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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Earlier this month wifey and I headed up north to check out the riding in the Driggs, Jackson, and West Yellowstone areas. First up was a quick stop to stretch the legs in Ogden so we covered another state as well. It's hard to beat Sardine Peak for a quick hitter.

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We then made our way up to Driggs. First up was Mail Cabin to Mikesell off Teton Pass on the Idaho side although you actually ride in both Wyoming and Idaho.

After a grind up the highway the climb up Mail Cabin starts off innocently enough.
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Soon, it get's steeper and even with some reroutes there is some HAB.
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Once on top the trail traverses the ridgeline for a couple of miles with great views of the Snake River Range.
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Looking north toward the Teton Range.
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Start of the downhill into Teton Valley and the Mile Harris TH. It's a ripper dropping nearly 2000' in 2 miles.
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Ride stats: 17 miles with 2900' of elevation gain/loss.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Some of the best riding in the Driggs area is at Grand Targhee. You can ride the lifts of course but there's plenty of fun trails you can access from the base. Our route this day was Andy's>Peaked>38 Special>Buffalo Soldier>Action Jackson.

The climb up Peaked. Teton Valley and the Big Holes in the background.
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Traversing over to the start of the downhill on 38 Special.
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38 Special is a hoot of a downhill with each corner a finely manicured berm.
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Climbing back up Buffalo Soldier.
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Action Jackson.
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Loiter around long enough and sometimes you get a beauty alert.
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Ride stats: 13 miles with 2050' elev gain/loss.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I had planned to ride the Horseshoe Loops in the foothills of the Big Hole Range as a recovery day of sorts. A cold front pushed through that day bringing intermittent rain. I quickly learned this was an area not to be trifled with when wet. I waited the first squall out after the mud turned out to be the sticky variety. Then, had a good window but ended up cutting it short to bomb the downhill back to the car in the rain.

View of the tetons from Sodbuster.
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Rain over the Big Holes.
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Ride stats: 10 miles/1860' gain/loss

The next day I decided to ride the Cache Creek-Game Creek area in Jackson. I made a CW loop to maximize the two downhills. Sink or Swim>Hagen>Cache>Game Creek>Ferrins>Sink or Swim.

It must be pretty cool to have such sweet trails in your backyard. The view of Jackson from Storm King on Sink or Swim.
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It doesn't take long to get away from the dog walkers and and after a long climb there's an epic descent down Game Creek. Followed by a long climb up West Game.
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Ending on Ferrin's is pretty sweet with awesome views of the Tetons.
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ride stats: 18 miles/3200' elev gain/loss.
 

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The next day I decided to ride the Cache Creek-Game Creek area in Jackson
A long time ago, I was thinking about moving to Driggs, so I traveled to Jackson to check out the area. I rented an mtb in town (a single pivot Cannondale Rize), and the guy at the shop recommended a ride in the Cache Creek-Game Creek area. I rode from the shop, and 3 hours(?) later I remember getting dumped out on the bike path about 30 minutes south of town. I was scared of bears the whole time--I passed a couple of riders, and I asked them if I would be okay. One guy replied, "Ah, it's not very beary out here." But, eventually the trail felt pretty remote, and it was so tight in places that I could barely force my way through the tall grasses. The next day, I bought a bear bell.

The wild flowers were incredible. It had been a wet spring, and the flowers were in full bloom. I camped on a hillside outside of town and my view was the snow covered Tetons across the valley floor. In the evenings, I walked a short way down the hill from my campsite, and I watched hang gliders take off and sail out into the evening sky.

Beautiful pictures. Thanks for the memories.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
A long time ago, I was thinking about moving to Driggs, so I traveled to Jackson to check out the area. I rented an mtb in town (a single pivot Cannondale Rize), and the guy at the shop recommended a ride in the Cache Creek-Game Creek area. I rode from the shop, and 3 hours(?) later I remember getting dumped out on the bike path about 30 minutes south of town. I was scared of bears the whole time--I passed a couple of riders, and I asked them if I would be okay. One guy replied, "Ah, it's not very beary out here." But, the trail was so tight in places that I could barely force my way through the tall grasses. The next day, I bought a bear bell.

The wild flowers were incredible. It had been a wet spring, and the flowers were in full bloom. I camped on a hillside outside of town and my view was the snow covered Tetons across the valley floor. In the evenings, I walked a short way down the hill from my campsite, and I watched hang gliders take off and sail out into the evening sky.

Beautiful pictures. Thanks for the memories.
Ya, it's changed a bit since I spent a summer in Yellowstone in 1988 (the year of the fires). Jackson is now the leader of the pack in poverty with a view. Driggs is much more sleepy and laid back.

Rest assured there are bears up Game Creek. Seems like they are everywhere now. Enough anyhow that they were delisted as Endangered. I don't ride with a dinner bell but carried bear spray.

I debated hard on this day to ride Lithium or Phillips Ridge/Canyon but having done those before I went for the town classic.
 

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Cleavage Of The Tetons
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Sorry our paths couldn’t cross this time...if you come back, I have a dozen more good rides to share!
Nice pics. Indeed, we are spoiled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sorry our paths couldn't cross this time...if you come back, I have a dozen more good rides to share!
Nice pics. Indeed, we are spoiled.
We'll get that ride in one of these days! Thanks for the beta on Mail Cabin. As you said there were a few drifts to cross.
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And sorry to paint your town with a broad brush. I also happen to think of my own home town as poverty with a view. Cost of living is high here.
 

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Cleavage Of The Tetons
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I lived for 12 years in Teton Valley and 10 in JH...I prefer Teton Valley. When the stars align we will move back there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Next up was the Island Park/West Yellowstone/Lionhead area and with the help of Montana Rider arranged a shuttle to ride the Continental Divide Trail from Targhee Pass to Big Springs. Unfortunately Montana Rider couldn't join us because he was prepping for Lionhead trail-clearing party with the Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association. The strong work of SWMMBA is a large reason yet another backcountry area hasn't been lost to wilderness in SW Montana.

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From the pass the climb winds through thick forest.
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Eventually the occasional meadow offered big views of the Gallatin Range and the West Yellowstone area.
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The trail was faint once on the shoulder of Mount Two Top.
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There were still a few snow banks left from the big winter.
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The high alpine flowers were already past peak but these were among the best of the trip.
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Eventually you pass through some eerie burned forest followed by a sweet, long downhill through lodgepole pine to Reas Pass. After that you drop an old railroad grade to Big Springs near Island Park.
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Ride stats: 20 miles/1700' elev gain/2300' of descending.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
After a hike day to Windy Pass in the Gallitins we went and checked out Big Sky. Thought about doing the big climb up 2nd Yellow Mule but opted instead for the free shuttle ride to Lone Peak to do the Mountain to Meadow ride. The locals tip was to stay on the bus to Moonlight Meadow so we could add on Otter Slide which was added gravy.

The view from Windy Ridge toward the east and the Yellowstone River valley. This area and north to Bozeman is now closed to mtb access as part of the Hyalite Porcupine Buffalo Horn Wilderness Study Area.
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After the drop and gaps on Otter Slide you climb 500' from the Big Sky base area and then traverse on Coolridge trail with big views of the Spanish Peaks.

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Soon you veer off on Mountain to Meadow proper and this should be on anyone's to-do list. Generally I'm not a fan of the bike-park type flow trail with endless berm after berm but this is a riot of a descent that utilizes natural landscape features such as gullies and ridgelines to add challenge, pump, and pop.
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Ride stats: 10 miles/800' of elev gain/2300' of descending.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
We headed back south to the Henrys Lake Mtns which are actually a southern extension of the Madison Range separated by Hebgen and Earthquake Lake. This is the Lionhead area, and as mentioned previously, mtn bikers may lose access to this area and the stellar backcountry rides in them. Not really having an all day epic in us, we chose to do an out and back to Sheep Lake.

The trail starts off in a tight canyon with lush vegetation. Killer bear habitat!
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There are quite a few narrow bridges to cross.
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Soon, there are beautiful meadows to cross with big views.
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After loitering at the lake we headed back down. Some horseback riders showed up and I forgot to take some pics but suffice it to say the end goal is a gorgeous alpine lake nestled in a large cirque.
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As a downhill it's pretty sweet with a mix of tech and fast smooth sections and a few switchbacks thrown in for good measure.
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All good things come must come to an end.
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One last Montana sunset and time to head back to the Arizona. Nature Sky Natural environment Natural landscape Dusk


Get this one in soon, we may lose access if the wilderness lobby has their way. Ride stats: 11 miles/2600' elev gain/loss. Thanks for reading.
 
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