Grand Tetons bikingThis is information about cycling and mountain biking in Grand Teton National Park and the Jackson Hole, Wyoming, vicinity for De Anza College Outdoor Club trips. It can't be kept completely up to the minute, so check with Rangers for the most current rules and any trail closures, especially due to animal activity.
Bike riding in Grand Teton park can be as safe as at home, but has a few risks different and greater than in other places.
Please note that vehicles on the road will be very busy watching the scenery, not you on your bike.
Riding on the main highway with it's often narrow shoulders could be dangerous.
Vehicles kill dozens of animals every year in the Tetons and Yellowstone despite warnings:
The park service warns:
"Some roads in the park predate today’s bicycling popularity.
Most roads have a paved marked shoulder, providing
limited space for safe bicycling. Some roads have only a
very narrow shoulder, or lack one altogether. Use
Don't bike or jog/run by yourself, it is safer to bike in groups since there are very large, potentially dangerous and unpredictable animals potentially everywhere.
It is safer to enjoy a bike ride on a designated bike/roller blade/walk path like the Teton multi-use pathway, than on the road/highway with drivers looking at scenery instead of you on your bike, and there is an 8 mile long pathway from South Jenny Lake to the Moose Visitor Center (please walk your bike in the parking lots). Pets (except guide dogs) are prohibited and the pathway is closed from dusk to dawn for wildlife and public safety. A map of the Jenny Lake area, with the location of the start of the pathway is at: http://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/upload/JLVC_map_2010.pdf
The pathway had a new section completed in August, 2012, all the way into the town of Jackson. It runs along the east side of highway 191/89/26.
Studies suggest that rates of sudden encounters with bears are
much higher among cyclists than hikers, due to the speed at which bikers come up on animals. Some of these incidents have been fatal to the human. Read on to find 'grizzly bears and cyclists' below.
For your safety hiking, the Rangers warn "Always carry bear spray and know how to use it," which applies to cyclists as well.
From the National Park Service Daily Report of Thursday, September 21, 2006,
Grand Canyon National Park (AZ)
Runner Charged, Struck By Bull Elk
A long-time park resident was running on a trail behind the Albright Training Center between Center Road and the Grand Canyon School around 6 a.m. on September 19th when he was charged by a large bull elk. He saw that the elk was rubbing its antlers on a tree and acting aggressively, so he took evasive action and ran off trail into the woods around it. The elk pursued, though, and knocked him down. He was able to get away and flagged down a passerby, who called for assistance. The runner suffered scrapes and bruises along with an ankle injury and was transported by ambulance to the Flagstaff Medical Center. Park wildlife biologists and rangers will spend the next several days in the area where the incident occurred and will attempt to move the elk out of the area using aversive conditioning. Although encounters with bull elk have not been common within the park, rangers are reminding residents and park visitors that it is rutting season for both deer and elk. During this period, generally September/October, these animals become increasingly aggressive and may become angered by any intrusion into their territory. Elk, which can weigh as much as 1,000 pounds, have been known to injure or kill people who approach them. [Submitted by Maureen Oltrogge, Public Affairs Officer]
Bikes or other wheeled vehicles are not allowed on hiking trails or in the backcountry on or off trail. They are only allowed in the park on paved and unpaved roads where cars can legally go, on designated bike/walk pathways and on the Colter Bay Marina breakwater. Keep reading to find legal mountain biking trails outside of the park.
The park says about safe biking: ride single file on the right hand road shoulder, use hand signals to communicate with drivers, wear a helmet at all times (all ages of riders). Please also wear highly visible clothing.
The Park Service does not recommend biking at night , but if you do bike before sunrise of after sunset you will need a foreward facing white light/reflector and a rear facing red light/reflector.
Read more at:
photo below used with permission from Ron Niebrugge: http://www.wildnatureimages.com/
The Teton Wilderness and the Gros Ventre Wilderness are much of the land to the east of Grand Teton National Park up to Yellowstone and to the east of and below the town of Jackson. Go to:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/btnf/ click on recreation, then bicycling, then the appropriate section.
Please remember bikes yield to hikers and horses, hikers yield to horses.
The local Forest Service office reminds us:
YOU ARE TOO CLOSE TO WILDLIFE IF:
· The animal stops feeding or resting.
· The animal starts moving either toward or away from you.
· The animal starts panting, huffing or making unusual sounds.
· The animal begins pawing the ground or swinging its head.
· Neck hair or feathers stand up.
· The animal appears nervous, uneasy or stressed.
If you notice these signs you are disturbing the animal and it is time
to slowly move away. The safest way to view wildlife is through
binoculars or spotting scopes."
Grizzly bears and cyclists
The following info is from a study of the effect planned road improvements could have on animals in the park. The study of bears mentioned is from Canadian parks, but the same incidents could happen to cyclists anywhere.
"Some information on cyclist encounters with grizzly
bears is available from Herrero and Herrero
(2000), from which the following information
was taken. In North America, 33 records were
found for cyclist encounters with grizzly bears
in which the bear responded aggressively. Five
of these occurred on roads used by cars and the
remaining occurred on trials or nearby.
cases grizzly bears charged or chased cyclists. In
12% (4 of 33) of encounters, cyclists were injured
by grizzly bears; in 75% of these cases(3 of 4),
injuries were serious (requiring more than 24
hours in a hospital).
The majority (22 of 33) of
encounters occurred in Banff and Jasper National
Parks, where mountain biking is allowed on some
Ninety-five percent of encounters in which
distance was estimated, the cyclist first became
aware of the bear at less than 50 meters, "which
Herrero (1985) defined as a sudden encounter.
Importantly, while not conclusive, the data suggest
that rates of sudden encounters with bears are
much higher among cyclists than hikers.
in Canada's Kluane National Park, park managers
state that "Mountain bikers travel quickly and quietly
on the trails. As a result, they are much more
likely to have surprise encounters with bears and
other wildlife, than hikers, and horses" (Kluane
National Park 1997).
Most of the encounters documented by Herrero
and Herrero (2000) and discussed above occurred
on dirt trails, where bicycles would be expected
to travel slower and make more noise than they
would on a paved pathway."
Grizzlys can run as fast as 30 mph in short distances.
Check out riding in rain and darkness, ways to deal with tough situations, and more at:
your safety in grizzly bear territory tells you what to do if
you see a bear in the distance or a bear charges you and has info about Bear Pepper Sprays.
Camping solutions for women has tips for and answers typical questions from first-time women campers,
including the question: Can menstruating women camp or backpack around bears?
Bears has links to general info about bears, then practicalities of camping and backpacking around bears, (food storage, what to do if you see a bear) mostly geared towards De Anza College Outdoor Club trips around black bears in California.
Some people bring bikes on their vehicles, but there are rentals available as well. Costs are often posted at: Grand Tetons trip cost at the 'expensive trip' section.
For details about our next trip to Grand Teton, go to: Grand Tetons and there's more info at:
Grand Tetons kayaking, Grand Tetons sightseeing.
Grand Tetons trip pages index has brief descriptions of most of the pages about this trip.