mountain biking the awesome Big Hole trailsThe beauty of the Big Holes is that it’s an entire mountain range… but none of it is Wilderness and very little is private. This makes it the perfect playground for mountain bikes. Be forewarned this also makes it perfect for dirt bikes and ATVs… so if you can’t hack it on multiple-use trails look out. I’m happy to share, personally. My favorite areas is on the North side by Horseshoe Canyon where there is a big singletrack complex with lots of loop potential. The Big Hole Crest trail runs all the way down the range from Horseshoe to Piney Pass, with some other trails joining it here and there along the way. Then there’s even more trails on Piney Pass. Seriously, check out the Big Holes.

Teton Pass

Alpine flower meadow on Teton Pass

Looking into Jackson from Teton PassAll of the rides I’ve talked about so far have been cross-country, for the most part. Sure there are steep sections, and the occasional user-made jump or ladder, but it’s XC. Teton Pass also has some great XC rides, like Phillips Creek and Black Canyon. But what impressed me was the downhill and freeride trails that have been put in, like Jimmy’s Mom, Lithium and the Power Line Jumps. Big freeride feature on Jimmys Mom trail on Teton PassYou can still ride around most of the big stuff which is nice, but if you like the big stuff man is there some fun here for you. From what I understand, the Teton Freedom Riders are responsible for most of it. They’ve got some sweet videos of them hitting the burly stuff on their website and youTube too. It is all Teh Gnar. If you want to check these trails out, I recommend parking down at the Black Canyon trailhead (where you come out after skiing the east side of the Pass) because there is a nice map of the trails there and the Old Pass Road starts right there for an easy ride up. Besides all the great trails (and the new boyscout-built ones) another appeal to the Pass is that it can be shuttled and the Old Pass Road provides a nice easy (paved) way to ride up. Beautiful. :)

… And Beyond

I’m not going to get into it here, but there’s even more riding to be had around the Tetons than this. On the East side of Jackson there are all the trails of Snow King, Cache, and Game Creek in the Gros Ventres. There are trails over in Swan Valley too. Who knows… someday maybe we’ll be able to ride singletrack in Grand Teton National Park too. :P I can’t wait to keep exploring this ever-expanding network of trails in the years to come!

A good place to start (or continue) your own exploration is this neat little local guide:
The Book: Guide to Mountain Biking in the Jackson Hole Area

View from Mill Creek trailhead in Teton CanyonTarghee flowersThe Ricks Basin XC loop at Grand Targhee

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