Grand Teton and Island Park Family Trip
Grand Teton and Island Park is the perfect introduction to mountain biking.
On this trip we will be riding through the meadows and valleys of Island Park just west of Grand Teton National Park. Our route takes us on old railroad grades and forest service roads through the backcountry along many beautiful streams and rivers. There is very little elevation change so that both the climbing and descending are quite manageable. In addition to the biking, there are lots of opportunities for fly fishing, hiking and swimming along the way.
And did we mention the wildlife? On our first day, we will be riding in Harriman State Park, a beautiful wildlife reserve that is home to moose, elk, osprey, eagles and trumpeter swans. From there we will work our way toward the Grand Teton looming in the distance.
On our final day, we will have some free time in the Tetons. One option includes taking a boat ride across Jenny Lake for a spectacular hike to Inspiration Point or Hidden Falls.
Our trip begins west of the Grand Tetons in the Island Park & Ashton Ranger Districts of the Targhee National Forest and we have about a three hour shuttle from Wilson to get there. We begin riding at Harriman State Park. The park is a wildlife refuge and was a gift to the state of Idaho from the Harriman family. There is a wonderful trail system here. The easy winding trails will allow us to see all types of wildlife including trumpeter swan and moose. After lunch we will head into the forest to our camp at Pole Bridge on the banks of the Warm River, a good place for a dip. TOTAL MILEAGE: 10 - 24 miles
Today we will ride south from camp on the old railroad grade originally built in the late 1800’s. We will stop for lunch at Upper Mesa Falls on the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River. Here the river is squeezed into a narrow canyon of volcanic rock, basalt and tuff, resulting in the thunderous falls, a 105 foot drop. The forest service has restored an old log inn, complete with some very interesting wildlife exhibits. After lunch at the falls, we will head back to the railroad grade. The first part of our ride this afternoon is a gentle constant downward slope with incredible views of the Warm River, so named because its flow is so constant that it never freezes in the winter. Our camp for the evening is in a campground once again right on the banks of the Warm River with perfect access to a fine swimming hole for the kids. TOTAL MILEAGE: 10 - 20 miles
We’ll start our ride this morning rolling out of the pine forest and through the farmer’s barley fields on a mix of dirt roads and pavement. We’ll continue riding east on dirt roads with great intermittent views of the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. The Grand Teton is the tallest in the Teton Range at 13,700 feet. Relatively untouched by humans, the land has remained a haven to wildlife. We will pass lakes that are some of the few surviving trumpeter swan nesting areas and ride through green meadows under the Teton Range. There is a continuous climb today that gains 800 feet and we are rewarded with a lovely campsite where we can relax for the evening. TOTAL MILEAGE: 11 - 27 miles
This morning we will leave Loon Lake and roll along the ridge, leaving the forest for the John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway. When in season, we can snack along the way on wild huckleberries. Lunch today will be at Grassy Lake Reservoir nestled in between Yellowstone National Park to the north and Grand Teton National Park to the south. This section of our ride brings us along the banks of the meandering Snake River. It is a beautiful open valley, scenic and undisturbed. On our final night, we’ll camp in an improved campground as we are only five miles from Grand Teton National Park. Our campground has great access to a swimming hole on the Snake River, and we have the special treat of hot showers and ice cream! TOTAL MILEAGE: 8 - 18 miles
Today we’ll spend some free time in Grand Teton National Park. We will shuttle from camp south to the visitor center with its fantastic exhibits. From there, we have options, including a hike around Jenny Lake, a boat ride across the lake and a hike to Hidden Falls and/or Inspiration Point – all of which include lots of great views of the Grand Teton! We will meet back at the van in the early afternoon for our return shuttle to Wilson. TOTAL MILEAGE: 2.5 - 6 miles hiking
Itineraries are subject to change due to weather, road conditions, rider safety and other factors which may affect the logistics of the adventure.
Riding Surface: Gravel and dirt roads, some singletrack, pavement and railroad grade bike paths.
Overall Rating: Introductory
Technical Difficulty: Easy
Physical Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Altitude: 6,000 - 8,000 feet
For travel logistics and a packing list, please download the complete trip itinerary.