Mountain Style: Digging Dirt Paths

(A roundup of mountain biking volunteer efforts)

By Amelia Mayer // Photography by Sam Petri

From young children on tiny push bikes to adults tackling singletrack trails, the challenge and joy of dirt pedaling is infectious. And, mountain biking in the Tetons has come a long way from the hike-a-bike days of old. Today, our robust cycling community is fortunate to have access to many trails on both sides of the hill, suitable to all ability levels. However, trails don’t build themselves. They are, in fact, the product of countless hours of work from various organizations and dedicated volunteers. If you and your family members enjoy the trails—from the forest-filled paths up Cache Creek to the undulating singletrack in Horseshoe Canyon—it’s a good idea to be aware of where and with whom you can help this summer. 

Mountain Bike the Tetons (MBT) | @mtnbikethetetons

Mountain Bike the Tetons advocates for outstanding mountain bike resources in both Teton County, Wyoming, and Idaho. While they have their own dedicated trail crew, they also welcome volunteers for their seasonal Trail Work Days (food provided!) and are open to weekly volunteers who just want to come help. This spring and summer, Mountain Bike the Tetons will help lead the charge on Phase 1 of the Victor Bike Park revival. Goals for Phase 1 include creating new and longer jump lines for all ability levels, building a family-friendly skills area, and updating park fencing and signage. While MBT plans to hire a professional bike park builder, the volunteer force during the Victor Bike Park build days will be crucial to the success of the project. Dates TBD.

Want to help with more than manual labor? MBT is always looking for volunteer coaches for their youth program, Sprockids, which introduces mountain biking to kids ages six through eleven. You can also volunteer as a timer for mountain bike races held throughout the summer.

Friends of Pathways | @friendsofpathways

Friends of Pathways builds and maintains mountain biking front-country trails in and around Jackson, and they help with paved trails, too. This organization is pivotal in spreading awareness for bike path safety and respect. Friends of Pathways hosts a large volunteer effort on National Trails Day every first Saturday of June (June 4, 2022). They also work regularly with groups looking for volunteer hours or just wanting to give back to the community. Become a trained ambassador for Friends Of Pathways and help spread good etiquette when you are out and about. 

Teton Valley Trails and Pathways (TVTAP) | @tvtapidaho

Teton Valley Trails and Pathways promotes a connected community via trail systems on the Idaho side of the pass. They have a goal of continuing to expand a trail system for both recreation and transportation, and to further enhance the active community lifestyle. TVTAP hosts numerous trail days throughout the summer months to work on trails in the national forest. Interested people can sign up on their website under the “Events” tab. TVTAP also welcomes feedback from the community on ways to further their mission.

Teton Mountain Bike Alliance | @ridetmba

Teton Mountain Bike Alliance is comprised of a group of people passionate about biking in the Tetons. They put a special focus on backcountry trails, and they serve the Greater Yellowstone area, including Teton Valley, Idaho, all the way up to Bozeman, Montana, and west to Salmon, Idaho. The alliance encourages riders to simply be ready to clear a downed tree or debris on the trail they are riding, especially during the early season. More organized volunteer events are announced on their website and via Instagram, including the Dirk Diggler fundraiser at Citizen 33 in Driggs in late May.

Teton FreeRiders | @tetonfreeriders

This “OG” organization created the first user-specific trail network in the United States Forest Service in Teton County, Wyoming. Singlehandedly (well, it actually takes a village), they designed and constructed the downhill “gravity trail system” that exists on Teton Pass today. The Teton FreeRiders welcomes public support to build and maintain trails, and can be contacted through their website.

All organizations are constantly sharing upcoming events and projects on their websites, via social media, and through newsletters.

Get your pedals ready!

After the final construction commences early summer, the long-awaited 2.6-mile Centennial Trail will be finished. This 10-foot-wide asphalt pathway will be open to walkers and cyclists alike, including Class 1 and 2 e-bikes, helping further connect the community to public lands. The pathway will begin just southeast of Moose Creek on the Idaho side of Teton Pass and will run along much of the former roadbed of the Old Jackson Highway. Two underpasses will allow bikers to access the Southern Valley/Mike Harris mountain bike trails, as well as the Trail Creek Campground.