Ever since Congress passed the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Act in 2011, you’ve probably noticed a “boom” in resorts opening up for summer activities. Things like zip lines, disc golf courses, and of course mountain bike parks are all on the list. One of the newest kids on the block when it comes to lift-accessed mountain biking is Kelly Canyon, in eastern Idaho. While they’ve been open for skiing since 1957, this is their 1st year open to the gravity fed version of biking. Since we ventured up north to ride Pomerelle and Grand Targhee, we decided to swing through and see what they have to offer.
Perfect Terrain For A Mountain Bike Park
Even though Kelly Canyon has more mellow terrain from a skier’s perspective, luckily when it comes to mountain bikes, you don’t need super steep slopes. In fact, it’s better to have a moderately pitched resort since the amount of friction a bike has is next to nil in comparison to a snowboard or a pair of skis. Combine that with their soil mostly made up of dirt, and you have an entire mountain as a massive canvas for them to create whatever they want.
Kelly Has A Lot Of Potential
Right now, Kelly has around nineteen miles of trails accessible from the summit. First, it has a variety of fire roads that you can bomb down, followed by some newly ‘mowed’ trails which is literally what that word entails. It’s a “choose-your-own-line” sort of experience where they’ve taken a giant machine and mowed a path through the forest. Finally, the newest edition for their network is several well thought-out routes like Sidewinder, Hurley Walker and Biker’s Lane. As each of them nears the bottom of the mountain, you can see the true potential of their vision. Nice banked turns that you can hit at good speed with minimal braking.
Not To Miss
If you do make it to Kelly Canyon, be sure to NOT miss the view of the Snake River Canyon. With a little bit of pedaling, head to the top of the Mountain Loop. After a few minutes, the dense forest canopy will give way to an open meadow. The expansive view gently rolls over thousands of feet below, providing a clear sight of the mighty swath the river has cut through the Antelope Flats.
Reminiscent Of Late 90’s Mountain Bike Racing
So, what’s mountain biking like at Kelly? Well, when talking to our friend Dylan from A Singletrack Mind about mountain bike racing during the late 90’s, he painted a picture of pure freedom and rowdiness. Like a bunch of hooligans decided to pick up a bike, go to the top of a virgin peak, and show it who’s boss. That’s the feeling we got mountain biking Kelly Canyon. Was it perfect? Was it meticulously manicured? Nope, but that’s what made it special!
While most think of Jackson as your entrance to Yosemite or Grand Teton National Park, Idaho Falls is also a great option to fly into with direct flights from Seattle, Salt Lake City, and Denver. If you do venture through town and want a truly unique stay for a vacation-within-your-vacation or you’re with your better half and looking for a more romantic choice, check out the Destinations Inn. They feature 14 world-class themed accommodations that’ll make you feel like royalty. Combine it with a rip-roaring romp through the woods at Kelly during the afternoon followed by a quick dip in the Heise Hot Springs and you got yourself a perfect weekend getaway.