Jackson Hole is home to some of the best mountain biking in the world. There are dozens of trails where mountain bikes are allowed in the region but almost all of them are multi-use, 2 way trafficked trails where you’re likely to run into other people. The International Mountain Bike Association and other mountain bike organizations around the globe have worked to set up a set of rules mountain bikers should follow in order to ensure all trail users are safe and respected while out on the trail. If we, as mountain bikers, want to continue to share these trails it’s important to follow the suggestions below to make sure we are courteous stewards of our trails and our sport.
Mountain bikers are required to yield to all other trail users. This includes but is not limited to hikers, joggers, horseback riders, and other cyclists. When two mountain bikers meet the uphill rider has the right of way because it is much easier to stop and restart while going downhill than if you were going uphill.
With exception to a handful of DH trails on Teton Pass every trail in the Tetons is open to 2 way traffic. That means that mountain bikers have to be ready to yield to other trail users and other bikers at all times. This means riding with more caution and lower speeds especially in high traffic areas, around blind corners, and areas where stopping is difficult as as steeps sections of trail. Cyclists should announce themselves when they would like to pass other trail users either by voice or with a bell. Use extra caution around horses and make sure to communicate with the horseback rider to ensure you both stay safe.
Mountain bikes and especially electric mountain bikes are not allowed on every trail and some trails have seasonal closures. Make sure you know before you go by either checking the trail signage and/or map to ensure you are allowed to be on the trail. If you aren’t sure don’t go!
You are out in nature while mountain biking so be prepared for any occasion. It may rain, get cold, you may make a wrong turn and end up out longer than expected. Make sure you’re prepared for these occurrences and have what you need to get yourself back. Every ride is different but things like a first aid kit, emergency blanket, cell phone, rain gear, a spare tube and bike repair kit are all items that could help you get back safe and happy from your mountain bike adventure.
The trail is there for everybody to use, not just you. Make sure you respect the work that has gone into the trail and the other trail users by being mindful of how you are riding and how you leave the environment after you left. If there is a muddy section of trail, walk it; if you packed in a lunch in a bag that is now trash, bring it out with you!
Bottom line is that most trail users are out on the trail for similar reasons to you. Just because somebody is going slower or isn’t in the same crew as you doesn’t mean they are less deserving of your respect. Show respect to the fellow humans you meet along the way, follow the guidelines above, and chances are you’ll be met with respect, a smile, and a good experience for you both.