Jackson Hole prides itself on its plentiful pathways, cross-country and downhill mountain bike trails. With a bounty of bike shops ready to rent you wheels and trailers, the whole family can set out on a half- or full-day excursion. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s downhill mountain bike park is a great place for all ages to learn how to mountain bike. Once you have honed your skills apply them to the trails and pathways that are found throughout the valley. Thanks to a wide web of routes, a day spent biking as a family guarantees good sights and good times. Lauren Smith, program director for the valley pathways advocacy group Friends of Pathways, recommended these routes:
Test out your legs by riding from Teton Village to the southern entrance of Grand Teton National Park. At less than 2.5 miles round trip, the graceful route takes you past fields and furrow, and back. A beautiful mini-ride.
Grandmother’s house might as well be at the end of this route with its “over the river and through the woods” feel. Follow the Moose-Wilson Trail south as it meanders past the Shooting Star golf course and over Lake Creek. After a pit stop at the Aspens Market – 4 miles in – continue another 2.14 miles to Stilson Ranch. Park your bikes, cross the road and take a gander at what will soon become Rendezvous “R” Park – a 40-acre property on the banks of the Snake River that will open as a natural park next summer. Reunite with your bikes to return to Teton Village – it’s 6.18 miles back – or those with energy to spare can continue on to Wilson for a game of volleyball beside the Stagecoach Bar, a loop that adds about 3 miles to the day.
A great route for toting a trailer. The 7.93-mile rolling course runs from the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center to the Jenny Lake. Aside from one hill early on, this is a mellow bike along the foothills of the mountains. Pack a picnic for a lakeside lunch. Stroll around the lake. Take the boat across, or meander through the Jenny Lake Visitor’s Center, the former studio for park photographer Harrison Crandall. A geology film tells you how the Tetons were made. On the ride back, you can take a pit stop hike to Taggart Lake, a quiet pool at the mouth of Avalanche Canyon. End the day with an ice cream – or beverage – at Dornan’s. Intrepid cyclists can venture the 5.89 miles into downtown Jackson, but be aware that a headwind greets folks traveling south.
Take a sweeping tour of the valley by biking from Teton Village to Moose to Jackson back to Teton Village. The nearly-40 mile loop crosses the Snake River twice, passes four post offices and countless coffee shops, and cruises by every feature the valley has to offer. Pit stops include the Aspens market for morning fuel, Creekside Deli for a sandwich and numerous pullouts prime for picnics, and the Snake River dyke for an afternoon stroll or sunbathe. Treat yourself to a hearty dinner in Teton Village. While the route is mild in terms of elevation gain and loss, there are some rough stretches – like the dirt patch of the Moose-Wilson road – so be sure to pack a tire repair kit (and know how to use it). Be car aware as well: a third of this route finds you biking on shoulders, so make sure you feel comfortable with cars whizzing past you. Add-ons include venturing out to Kelly and having an espresso at the Kelly store, continuing on in the park to Colter Bay, or biking up East Gros Ventre Butte for a cocktail at Spring Creek Ranch or Amangani Resort.
Short trip options abound, from biking up Old Pass Road to wheeling out to Wilson. Find a plethora of trail and pathway maps at www.friendsofpathways.org/assets. Pathways’ mileage can be found at www.friendsofpathways.org/resources.