“Jackson Hole is definitely getting up there as a mountain biking destination,” says Anne Marie Curley, a member of Teton Freedom Riders, a non-profit group that builds and maintains free ride trails in the area. “I go to Whistler quite often and we’re not at that level, but with Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Grand Targhee having bike parks and then Teton Freedom Rider trails and all the cross country trails around the valley, the area is at a point where people come here just to ride.”
When riding in Jackson, you’ll probably want to bring two bikes, and if you don’t have a quiver of bikes, local shops—Wilson Backcountry Sports and [Hoback Sports](hobacksports.com) offer rentals.
“The quality of all our trails has just gotten so much better in the 20+ years I’ve been here,” Curley says. Curley rides a Kona Operator when she’s hitting the downhill trails on Teton Pass and a Yeti 575 on cross country trails.
Curley has no shortage of recommendations. “If you’re looking for a workout, Ferrins is a good, solid up for a great down,” she says. “At the top, you get great views of the valley and the Tetons too.”
The most common place to access Ferrins is from the Cache Creek trailhead in East Jackson. Curley says the Tanninger Trail entrance is better though. “It’s more direct,” she says. The start of the Tanager Trail does not have an associated parking lot, so you can only use it if you bike to it. To ride there, head south on Redmond Ave from downtown Jackson until Redmond begins to climb and turns into Snow King Drive. Ride up Snow King Drive until you see a trail heading off. Jump on it and follow signs to Ferrins.
The only problem with Ferrins is that it’s not super long. Locals often use it to do a lap or two after work. “If you’re in great shape, it will take maybe an hour and fifteen minutes,” Curley says. “If you’re not in great shape, maybe it’s more 1:30 – 1:45.”
Ferrins also links to a number of other trails, including West Game Creek , Wilson Canyon, and Leeks Canyon. Jackson Friends of Pathways maintains a great trail map of trails in the Greater Snow King Area .
Curley’s and Teton Freedom Riders' specialty is downhill trails. These are highly concentrated on Teton Pass, but fair warning: this year, with the valley’s above average snowpack, it could be July before some of these are rideable. Wilson Backcountry Sports, at the base of Teton Pass, is a great resource for trail conditions.
If you’re new to downhill riding and not the strongest cross country rider, Curley recommends starting at the JHMR Bike Park. “They’ve got some jumps that have no gaps so there aren’t really any consequences,” Curley says. “On our trails on the pass, there is almost always a way around jumps and features, but you still want to have some experience biking before you try them.”
“The Fuzzy Bunny trail has a feature at the top that you have to jump to get into the actual trail,” Curley says. “It’s a great indicator. If you’re uncomfortable getting into the trail, you might not want to be on the trail.”
“ Jimmy’s Mom is not so serious though,” Curley says. “If you’re a cross country rider, there are roots and obstacles, but you should be fine with them. I know that’s a trail a lot of cross country riders, who are curious about free ride, go out and try.”
The free ride trails on Teton Pass are designed so you can ride one into the other. “I like Jimmy’s Mom to Candyland or Jimmy’s Mom to Palmer Jump,” Curley says. “If you do Fuzzy Bunny, you can hook into the Parallel Trail.” Most of the free ride trails connect into Parallel, which is the trail that takes you to the bottom of the pass. (From Jimmy’s Mom you do have to hike-a-bike up to Parallel though). The Parallel Trail starts at Crater Lake, about 1/3 of the way up Old Pass Road. Teton Freedom Riders has plenty of videos to get you stoked for free riding on their website. Here’s a favorite of ours.
There are cross country options on Teton Pass too. Arrow to Ridge, on the north side of the pass, is a favorite. Blacks Canyon, on the south side, is another. You can ride just to the head of Blacks, which is a flat, mellow ride through wildflowers or drop into the canyon. If you drop in, expect a fairly technical and fully fun cross country ride that drops you out at the Trail Creek trailhead on Old Pass Road.
Find a Teton Pass trail map here.