Tetons & Yellowstone

ROUTE DESCRIPTION: After the drive to Lander we hopped on our bikes
and rode from the B&B in town about fifteen miles round trip up to Sinks
Canyon State Park, a gradual climb and descent with little traffic. The
scenery is pretty and a shake down ride was perfect after the drive and before
serious riding the next day. If you go in the fall (late August through October),
stop at the Apples for Sale sign at the Canyon Ranch Orchard. Stock up on
awesome, tasty “organically grown heritage apples”.

>From Dubois the ride climbs for 25-30 miles (the last 4-5 miles steeply) to the
top of Togwotee Pass (9,658′) before a grand descent into the Tetons. We had
very little traffic, saw lots of wildlife – but were a bit disappointed that our Teton
views weren’t clearer. It may be that the afternoon light makes the mountains
hazy. Dinner at the Signal Mountain Inn (both grill and fine dining options)
right at the lake’s edge afforded stellar views with reflections on the still lake.

Note: We had to load to bikes onto the car at the park entrances to avoid paying
what seemed like exorbitant fees for bikes in addition to the car fees. We got two
different stories from rangers. One said it was only important to enter the park
with the bikes on cars. Another ranger said we could be ticketed for riding in the
park without paying fees, even if we entered with the bikes on the car. If you are
not planning to pay individually for the bikes, be sure to plan a meeting point
with the cars before entering the park.

Riding through Teton Park couldn’t have been much more spectacular. After the
outstanding breakfast buffet at the Jackson Lake Lodge we rode south through
the park (rolling) to the Taggart Lake Trailhead (about 25 miles from Colter Bay
where we started), picnicked at Jenny Lake Overlook (no facilities) then rode
back to our starting point.

The ride on north into Yellowstone is beautiful but has longer, steeper climbs
and descents. It is a little less than 20 miles to the North Park entrance. We rode
to here then loaded the bikes onto the car. The next section is a pretty significant,
long uphill (good place to drive if you’re short on time) then there is a lovely
downhill to Lewis Lake, gradual up to the Continental Divide and gradual down
to West Thumb.

We stayed very loose on our riding routes through Yellowstone. We wanted to
stop and look at all the points of interest. We also had some wind and decided
to ride with it at our backs instead of fighting it. Riding in the fall it was chilly
until 9:30 or 10:00 a.m. (but traffic was light compared to the busy summer
months – a major consideration on some of the narrow park roads). So, our daily
schedule usually included a wildlife viewing drive at dawn (with complimentary
coffee from the park restaurants) followed by breakfast. We biked mid-day,
settled in to our rooms and showered then went out for another game drive
before dinner.

There are some wonderful gentle rides in the park: along Yellowstone Lake,
through the Hayden Valley, through the Lamar Valley, from Mammoth to
Norris (except the first few miles) and along the Firehole River from Old Faithful
to Madison. The more challenging rides are the sections from Canyon to Tower-
Roosevelt (over Dunraven Pass at 8,859′), continuing on to Mammoth and the
ride over Craig Pass (8,262′) from West Thumb to Old Faithful (less strenuous
but still a climb).

Our most spectacular day was the last when we rode along the Firehole River in
the morning. After lunch we drove to the top of Craig Pass for a great descent,
then beautiful ride south to the park gate. We drove again to Jackson Lake Lodge,
then rode south again taking in the panoramic views of the Tetons. The day was
topped off with a fantastic Italian meal at Nani’s in Jackson Hole.

Don’t miss breakfast at the Bunnery in Jackson before heading home!

ITINERARY:
Day 1
Drive to Lander, Wyoming from Denver (6.5 hours)
BYO lunch and snacks, packed separately for the drive.
Blue Spruce Bed & Breakfast, 677 S 3rd St, Lander, 307-332-8253 or
888-503-3311

Day 2
Drive to Dubois, Wyoming (77 miles)
Ride from Dubois to Colter Bay in Teton Park over Togwotee Pass (61 miles)
Colter Bay Cabins, Moran (Tetons), 307-543-2811

Day 3
Morning ride through Tetons Park (up to 50 miles)
Afternoon ride to Grant Village in Yellowstone (39 miles)
Grant Village, Yellowstone, 307-242-3401

Day 4
Grant Village/West Thumb to Mammoth Hot Springs (75 miles)
Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone, 307-242-3401

Day 5
Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful (51 miles)
Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone, 307-344-7311

Day 6
Old Faithful to Jackson (100 miles)
Hitching Post Lodge, Jackson, 307-733-2606 or 800-821-8351

Day 7
Drive from Jackson to Denver (7.5 hours?) – hopefully before dinnertime

TETON AND YELLOWSTONE MAPS:
National Park Service with links to each park, information, accommodations
Insider’s guide to Yellowstone and Tetons

Meals:
Breakfast (except the first morning), dinners and additional food will be on your
own. We’ll stock the car with beer, soda and wine. For lunches we’ll have
sandwich makings, GORP, peanuts, carrots, fruit and chips. BYO packed
lunch for the first day in the car, your own supply of power bars, Gu or
whatever you like while riding.

Remember to Bring:
Bike bag (to carry extra clothes and lunch, if necessary), spare tire, extra tubes,
extra spokes, pump, tool kit, and basic first aid kit for in the car. Clothes: Two
changes of bike clothes (we’ll do a wash every other day), long pants, shorts
and a couple of shirts, lightweight hiking shoes or sneakers. Over packing may
put you at risk of major harassment – and there will be no comments about
anyone having seen the same evening clothes 6 nights in a row!