Author Topic: TransAmerica Sections 4 & 5. The Teton Valley Alternate to avoid Yellowstone NP  (Read 18438 times)

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Offline LouMelini

Jamawani, as usual, posted good advice. There is a primitive campground (Sheffield) with pit toilet, bear boxes and a nearby stream one mile south of Flagg east of route 89 (191/287), that may be useful to you. I got there late and had to share a site. Food and filling up with water at Flagg is convenient. Hiker/Biker sites in Yellowstone are still operational.

Offline CMajernik

There are 8 small designated campgrounds east of Flagg Ranch on the Ashton-Flagg Ranch Rd./Grassy Lake Rd. in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. They are all located within 5 miles of Flagg Ranch. They are primitive with pit toilets and several only have 1 - 2 sites. No water is available, but several are along the Snake River.
Carla Majernik
Routes and Mapping Program Director

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x218, 406/721-8754 fax
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline summitkate@gmail.com

okay, thank you everyone for the information.

I am talking about the Teton Range, and yes you are correct, I meant to say Aston, ID.
 
We will try to camp at Colton Bay, but will call ahead before to make sure. Arriving with 2 young kids on bikes and getting turned away would not go well.

I have also heard that Shadow Mtn (about 30mi from Colter Bay) has dispersed camping.

Offline jamawani

Kate -

Grassy Lake Road from Flagg Ranch to Ashton, Idaho is really not suirable from young kids.
I know the road well - - I used to live in Jackson and continue to live in Wyoming.
And, although it was some time ago, I have ridden it.

It is rough, remote and grueling.
Rocks, por holes, constant up and down.
Once you leave Flagg Ranch there is nothing until you get to Ashton.

And in wet years there is constant mud - this year is a wet year.
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=3d2&page_id=377673&v=5q

Commentary from a tour journal -

"As soon as we left pavement, the rocky climbing began. It only took a couple near-wipe-outs to cause us to revert to hike-a-biking. Many times. Disheartening. (Actually, I thought Karen was considering murder.) But eventually, road conditions did improve in many places and we actually rode most of the day ... slowly ... cautiously ... prepared to bail out on moments notice."

I am concerned that you and your family do not know what you are getting into.
Plus, if you are from lower elevation, there is the issue of altitude sickness.

You can do excellent loops from both Jenny Lake and Colter Bay.
You can ride up the Gros Ventre River and random camp on the National Forest.
(But you need to know how to camp in grizzly country safely.)
The east side of Grant Teton has many bikeable dirt roads and two track with splendid views.
Plus, there's  Snake River Road on the west side of the park close to Jenny Lake.

Jama

PS - Signal Mountain does NOT have hiker/biker sites. Only Jenny Lake and Colter Bay.
All car campgrounds in the region have been reserved long in advance - unlikely to have any openings.

Offline summitkate@gmail.com

Thank you Jama for your honesty and concern. 
I appreciate the warnings. We have ridden the enitre Idaho Hot Springs loop as a family using a combo Tag-alongs, Wehoo and a FollowMe.  We have also done multiple long weekend trips from our home at 9,600ft (which in on the GDMTB route) including Pearl Pass which was 26 mi of hike a bike.  One summer we did a route through the SW part of Colorado that had daily elevation gains of 5-7kft of climbing.  Boreas Pass, Loveland, Cottonwood, Weston and Vail and Shrine Pass are all in our backyard and are various levels of difficulty. If we have to spend 2 nights on this road walking over, we will have enough supplies to last. I also have a friend in Victor who can pick us up(we have an InReach), or we can turn around at any point. 
Do you mean to say that Jenny Lake does have a camper/hiker campsite?  I have been to this Park before and know from 30+ yrs of guiding and personal experience that National Parks are not avil to car camp in during the summer months unless you've made a reservation or won the lottery. Thus, why we want to tour by bicycles and we also feel that this is the best mode to really SEE a place.  Our biggest concerns are honeslty people driving in the park and not seeing us, and camping in the area around Jackson (warm shower hosts, anyone ?:)
Thanks again, Kate


Offline jamawani

Kate -

Grassy Lake Road is still closed, BTW - target opening July1.  But check.
Jenny Lake has about 14 Hiker/biker tent pads.
Never seen it fully but also never camped July 4th.
As long as you get there in mid to late afternoon - not 8p - then you should be fine.

Have fun.

Offline summitkate@gmail.com

Good advice, I will check when the Grassy Lakes rd opens. I looked at Wyoming State (and Idaho) roads website, no data, but I will also look at the Targhee FS website.

Offline CMajernik

The TourDivide and the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route both use Grassy Lakes Rd. and cyclists have been riding it for at least a week or two already. Maybe it's gated shut but there have been cyclists on it.
Carla Majernik
Routes and Mapping Program Director

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x218, 406/721-8754 fax
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline jamawani

You may want to verify bicycle access.
Although Grassy Lake Road is in neither Yellowstone nor Grand Teton park,
(technically it is in the John D, Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway)
it is administered by Grand Teton National Park.

Both parks operate under an umbrella policy which allows bicycles only on roads open to motor vehicles.
Exceptions are made during early and late seasons, but the exception must be explicit.
Unless an exception is posted, a closed gate is a closed gate for bicycles, as well.

Offline jamawani

More info on Grassy Lake Road -

I just spoke with a ranger at Grand Teton National Park who has up to date information on Grassy Lake Road.
She said that the road remains closed to all traffic - including bicycles.
There has been major damage over the winter and a record wet spring making repairs difficult.
The road will remain closed until, at least, July 1 - and perhaps later.
Cyclists using the road can be cited.

Have people gotten thru? Obviously, yes.
But closed means closed - for cyclists, too.
And when cyclists ignore restrictions, esp. in national parks -
it only makes park officials more reluctant to accommodate cyclists.

My 2c.

Offline DonKahn1

Having done both of these routes in the last 2 years, I feel I can weigh in on this.  in 2021 while travelling eastward I came in from West Yellowstone, and camped at Madison campground the first night.  The next day I went via Norris basin, Canyon, Yellowstone lake, and camped that night at Grant Village.  next day out of the park and on to the Tetons.  This year, travelling westward I used the west side of the Tetons Route.  I feel overall the Yellowstone route is the better of the two.  More services, and the hiker/biker sites are great.  Yes there is the traffic, but people are generally travelling more slowly.  I was suprised at how much traffic was on the Idaho side, espescially on route 20, and I felt the shoulders weren't that great.  Not to mention that doing the Yellowstone alternative requires going over Teton Pass, which is a kicker!!

Online canalligators

Teton pass is a challenging climb, grade-wise.  But older posts do not state that on the eastern side, the old highway has been made into a lovely trail, paved even, to the summit.  I passed there westbound in 2022.  At that time, it looked like a trail was under construction on the west slope as well, but it might have been some other construction.  You can use local roads as you approach Victor, and there is a parallel path along ID 33 between Victor and Driggs.

I rather would not need to avoid Yellowstone, but this isn’t a bad ride.