Posts filed under ‘Biking’

Bear Safety Tips for Your Jackson Hole Adventure

You’re hiking along with your family, deep into some family bonding when you round a corner and see a bear about 20 feet down the trail. What do you do??

The first tip starts in town, way before you even hit the trail. If you are thinking about hiking or mountain biking in the bear-spray-collageTeton area it is imperative that you purchase bear spray. There are a variety of different sprays ranging from a small size and a larger size but they all do the same thing – deter bears. The larger size is good if you are only planning on buying one can of spray. However, it is suggested that you have more than one person with bear spray in a group of 3 or more. For this, the smaller size will do the trick.

Now, you have the spray, you are in the woods and spot a bear. What do you do with the darn thing? First, make sure that the spray is accessible. Wear it on your hip belt of your backpack or on your belt. The spray doesn’t do you any good if it’s in your backpack. By the time that you take off your pack, unzip it and get out the spray you could already be charged by a bear. Next, remove the safety, which is a wedge between where your thumb should be located and the canister. Do not spray until the bear comes within 40 feet of you. Do not make eye contact with the bear and try to back away slowly while talking in a soothing voice to the bear. Say things like “Hi, Mr. Bear. I’m not here to hurt you. I am backing up slowly.. etc.”

If the bear starts pawing the ground on all fours and puts its head down like it is going to charge, prepare to spray the bear. Be aware of the wind. If the wind is coming toward you, you will most likely get sprayed a little too. In this case, wait until the last possible moment to spray the bear. Hold the canister out away from your body and spray at the feet of the bear when it is far away. Since the spray will rise, the bear will have to run through the mist of pepper spray in order to get to you. If it is within 10 feet of you, aim for its head. Deploy the spray in 2 to 3 second bursts in a sweeping motion. This will prolong the amount of time that you can spray the bear. If you hold down the trigger the whole time the spray may be out in as little as 8 seconds. Try not to use the whole amount of spray in the first attack since more than one application may be needed.

If for some reason the bear remains undeterred by the spray and continues to charge you, get on the ground and lie with your stomach on the ground. Spread your legs so it is difficult for the bear to flip you over. Cover your head with your hands. Maintain this stance until the bear becomes disinterested and leaves the area. Do not stand up until the bear has left the area.

After any attack be sure to retrace your steps and clear the area. Also, warn others about the bears presence, including the National Park or National Forest staff.

How do you avoid a bear encounter all together? Noise. The primary reason that a bear attacks is that it was surprised by the people – it is scared and views you as a threat. If you carry on a conversation while hiking or biking it will help prevent you from sneaking up on a bear and surprising it. It is debatable whether bear bells have any effect. Overall, conversation or singing works best. Just remember, the bear is more afraid of you than you are of it. It attacks because it feels threatened, not because it is naturally viscous. Hopefully you will not run into any bears when you are on a hike or bike ride in Jackson Hole, but if you do, remember these tips –

1. Always carry pepper spray
2. Avoid eye contact with the bear
3. If charged use a sweeping motion and spray in 2 to 3 second bursts
4. If attacked, drop to the ground, cover your head and spread your legs. Do not drop to the ground unless the bear actually hits you.

With these tips in mind you should be able to survive a bear attack.

July 14, 2014 at 3:37 pm 7 comments

April Biking in Grand Teton National Park

Every April the Grand Teton National Park interior road gets plowed from the Bradley/Taggart Lake trail head to Signal Mountain Lodge. The road is then open to the public to use on foot or by bike or roller blades. The time where you can use the interior road without motor vehicles is very short – this year it is three weeks long, with it opening yesterday (April 8th) and closing to foot traffic (bike paths will be open instead) and opening to motor vehicle traffic on May 1.

IBike Grand Teton National Park Springf it’s a beautiful sunny weekend expect to see lots of people out using the road. One of my favorite things to do is to pack a picnic lunch or pick up a sandwich from Creekside Deli on the  way out of town and bike up to Jenny Lake or if you are motivated – up to String Lake. There is still plenty of snow on the ground off of the road, but you can still trudge to the edge of the lake for a little picnic. If you are a serious road biker, biking the interior road is really fun and you can make it a nice day ride. I would suggest doing an out and back on the interior road since the snowbanks are still quite high on the highway (which normally provides a nice loop option) and the shoulder is rather sandy, which don’t provide for ideal riding conditions.

If you are looking for a hill climb, bike up to the top of Signal Mountain. The narrow windy road to the top is also closed to motorized vehicles and the view of Jackson Lake and the Tetons from the top of the mountain is well worth the effort!

Road running is also really fun on the interior road. I guarantee that it will be one of the most scenic runs that you have ever had. Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks though, because none of the visitor buildings are open. Same goes for the toilets – though you will be able to find outhouses at the Bradley/Taggart Lake trail head and at String Lake.

Just because the interior road isn’t open to motor vehicles doesn’t mean that you don’t have to purchase a park pass. It’s Spring Tetonspossible that they may be manning the gate sporadically, but if there is someone at the gate you do need to pay the entry, which is $25 for a 7 day pass to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park. I highly recommend taking a walk, run or bike ride on the Grand Teton National Park road before they open it to motorized vehicles on May 1. It is a unique experience that is so amazing you can’t pass it up!

April 9, 2014 at 1:46 pm 2 comments

Itinerary for the Adventure Lover Visiting Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole is an adventure lover’s playground. There are so many fun activities on the water, in the mountains and in the air. When my family was planning on coming to visit I sent them a bunch of different ideas on what to do during their trip. Below I will list what I recommended for them. You probably will not be able to fit all of the activities in (they were here for 10 days and just scratched the surface). In fact, I have lived here for 3 years and I am still discovering new activities to do. If you have a taste for adventure or in some cases are an adrenaline junky, the following activities are for you!

Go Paragliding

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (located in Teton Village) as well as Snow King Resort (located in Jackson) offer tandem paragliding rides from the summit of their mountains. These scenic flights can be tailored to your thirst for adrenaline. If you want to do flips and sharp turns the guide can cater to your requests. If you just want a mellow scenic flight they are more than happy to provide that for you too. Contact Jackson Hole Paragliding for more information.

Whitewater Rafting

There are plenty of great local rafting companies that can take you down the Snake River. They all run the same stretch of river for their Whitewater and Scenic trips, so they are pretty comparable. If you stay with us we can provide you with a 10% discount on your whitewater rafting trip with Dave Hansen Whitewater. You may choose between a scenic trip, whitewater or combination of the two. You may also choose to be in an 8 man raft as opposed to the larger 16 person rafts. The 8 man rafts are more exciting due to their smaller size. All of the raft companies provide life jackets, paddles and helmets. Wetsuits and booties are available at an additional cost.
Kayak the Snake in Duckies

The Snake River meanders through Grand Teton National Park south through Hoback Canyon. The portion before the canyon is mellow, but once the Snake hits the canyon it turns into class 3 whitewater (with one class 4 section). If the 8 man whitewater rafts don’t provide enough excitement for you, going down the canyon in a Ducky is your best bet for an adrenaline rush. Duckies are inflatable kayaks that come in singles or doubles. A double is a little more stable, not to mention you have a partner in crime to scream at as you get doused by the rapids.

You may rent duckies at Rendezvous River Sports or Leisure Sports. You will need two cars so that you may spot one car at the take-out point. When my parents visited we put in at the Astoria boat drop, just south of Hoback Junction. We had a longer float with a few miles of flat, relaxing water, before the rapids. We took out at Sheep Gulch. The typical put in for just the 8 mile whitewater section is at West Table. Be aware that the river does have some nasty rapids, so make sure that you are confident in reading the water and have good paddle skills. Rafting and whitewater kayaking are dangerous sports, so make sure that you are completely confident in your abilities before taking Duckies down the Snake River.

Rent Stand Up Paddleboards or Canoes

Depending on how adventurous you are there are some great lakes to paddleboard on or canoe. Please visit either my post on Stand Up Paddleboarding in Jackson Hole or Canoeing on Leigh Lake. Both provide nice options for a leisure outing on the water.

Take a Hike

There are a few great day hikes that I recommend in Grand Teton National Park. Please find them listed in my previous post 3 Great Day Hikes in Grand Teton National Park. If you are looking to summit something, Jackson Peak and Sleeping Indian are good options in the Gros Ventres Range. These peaks are located across the valley from Grand Teton National Park and provide gorgeous views of the Teton Range.
Mountain Bike

There is plenty of smooth single track around Jackson. For a nice long loop try Cache to Game Creek.  Shadow Mountain is also a fun bike ride. You bike a dirt road up to the top and then take a fun single track trail down through the woods back to your car. For a shorter afternoon ride Putt Putt is a fun trail. Most of the trails in the valley are cross country mountain bike rides. If you are looking to ride some good downhill trails try the bike park at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort or head up to Teton Pass. Friends of Pathways have maps of the trails area – find them online here.

Horseback Riding

Well, you are in the Wild West, right? I think one of the best ways to take in the scenery is from the back of a horse. There are a variety of companies that offer different sorts of rides. For a short easy ride see my post of Spring Creek Ranch. For a longer, more adventurous ride look no further than Mill Iron Ranch. Cowboy up and jump into the saddle for an unforgettable adventure.
Take the Tram

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort offers summer tram rides. These rides are scenic and if you get lucky you may catch a glimpse of some wildlife (I saw a moose from the tram earlier this summer). There are also a lot of different options  for a short hike around Rendezvous Mountain. For the more adventurous you may want to hike out to Marion Lake, located in Grand Teton National Park behind Rendezvous Mountain. Also, the waffles in Corbet’s Cabin at the top of the tram are pretty hard to resist – I highly recommend them!

Road Bike
With the new pathways open, there are plenty options for short scenic rides or longer athletic rides. See my previous post Road Biking in Jackson Hole for ideas on where to ride and rent bikes.

So there you have it – a few ideas for your trip. I could keep going, but I think that I provided enough options to get you started. Hopefully, you will be able to get off the beaten path and experience at least one of these activities during your stay in Jackson Hole!

August 29, 2012 at 7:51 pm Leave a comment

Mountain Bike Shadow Mountain

There are plenty of cross country mountain bike trails in Jackson Hole, however, sometimes you just want to go up and then go down and be done. Shadow Mountain is located just north of the town of Jackson, Wyoming and offers a great single track trail, bordering on downhill mountain biking. The trail has a few steep sections that can get your heart pumping, but for the most part, this flowy single track trail is tons of fun and boasts gorgeous views of the Teton Range from across the valley. The trail is rated moderate and is 4 miles round trip.

To reach the trail head drive north on Route 121/89/26 out of Jackson, toward the Jackson Hole Airport. Pass the airport. Within 2 miles of passing the Southern entrance to Grand Teton National Park you will see Antelope Flats Road on your right. Turn right and drive past the buffalo and Moulton Barn. The Moulton Barn is the token barn of Jackson Hole and it is worth the stop if you have never seen it. Continue on Antelope Flats Road until the road ends at a T intersection. Turn left. Drive until you reach a fork in the road – on the right it is a private road and on the left is a dirt road with access to the national forest. Turn left. In just under a mile you will reach a trail head with a small parking area on the right. Park here, hop on your bike and head directly across from where you parked onto a dirt road that starts to go uphill.

The dirt road isn’t ridiculously steep, but it is laboriously long and uphill. Be prepared for a 45 minute to an hour long bike ride uphill. Along the way be aware of car traffic although rare, and ATVs. There are plenty of viewpoints on the climb up and you can see the Tetons across the valley for most of the ride. There is no water on Shadow Mountain, so be prepared with lots of water and snacks. Also, make sure to wear sunscreen because the ascent is mostly in the sun.

Once you reach the summit you will find a single track path on the left hand side of the road. This is the start of the descent, my favorite part! The descent brings you through tree stands, down some steeper, slightly rocky pitches and it even has a nice open ridge line that you bike down towards the bottom. The ridge has a fair amount of loose rock, so if you are a novice, take it slow.  Once you reach the valley floor, follow the trail out to a dirt road. Turn left on the road and bike back to your car.

I do not wear any downhill mountain biking gear when I bike Shadow, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t as challenging as a downhill trail. There aren’t any man made jumps or gaps in the trail, it is straight up nature at its best. If you are an avid mountain biker you should definitely make a point to ride Shadow Mountain when you are in town, you won’t regret it!

June 7, 2012 at 8:38 pm 8 comments


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