From the parking lot, a snow covered, snow mobile tracked trail heads north across the flat for ½ mile until reaching the base of Shadow Mountain on your right (east). Set in Bridger-Teton National Forest, a USFS wood sign indicates where the trail (summer jeep/service road) heads up on your right, heading southeast from the flat. The trail, usually packed by snow mobiles or cross-country ski tracks side by side, rises immediately at a consistent grade through aspen trees. After the first switchback to the left, the trail continues to the next switchback, and continues to switchback up a pleasant southwest facing slope, with periodic viewpoints looking across the valley of Jackson Hole to the Grand Teton and mid-section of the Teton range.
The trail continues up, with some flats and some slightly steeper grades, all quite feasible on classic skis. The viewpoints offer nice places to stop to rest, picnic, or simply take in the grand vista. Continue up to the summit, which overlooks Ditch Creek drainage to the east. The ski down can follow the same trail up, or cut the switchbacks in untracked snow, depending on your downhill-on-skinny-skis ability. Even the downhill trail on the ski tracks can get quite fast, so be prepared to snowplow to manage your speed.
Loop Variation: Once at the summit, the trail ( service road) continues north and winds its way back to the valley floor over 4+ miles through the forest. This is less tracked and offers limited views, however, makes a nice longer (11 mile total) loop. Once this trail reaches the flat ( valley floor), continue south on the flat for 1 mile to rejoin the bottom of the uphill trail at the USFS sign, then finish up the last 1.2 mile of the flat to the parking lot.
Summer trail: Once the snow melts off the trail, Shadow Mtn becomes a favorite hiking and mountain biking trail. As a well maintained USFS forest service road, comprised of dirt and gravel, it dries out relatively quickly after rain and snow. It's magnificent views and colorful golden autumn leaves make it a favorite. it has also become a favorite camping location, so don't expect to find complete solitude, but wide open spaces still prevail.
Donate to Friends of Bridger-Teton, who work with our exceptional National forest to maintain trails. BTfriends.org