There are plenty of cross country mountain bike trails in Jackson Hole, however, sometimes you just want to go up and then go down and be done. Shadow Mountain is located just north of the town of Jackson, Wyoming and offers a great single track trail, bordering on downhill mountain biking in Jackson Hole.
Adrenaline-pumping Mountain Biking in Jackson Hole
The trail has a few steep sections that can get your heart pumping, but for the most part, this flowy single track trail is tons of fun and boasts gorgeous views of the Teton Range from across the valley. The trail is rated moderate and is 4 miles round trip.
To reach the trail head drive north on Route 121/89/26 out of Jackson, toward the Jackson Hole Airport. Pass the airport. Within 2 miles of passing the Southern entrance to Grand Teton National Park you will see Antelope Flats Road on your right. Turn right and drive past the buffalo and Moulton Barn. The Moulton Barn is the token barn of Jackson Hole and it is worth the stop if you have never seen it. Continue on Antelope Flats Road until the road ends at a T intersection. Turn left. Drive until you reach a fork in the road – on the right it is a private road and on the left is a dirt road with access to the national forest. Turn left. In just under a mile you will reach a trail head with a small parking area on the right. Park here, hop on your bike and head directly across from where you parked onto a dirt road that starts to go uphill.
The dirt road isn’t ridiculously steep, but it is laboriously long and uphill. Be prepared for a 45 minute to an hour long bike ride uphill. Along the way be aware of car traffic although rare, and ATVs. There are plenty of viewpoints on the climb up and you can see the Tetons across the valley for most of the ride. There is no water on Shadow Mountain, so be prepared with lots of water and snacks. Also, make sure to wear sunscreen because the ascent is mostly in the sun.
Once you reach the summit you will find a single track path on the left hand side of the road. This is the start of the descent, the best part! The descent brings you through tree stands, down some steeper, slightly rocky pitches and it even has a nice open ridge line that you bike down towards the bottom. The ridge has a fair amount of loose rock, so if you are a novice, take it slow. Once you reach the valley floor, follow the trail out to a dirt road. Turn left on the road and bike back to your car.
Some don’t don downhill mountain biking gear when they bike Shadow, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t as challenging as a downhill trail. There aren’t any man made jumps or gaps in the trail, it is straight up nature at its best. If you are an avid mountain biker you should definitely make a point to ride Shadow Mountain when you are in town, you won’t regret it!