Take on the Tetons

Biking Wyoming's Jackson Hole
  |  Gorp.com
Map of Jackson, Wyoming area

Most people will do everything they can to stay out of a hole, bikers included. The very phrase conjures up images of confinement and disadvantage. (Unless, of course, you're Tiger Woods.) But just east of the Grand Tetons and surrounded by peaks towering over 7,000 feet above the valley floor (elevation 6,209 feet), Jackson, Wyoming, is the best hole you'd ever want to bike.

In 1807, a guy named John Colter followed the general path of the Lewis and Clark expedition, stayed a little to the south of that famous duo's route, and discovered a region in the Rocky Mountains that has become famous among outdoor-sports enthusiasts for both its high and low areas.

Its first name was"Colter's Hell" for the steaming vents and geysers that made the area seem otherworldly. By 1872, the magic of what we now know as Yellowstone was immortalized by becoming the world's first national park.

The park's basin, or caldera, was formed by ancient volcanic eruptions brought about in part when North America's western crust rammed into the slower moving eastern crust. The Rockies and Tetons rose, building massive pressure underneath, and when the top blew off (several times—the last of which occurred 600,000 years ago) it left a valley among the peaks that measures 28 by 47 miles. The hole, so to speak—or at least one of them.

Within Yellowstone, outdoor activity is mostly limited to hiking and other low-impact activities, so to explore the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, bikers and other outdoor-sports aficionados flock to Jackson. The following rides travel the pavement and dirt roads in and around Grand Teton National Park, which lies just south of Yellowstone. Read on to discover some of the many routes you'll find when you want to get down to some serious (and seriously fun) riding.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication



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