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Grand Targhee has long been known as a premier ski and snowboarding destination with an average of 500 inches of snow each winter. But with the addition of a vast array of summer activities, Grand Targhee is the ideal family summer vacation spot.
On a recent trip, I was able to sample some of the amazing outdoor options both on the mountain and in the Targhee main plaza. Being a life-long mountain biker, hitting the trails was my first priority. My friends and I thought it would be best to take a couple of warm-up runs to get the blood pumping and legs moving. We jumped on the Shoshone lift and headed up for our first run of the day. What a thrill! The layout of the trails winding through the trees provides a riding experience that is perfect for the beginning rider or an advanced rider. The turns and bumps provide opportunities to develop your skills or get the adrenaline pumping, while grabbing a little air zooming down the trail.
Once everyone was warmed up and grinning ear to ear, we set our sights on the top of the mountain, Fred’s Mountain to be exact. The peak of the Dreamcatcher serviced mountain stands at an impressive 9862’, which is 2000’ above the main plaza. A 2000’ vertical chair lift serviced mountain bike trail! Are you serious? This was too good to be true!
The ride up the mountain is a treat in and of itself. As you ride up the mountain on the high-speed quad, behind you, the Teton Valley gradually comes into view. The day was crystal clear so you could see for miles and miles. Once at the top, we unloaded our bikes and took a short walk to view the Grand Tetons. These majestic mountains with their craggy peaks always evoke a sense of wonderment and awe. Taking a little time to enjoy the view and expanse is a must! On the way to the overlook there is a Summit Nature Center that houses an impressive selection of animal displays of the local wildlife. A very knowledgeable staff member was able to answer all of our questions about what we may see on the trails around the resort.
All of this was very cool but, we were here to RIDE! We decided to take the newly completed trail called Tall Cool One. This is the longest trail on the mountain at an impressive 6.7 miles that traverses the entire upper north side of the resort. The expertly manicured single track has everything that you could ever want on a trail. Magnificent views of the Teton Valley, fields filled with wildflowers, smooth flowing single track, rocky technical sections, ups and downs, all while zigzagging downhill at whatever speed your skill allows. We stopped several times to catch our breath, grab a drink of water and enjoy the perfect summer afternoon. Riding a trail this long and this much fun was something that none of us had experienced and unanimously declared Tall Cool One the best trail we had ever ridden.
Once lunch was over, we took a little break and then headed over to the corral to jump on some horses and go for a horseback ride, which was perfect for overlooking the resort to the east and the Teton Valley to the west. The horses expertly picked their way up the trail while trying to snack on some of the many flowers in full bloom all along the path. It was quite a change of pace switching from a mountain bike going full blast downhill to the gentle saunter of a trail horse. But, both had their merits and Gus, my trusty steed, did a fantastic job. Biscuit, nicknamed by his friends for his cooking prowess out on the trail, told us all about the local area, horses, and his many experiences that come with being in the wilderness.
Grand Targhee also offers a wide range of activities for people that want to do something besides mountain bike. The resort has plenty of things for kids to do such as a climbing wall, bungee trampoline, summer camp, swimming, and more! Adults also have some great options such as scenic chair rides, an 18 hole disc golf course, 3 dining options, hiking trails galore, and even yoga on the summit!
All in all, Grand Targhee has some of the most epic views and range of activities that makes it an obvious choice for anyone looking to GO! outdoors, while having a resort experience. The staff was helpful and friendly and really seemed to enjoy what they do. I’m already making plans for a return visit as soon as possible for another run down Tall Cool One!