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Tetons area mountain bike touring?

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Tetons area mountain bike touring?

Old 06-30-11, 10:21 AM
  #1  
velo2000
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Tetons area mountain bike touring?

I'd like to take a short (2 to 4 night) bike tour in the Yellowstone/Tetons area with my girlfriend, her sister and sister's boyfriend. I've done some bike touring, but they're all new to bike touring (but they are avid cyclists).

At first I was thinking we could do a loop in Yellowstone, but I'm afraid traffic might make it a less than enjoyable experience. Now I'm thinking we might see Yellowstone by car, and then spend several days bike touring around the Tetons. And since we all have mountain bikes, I thought maybe we could travel by mountain bike. I'd like to make this an enjoyable introduction to bike touring for them.

So, do you have any recommendation for good mountain biking touring routes around the Tetons? I'm ok with some paved roads, some dirt/gravel roads and easy single track as well. I know the park hiking trails are closed to bikes, so the single track would have to be outside the park, of course. Anyone familiar with the Ashton-Flagg Ranch Road or other back roads on the west side of the Tetons? Could we do a dirt road loop around the Tetons?

If you're curious about gear, I've got an Extrawheel trailer, the other guy might pull a Bob Yak and the girls will probably use seatpost racks and/or handlebar bags to carry lighter stuff. Thanks!
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Old 06-30-11, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by velo2000 View Post
I'd like to take a short (2 to 4 night) bike tour in the Yellowstone/Tetons area with my girlfriend, her sister and sister's boyfriend. I've done some bike touring, but they're all new to bike touring (but they are avid cyclists).

At first I was thinking we could do a loop in Yellowstone, but I'm afraid traffic might make it a less than enjoyable experience. Now I'm thinking we might see Yellowstone by car, and then spend several days bike touring around the Tetons. And since we all have mountain bikes, I thought maybe we could travel by mountain bike. I'd like to make this an enjoyable introduction to bike touring for them.

So, do you have any recommendation for good mountain biking touring routes around the Tetons? I'm ok with some paved roads, some dirt/gravel roads and easy single track as well. I know the park hiking trails are closed to bikes, so the single track would have to be outside the park, of course. Anyone familiar with the Ashton-Flagg Ranch Road or other back roads on the west side of the Tetons? Could we do a dirt road loop around the Tetons?

If you're curious about gear, I've got an Extrawheel trailer, the other guy might pull a Bob Yak and the girls will probably use seatpost racks and/or handlebar bags to carry lighter stuff. Thanks!
Look at section 2 of the Great Divide Trail. Ride some section of it if you can't do the whole thing.

Riding within the Park isn't all that bad. The speed limit is 45 mph and my experience with traffic was good. It can get crowded around the geyser basins but the rest of the park is rather mellow.
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Old 06-30-11, 01:09 PM
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I used to live in Jackson and have biked nearly every dirt road/two track out there.

Actually, Grand Teton National Park has quite a few dirt roads that you can bike on for a totally different experience - since you will probably not encounter anyone else.

I organized an excellent four-day loup of the region starting in Jackson, then heading northeast to Brooks Lake, over Union Pass to Green River Lakes, and then to Granite Hot Springs. I think it best if you spend a day in each of these locations - lazing about and/or hiking into the wilderness. That would make seven days.

Here's a possible itinerary (Saturday thru following Sunday) -

Day 1 - Arrive Jackson (late afternoon) - stash vehicle - via Spring Gulch Rd to
Night 1 - Jenny Lake Hiker/Biker campground.
Day 2 - Via Gros Ventre River to Togwatee Pass and Brooks Lake
Night 2 - Brooks Lake
Day 3 - Day Off - Teton Wilderness
Night 3 - Brooks Lake
Day 4 - Via Union Pass to Upper Green River
Night 4 - Green River Lakes


(From way back in 1988 on my 2nd X-USA trip)

Day 5 - Day Off - Bridger Wilderness
Night 5 - Green River Lakes
Day 6 - via Jack Creek and Bondurant to Granite Creek (rugged)
Night 6 - Granite Hot Springs
Day 7 -Day Off - Gros Ventre Wilderness
Night 7 - Granite Hot Springs
Day 8 - via Hoback Jct and Fall Cr Rd thru Wilson
Night 8 - Phelps Lake
Day 9 - Back to Jackson (by noon)

Of course, you could leave out any or all of the hiking days for a shorter trip.
If interested, I'll give you more info.

PS - Reclamation Road over to Idaho from Flagg Ranch is nothing to write home about - not that much scenery, moderate traffic, dusty. Plus you don't have many great dirt road options in Idaho - the thru roads are in the valley, the forest roads are mosly out-and-back.
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Old 06-30-11, 01:54 PM
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What about grizzly bears? Did you ever encounter one on your rides, Jamawani? It seems to me they're fast runners and I would feel precarious on a bicycle with one on my back.
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Old 06-30-11, 02:11 PM
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Yes - the Teton region is grizzly country.
You must ride and camp accordingly.

For the loop I outlined there are developed camping options -
Or you can random camp - but must know how to store your food.
Rule #1 - NEVER EAT IN YOUR TENT
(Also, never use a tent that you have EVER eaten in.)

I've ridden/hiked from Wyoming to the Yukon.
Lots of backcountry. Never had a problem.
One time in the Gros Ventre Mountains, it was raining -
And the next morning I had huge tracks circling my tent.
And - yes - I was aware that the grizzly was outside my tent during the night.
But my food was hung two hundred yards downwind.
I'm sure the grizzly was more interested in the peanut butter in my pannier -
Than a stinky, old cyclist in a tent.
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Old 07-07-11, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
If interested, I'll give you more info.
I'm definitely interested and would greatly appreciate more details on which roads you recommend. I know we can't do a weeklong trip, perhaps 3 to 5 days at the most. I like the option of staying at Jenny Lake and any hot springs would be very welcome. I'm thinking we could do maybe 30 to 50 miles per day without getting too worn out. I know that might limit our options, but even a short three day trip with nice scenery would be a good time.

Thanks for the reminder about bears. Developed campgrounds with bear boxes would be nice, but we'll hang our food if we need to. I'm also wondering about mosquitoes. I've stayed at the Hatchet Camground and remember it being swarmed with mozzies. Any hope we can avoid the worst of the bugs?

Thanks!
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Old 07-08-11, 09:02 AM
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You will need a Jackson/Buffalo Ranger District map of Teton National Forest (waterproof).
They have these at the visitor's center/USFS office on the north edge of Jackson.
That would be a good place to start for info and for parking (??).

Four nights -
Either Spring Gulch Rd or US 89 to Teton Park Road
NIGHT 1 - Jenny Lake
Jenny Lake Loop and Teton Park Rd to Moran Jct
US 26 East to Buffalo Fork Rd
NIGHT 2 - Turpin Meadows
Turpin Meadows RD to US 26 to Brooks Lake Rd
NIGHT 3 - Brooks Lake
Brooks Lake Rd east to US 26 west to Moccasin Creek Rd
(3 miles - steep at first - low crossing of CD - 9200 ft)
Upper Fish Creek Rd (FR 30750)
5 miles of trail - (TR 3078) - often two-track
Lower Fish Creek Rd (FR 30420, FR 30411, FR 30410) to Gros Ventre Bridge
Gros Ventre Rd to Crystal Creek
NIGHT 4 Crystal Creek
Continue on Gros Ventre Rd to Kelly Warm Springs - dip with Teton views
And back to Jackson

The first day is mostly paved
The second is a mix of paved and dirt
The third is mostly dirt with some trail
the fourth is mostly pavement

You should DEFINITELY get current info from the USFS office in Jackson before starting.
The section of trail on the third day is fairly easy - all to the west of Fish Creek following the valley.
You may wish to download and print a more detailed USGS topo of that section.
DO NOT COUNT ON GPS WORKING IN REMOTE AREAS.
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Old 07-08-11, 09:57 AM
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PS -

Turpin Meadows, Brooks Lake, and Fish Creek are prime grizzly habitat.
USFS campgrounds have bear boxes. Solo travel on Fish Creek discouraged.
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Old 07-08-11, 11:25 AM
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jamawani 
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PPS -

Route:
http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view...pen_ive_done=1

You never said when. The Fish Creek section is still flooded after a record winter of snow.
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Old 07-08-11, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
PPS -

Route:
http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view...pen_ive_done=1

You never said when. The Fish Creek section is still flooded after a record winter of snow.
Good Point. We're planning for the 2nd or 3rd week of August this year. Hopefully water levels will be down by then. Thanks so much for the info. I'll digest this and reply back if I need more advice.
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