As with many of us, the current pandemic has completely shifted many of my 2020 plans. My boyfriend Luke and I were originally planning to take a road trip to Whistler this summer. I also had intentions of flying out to visit my family in Colorado several times this year. Instead, I decided to combine my two plans into a bike road trip to visit my family in Colorado. Our route included the following stops:
- Pocatello, ID
- Targhee Resort, Alta, WY
- Victor, ID
- Trestle Bike Park, Winter Park, CO
- Dillon, CO
- Vail Bike Park, Vail, CO
- Midway, UT
- Deer Valley Bike Park, Park City, UT
Our trip was e-bike and bike park focused. While an analog trail bike is an option at all of the places we rode (and I rode my trail bike at the parks), my stories are with the lenses of pedal assist and gravity. My noble steeds for this trip:
Pocatello, ID (E-bikes)
It was super hot in Pocatello. After a long drive from Northern California and feeling drained from the heat, we waited until early evening to head out for our ride. Looking at the views of the dry, grassy hills from the parking area at the trailhead, I didn’t expect much from Pocatello. But as we started climbing, the terrain quickly changed to an absolutely beautiful landscape between two hills with cool, refreshing air and lots of shade.
We ferociously climbed up Cusick Creek Rd which got to be super steep, so much so that we had to stop midway because our motors started overheating. We gave our bikes a rest, and when we moved on, we took it easy by slowing down and reducing our pedal assist power level. Once we got to the top, we used TrailForks to find the trailhead to the downhill run Sap Tree, which was hidden in the weeds. When we dropped in, the trail was pretty steep, overgrown, with little sight distance. About ⅓ of the way down, the terrain turned to chunky rocks, similar to Rocky at Mammoth Bar OHV Area in Auburn, CA. The end of Sap Tree turned into a smooth, flowy singletrack in a cool, aspen forest.
After Sap Tree, we continued onto City Creek which was a more smooth, flowy singletrack with several bridge crossings, as well as lots of handlebar grabbers to keep us on our toes. We finished our ride navigating various sections of trail back to my truck just in time for the sun to go down. I absolutely loved our short ride in Pocatello and wish we had more time to explore more of what it has to offer.
Grand Targhee completely blows any other place I’ve ridden out of the water when it comes to beautiful views and scenery. The views of the Teton Mountain Range, plethora of colorful wildflowers, and crisp mountain air make the riding that much more enjoyable. I couldn’t tell you how many times I said “wow” while trying to keep my eyes on the trails.
Grand Targhee Resort is a small mountain – a perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of a large-scale resort like Vail. There are trails for all types of riders, from XC to DH. Most black diamond trails are technical and challenging, as well as a jump lines on Astro and Buffalo Drop. Bullwinkle trail is an intermediate jump line that runs fast with large sweeping berms. There are tons of XC trails here too. We were blessed with hero dirt one day after a day of rain (see Victor, ID), which made the traction on the steep Blondie trail what dreams are made of. Grand Targhee also has an 18 hole disc golf course and horseback ride tours, if those activities suit your fancy. E-bikes are not allowed on the mountain.
Victor, ID (E-bikes)
We woke up to rain on our second morning staying at Grand Targhee. We spent the morning moving slowly, took my bike into the shop for a brake bleed (front brake was fading fast when riding down Blondie), stopped at the bar for a beer, then headed into Victor, ID for a ride on the e-bikes in the South Big Hole Mountains. Our climb up was steep and slick, packing up our tires, losing most of our traction, such that we had to push a lot of the way.
Once we got to the top, we decided to shorten the ride to avoid rutting out the trails and sliding out too much on the way down. We dropped to the other side of the mountain, which had different dirt that was drier and made for a super fun descent in perfect conditions. I would love to come back here and ride more of the trails in this region.
The next stop on our trip was Winter Park, CO. We spent two days at Trestle Bike Park, and I could have spent more. I would describe Trestle as everything you wished Northstar Resort in California would be – dirt that holds up with diverse trail options. There are a ton of trails here of all skills levels and types, both technical and freeride/flow. It would be a great place to progress your skills. There are lots of jump lines (including some intermediate ones that I wish Northstar would build ) and the technical runs are worth spending time scoping lines. Even some of the easier runs were fun, with features to roll or air off of. If it’s in my cards, I’d love to go back, and this time with my downhill bike.
If you head to Trestle, be prepared for afternoon rain/thunderstorms. Also, Rocky Mountain National park is not far from here. I think it’s worth taking time to check it out. It is an absolutely beautiful place with amazing views and wildlife.
Dillon, CO (E-bikes)
After two days at Trestle and another few days with family, we moved on to Dillon, CO, which is near Keystone (bike park was closed for the summer). There are some multiuse/moto trails on Tenderfoot Mountain near Lake Dillon where we were camped for the night, which were really fun. They kinda reminded me of a blend of Mt. Hough (Quincy, CA), Big Boulder (Downieville, CA), or Georgetown, CA. The dirt was dry and loose, but not very technical. There were some steep sections with loose rocks. We had a lot of fun on these trails. They are worth checking out if you are in the area, but not something I would necessarily go out of my way for.
Next up: Vail, CO. Rolling up to Vail Resort, I expected great things given the grandiosity of the village. But to be honest, this is my least favorite park I’ve ridden at. Maybe it’s because the previous week and a half of riding was filled with trail after trail of elatedness when riding. Vail dirt (and trail conditions) were similar to Northstar Resort in California – dry, loose, and blown out. I always think it’s worth checking out new places to ride, so I don’t regret visiting Vail. It just won’t be a high priority to visit again. There were some black tech trails I enjoyed, and the blue Radio Flyer trail was a good trail to let off the brakes and practice pumping.
Midway, UT (E-bikes)
Goodbye Colorado, hello Utah! Our first ride in this area was WOW (Wasatch Over Wasatch) in Wasatch Mountain State Park. This is a two-way multi use trail, and I would consider it an “adventure” ride. This was a highly trafficked trail (unlike many of the other e-bike-legal trails we rode on the trip, with little to no other riders). The dirt was loose on most of the trail, except for some of the shaded sections with lovely, cool air. We had the most fun riding uphill (remember, ebikes) on the northern half of the trail. We also encountered a juvenile bull elk. Of all the places we rode on our trip, this is one I would not ride again even if I were in the area (we both found it boring). But given its popularity, you may like it, so don’t let me steer you away! It did have some nice views, and the cool evening air was a great relief from the heat of the day down below.
Our final park visit was Deer Valley Resort in Park City, UT (not to be confused with Park City Resort owned by Vail). I was pleasantly surprised by Deer Valley after a friend had talked it down before our trip. Following the trail progression chart, I found most of the blues to be pretty boring, except for Tidal Wave which is a fairly new jump line (similar to Bullwinkle at Grand Targhee or B-Line or Crank it Up at Whistler). I enjoyed the black technical trains I rode, and Luke rode all the double blacks (I didn’t dabble), which he said were the gnarliest runs of the trip and legit scary. There is also a big jump line called Tsunami if you like catching big air at high speeds. I also encountered a bull elk on my last run, who had been resting in the trail and pranced away when I approached him. I’d definitely be down to ride at Deer Valley again.
Hope you enjoyed the glimpse into my trip, or maybe it sparked ideas for new places to check out. I’d be happy to talk more about the trails we rode or camping accommodations in the comments below!