Family MTB Ride Tips and FAQ’s
Grand Targhee Resort is perfect for family mountain bike adventures with little riders of all ages and abilities. Here a few tips and answers to frequently asked questions that will make sure you have the best ride possible.
How do I know which trails are right for my kids?
To start, take a look at the Grand Traghee and Buddy Pegs Media rating scale to figure out where your little rider fits on their fun rating scale (based on their bike riding dog characters of course).
- Walks confidently with a balance bike or pedals with training wheels.
- Uses feet or coaster brake to stop.
- Pedals confidently on pavement without training wheels, and on easy, flat singletrack.
- Uses coaster brake to stop, or just getting the hang of hand brakes.
- Pedaling on green singletrack trails with small climbs, short descents, and no technical obstacles.
- Pretty comfortable using hand brakes and controlling downhill speed.
- Able to ride the green chairlift served trails.
- Climbing & descending on green and blue singletrack with berms, rollers, and small table tops (not catching air).
- Confident on most trails with no significant rock gardens or technical obstacles.
- Very comfortable using hand brakes and able to ride most blue chairlift served trails.
- OK heading out for some “adult level” cross-country rides, very confident on all blue chairlift served trails, and starting to catch air on small table top jumps.
What Trails Should We Look For?
1 Paw Riders
- The patio behind the Trap Bar is perfect for balance bike kids and early pedalers.
2 Paw Riders
- Greenhorn Trail to Roundabout: start at the trailhead at the South end of the Main Parking Lot. This trail generally descends down to Junction 8. When you arrive at the fork in the trail, continue on the left option for the easiest route. Both forks of Greenhorn arrive at the same place. At Junction 8, choose the right fork of Roundabout for the easiest trail down to the lower meadow and continue staying right on Roundabout to follow the gentle trail back to the lower parking lot for a mostly descending ride. Or, at Junction 8 simply turn around and climb back on Greenhorn.
- Roundabout Out And Back: start at the lower parking lot Roundabout trailhead (J6) and ride the left fork of Roundabout, south and parallel to the parking lot. Continue out through the meadow and turn around when little legs get tired. Making it to J7 is a great goal!
3 Paw Riders
The Roundabout and Greenhorn trails are perfect for 3 Paw family rides and can be ridden a number of different ways. Here are a few suggestions to get you going:
- Roundabout short loop: start at the Roundabout trailhead (J6) and descend the rollercoaster of bermed switchbacks down to the creek below before crossing the wooden bridge and climbing the gentle switchbacks up to Junction 7 (J7). From J7, turn left to return to the Roundabout trailhead (J6) along a flat singletrack trail with a gentle climb.
- Roundabout Extended Loop: Follow the Roundabout short loop directions and from J7 continue climbing Roundabout to J8 via two routes: take the left option for a straight ascent, take the right option to practice switchback climbs. Return on Roundabout from J8 via two routes: take the left descent to practice downhill berms, take the right descent for a straight trail with no berms. Both options return to J7 where you can turn right on Roundabout to return quickly to the Roundabout trailhead (J6) or turn left to descend back down to the creek before climbing back to the Roundabout trailhead (J6).
- Roundabout to Greenhorn: Follow the Roundabout Extended Loop directions and then from J8, turn left to continue on Greenhorn via two routes. Both forks on Greenhorn lead to the same place and can be used as a fun way to send kids “on their own” for a short section of trail.
- Greenhorn to Roundabout: start at the Greenhorn trailhead on the south side of the Main Parking Lot and ride to Junction 8 (J8). Don’t worry, when you see a fork in Greenhorn, both options arrive at J8. From J8 take the left fork on Roundabout for a flowy descent with bermed corners or the right fork for a straight descent through the meadow. Both directions arrive at J7. From J7, descend the left fork of Roundabout down through flowy banked corners to the creek below. Cross the wooden bridge and climb the slightly steeper switchbacks up to the Roundabout trailhead (J6).
4 Paw Riders
- Jolly Green Giant: This is a beautiful “climb and descend” trail that can be a young riders first big singletrack accomplishment! Ride JGG either clockwise or counter clockwise. For clockwise start at the Greenhorn head and then follow the trail to the left at the JGG intersection. For a counterclockwise ride, continue along Greenhorn to J8 before beginning the climb up JGG. Or, start at the Roundabout trailhead for an extended loop and a full adventure ride!
- Pika Traverse to Yogi: Want to get a taste of the main mountain trails and help your little rider go the next level? Start at the Pika Traverse trailhead just to the north of the Dreamcatcher chairlift (watch for downhill riders on the first section). The initial couple of switchbacks are a bit of a workout but the payoff is not far above! After the climb, follow the trail as it flattens and then descends through the forest. Watch for trail signs and continue on Pika Traverse as it climbs slightly up to the gravel road and the start of the Yogi trail on the opposite side. Enjoy the rollercoaster descent down Yogi and be prepared for switchbacking, bermed corners – brake control here is a must!
- Bring Em On Home & Shake Em On Down: These modern flow trails are accessed off the top of the Shoshone chairlift and are perfect “intro” downhill trails.
5 Paw Riders
- More Cowbell to Permagrin: Ready for a longer XC adventure without going too deep? Follow the Pika Traverse trail to the end. Once you hit the gravel road, climb slightly and look for the singletrack trail that continues on the opposite side. Climb along the hillside until you reach the ridge line looking into Rick’s Basin and follow the trail to the right as it continues up the main mountain (don’t drop into Rick’s Basin). Climb More Cowbell to the top and know that the effort is well worth the reward that awaits! After traversing through the Aspen trees, begin the incredibly fun and flowy descent down Permagrin to experience why that trail earns its name! Perfect for practicing berm corners, and rollers that can serve as small jumps. At the bottom, climb back up to the ridge above Rick’s Basin and follow the signs back to the base area along the same route you came out on, or tack on a Yogi descent instead of taking Pika Traverse all the way back.
- Otter Slide: Accessed from the Shoshone Chairlift. Must be comfortable with steep berm turns and rollers. A great trail to practice downhill brake control and cornering. Be aware of faster riders approaching from behind – best to let your little rider stay ahead of you.
- Chutes and Ladders: Accessed from the Shoshone Chairlift and full of flowy berms and table top jumps (no gaps). Be aware of faster riders approaching from behind – best to let your little rider stay ahead of you.
- Sidewinder: If your little rider is mentally tough and riding strong, it might be time to head up Dreamcatcher to ride “off-the-top”! Follow the Grand Traverse trail to the start of Sidewinder and the long descent back to the base. Be aware of faster riders approaching from behind. Strong braking abilities are a must and 24” wheels recommended.
What age should my child be before riding the chairlifts?
It’s less about age and more about ability and equipment. Kids riding off the chairlifts should be on 20” wheels or larger and the following abilities:
- 3 Paw rating or above
- Confident using both front and back hand brakes (coaster brakes are strongly discouraged)
- Standing with level flat pedals on descents (even through berm turns)
- Aware of general trail etiquette especially where and when to stop to not block other approaching riders
What is the difference in riding off of Shoshone vs. Dreamcatcher?
There is a big difference! Shoshone has a variety of easy green trails suited for 3 Paw riders or above. Start with Bring Em On Home and progress to Otter Slide, Chutes and Ladders or Shake Em On Down. Dreamcatcher has no green trails and only one blue level trail (Sidewinder). The first section of trail from the top is narrow and rocky with a feeling of sidehill exposure. Riders descending off of Dreamcatcher must be comfortable with faster riders approaching from behind and lose unpredictable trail conditions. 5 Paw riding ability and proper protective gear (elbow and knee padding at a minimum) is strongly recommended.
Where can I find information on mountain safety?
It’s your responsibility to Ride Smart.