Our trails wind through some of the most spectacular scenery in the country and every step makes travelers feel more connected to nature.
Be it on foot or from the seat of a bike, there is no shortage of opportunities to take in Jackson’s abundant beauty. But like any good scenic route, it’s best to be prepared. A little extra planning goes a long way in keeping your footprint small and our trails pristine.
Jackson’s ecosystem is as fragile as it is stunning. Shortcutting trails cause erosion and visual scarring and tramples the fauna that call the landscape home. It can take 10-30 years to recover from damage caused by off-trail detours. Trail users should stay on the trails, even if they’re wet or muddy. A favorite local saying is “take only photos, leave only footprints.” We’d add: leave only footprints on established trails, please. And this goes beyond avoiding stepping off trail. Make sure you pack out all trash, including food waste. It’s a principle we borrow from Leave No Trace.
Respect any closure signs and wilderness boundaries—they’re in place for the wildlife’s wellbeing. And remember, if you encounter wildlife on the trail stay at least 25 yards away from most wildlife and at least 100 yards away from big carnivores like bears and wolves.
Who has the right of way?
Many trails in and around Jackson are multi-use, meaning hikers share them with mountain bikers who share them with horseback riders. All are welcome on the trails, but it helps to know who has the right of way when crossing paths with other users. Here’s the low-down:
Horses reign supreme on the trail. They always have the right of way. It’s true we just told you to stay on the trail, but you may occasionally have to step off to let horses and their riders pass. Do so on the downhill side and try to find a durable surface, like a rock or sand, to step on.
Hikers have the right of way when crossing paths with bikers. If you’re biking in a group, you should let other users know how many there are of you, especially if someone has yielded the trail.
Bikers must yield to both hikers and horses, even if they are pedaling uphill.
Uphill travelers doing the same activity have the right-of-way. So, downhill bikers should yield to uphill pedalers and downhill hikers should let uphill hikers keep their pace.
Remember, we’re all out here to connect with nature and have a good time. Be courteous and respectful of other trail users.
From the Mountain Neighbor Handbook
On a trail
- Share the trail
- Bikes yield to everyone. Everyone yields to horses.
- Be friendly and kind, and announce yourself before passing. Slow down near trailheads, junctions, and mixed-use routes.
- Sharing space means being aware of your surroundings. Stay alert by not wearing headphones or listening on low volume only.
On a pathway
The 50+ miles of Jackson Hole Community Pathways offer residents and visitors a safe and scenic option to avoid congestion and reduce fossil fuel use. E-bikes (Class 1, 2, and 3) are allowed on the pathway system. While using our pathways, please:
- Be nice, say hi
- Keep right, pass left
- Ring your bell or announce yourself before passing
- Go slow, especially in congested areas and obey all posted speeds Keep dogs on a short leash
- Move off the pathway when stopped
- For maps and more information, visit Friends of Pathways and tetoncountywy.gov/493/Pathways.