Snowboarding News | Friday July 28, 2017 | Shared By: Jackson Hole
As an avid skier, I find myself on the mountain at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort just about every day, all winter long. I never used to spend much time on the mountain during the summer, but have recently developed a love affair with the trails on Rendezvous Mountain. The trail system at JHMR continues to grow and has reached a point where there is enough variety to keep it fresh all summer long. After signing up for the Rendezvous Mountain Hillclimb I have been using the mountain as a training ground and gaining a whole new respect for “The Big One.”
Most of the trails at JHMR involve some vertical- and you can get all 4,139 feet in one shot when doing the hill climb race. That being said there are also some great options with more of a rolling contour for the days that you don’t feel the need to punish yourself and look instead to enjoy innumerable wildflowers, streams and ample wildlife. With that in mind, I tend to bring some bear spray along for the journey (available at Teton Village Sports) as I’ve seen plenty of black bears on the mountain and it always feels better to be prepared.
Wildflower>Cirque>JHMR Summit and Back down to the top of Gondola – The after-work crusher that ends with the most scenic happy hour in North America.
If you are running, just about the entire run is “runable” although it takes no prisoners. With over 4,100 vertical feet of climbing in 6.1 miles, this one demands your full attention right from the start and doesn’t give you a break until you reach the 10,450 foot summit of Rendezvous Mountain. If you are hiking, the grade is much more pleasant, allowing you to take in the wildflowers and have a glance at how your favorite ski runs look in the winter (hint: a lot steeper than they look when covered in snow).
The Wildflower trail takes you to Rendezvous Lodge at the top of the Bridger Gondola, at which point you can take a break and grab a snack or drink if needed. This can also be your stopping point as the climb is substantial just to get here. I usually opt to keep going on the Cirque Trail, as it stacks up there with the most scenic trail you’ll find anywhere. It starts with beautiful wildflowers on the Headwall, before leading to a section of scree and upper mountain views through what we know as The Cirque in the winter. From here, meander through Tensleep Bowl before a final steep section to the summit that includes a little bit of scrambling. This is the most technical part of the trail and will keep you on your toes.
https://www.jacksonhole.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Eric-Orton-cirque-trail-jackson-hole.jpg" alt="" width="740" height="493" srcset="https://www.jacksonhole.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Eric-Orton-cirque-trail-jackson-hole.jpg 740w, https://www.jacksonhole.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Eric-Orton-cirque-trail-jackson-hole-580x386.jpg 580w, https://www.jacksonhole.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Eric-Orton-cirque-trail-jackson-hole-140x93.jpg 140w" sizes="(max-width: 740px) 100vw, 740px" />Eric Orton cruises up The Cirque trail like only he can. A session with Eric will have you gliding up mountains.
Now that you have reached the summit, you have a variety of options. If it is before 4:30, you deserve to grab one of the famous waffles at Corbet’s Cabin. The last tram down is at 5:30 and it’s nice to download to the base after that long hike or run. If you miss the 5:30 tram, you are hiking to the base or down to Rendezvous Lodge at the top of the Gondola. Regardless, I’d recommend hiking down to the Rendezvous Lodge and rewarding yourself at Piste. After this hike/run I’m usually pretty sweaty and exhausted and my sneak move is to buy a beer or cocktail at the Piste bar (in a plastic cup) and enjoy it on the Gondola ride down the mountain. See hike #3 for a lengthier stay at Piste.
Hoback Loop>Wildflower Trail Gentle elevation gain amongst wildflowers and mountain meadows. The new Hoback Trail is a great way to gain some elevation at a more gradual pace on a beautifully secluded trail. If you’re a fan of skiing the Hobacks like me, you’ll love traversing the North and South Hoback and reminiscing about great ski days. The trail forks south off the Lower Faces Loop and takes you all the way to JHMR’s southern boundary, before a switchback sends you back to the north and higher up the mountain. Beautiful wildflowers and views continue, as do some neat features like a bridge over Dick’s Ditch. After switchbacking up the Gros Ventre ski run, the trail connects you with the Wildflower Trail on the Slalom ski run.
At this point you have some decisions to make. Head downhill on the Wildflower Trail for your quickest route to the base (if you choose this option, your run ends up being in the 5 mile range with a little over 1,000 vertical feet of climbing) or head up Wildflower to extend your adventure for any number of options.
The Happy Hour Special – Ride the Bridger Gondola up for a quick hike followed by drinks and food with an incredible view.
The Bridger Gondola operates 9-5 daily as part of a Tram/sightseeing lift ticket and is free after 5PM (check for closures for private events). The Bridger Gondola takes you over 2,900 vertical feet up the mountain and drops you at the Rendezvous Lodge, where you will find Piste Mountain Bistro and The Deck @ Piste.
When you get off the gondola, take in the view and smell the food, it is difficult to not just grab a table immediately. But today you are going to get a quick hike in to “earn” your food. The Cirque Trail heads up The Headwall with great wildflowers and sweeping views of the upper mountain. In this case, I like to cheat and hike for about 15 minutes before turning back around. There is no 15 minute hike in the valley that is going to give you these type of views thanks to the 2,900 vertical foot shortcut that the Bridger Gondola gave you. If the short hike isn’t enough for you, add in a bonus 1.8 miles on the Casper Ridge Loop- a beautiful trail with totally different scenery than the Cirque trail.
Early evening shadows show the rugged shape of the Tetons. Photo from The Cirque trail with Rendezvous Lodge (and food and drinks) below.
Now you’ve “earned” your food and drinks. Piste is a great place to be inside with a view and sit down for an incredible dinner. If you just want a drink and appetizer, go outside to The Deck @ Piste. Try out the Spicy Margarita (tequila is infused with Jalapeno and Ginger for an interesting twist) and the Smoked Brisket Sliders. I can’t think of a more scenic place to grab a drink. Don’t forget to bring a layer or two up with you in case of afternoon thunderstorms. It can also get a little chilly on the deck when the sun sets behind the Tetons. You’re not going to want to leave, so the layer will come in handy.
More info on trail running at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Hiking Trail Map
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