When it comes to mountain biking, it is hard to go wrong in Montana. The scenery is stunning, there is a lot of unspoiled wilderness, and there is a wide range of bike trails for everyone – from beginners right the way through to the most experienced cyclists. Let us have a look at some trails that you will find hard to ignore, shall we? We have focused on the more technical trails here, and side-stepped the beginner ones. If you need something a little easier, check out the Big Sky Resort.
The Mount Helena Trail
This is an 11-mile intermediate trail that starts off a bit slow at first. Don’t let that put you off, though, that is when the fun truly begins. The singletrack is really great, and you will gather some speed on the downhills. You have a few different options along the way – the trail called “Show Me the Horse” is probably the most fun option. It is also a little slow at first but you pick up speed quite quickly, and you have to deal with a few fun corners and some drops that you will enjoy. The alternate track, the “McKelvey Trail,” is not quite as much fun but you do come out at the parking lot.
Big Sky Resort
Want a trail that has more to offer than your standard track? The Big Sky Resort could be that for you. It has 60 miles worth of advanced trails and also a lot more besides. This is the ideal spot if you prefer to end a day of biking with a comfortable pillow to sleep on at night. There are plenty of hotels, cafes, restaurants, and activities to help you while away the time when not biking. Perhaps you would like to try out zip lining, or a round of golf. There are other options here besides biking. But, of course, the biking here is really great as well.
Want to become a bit of a speed devil without too much technical stuff? There are two very simple trails to help you out. You can also choose any of the intermediate trails – five in total. If you are a more experienced cyclist, you will probably find the advanced trails or the extreme trails more to your liking. When Big Sky Resort say that they have something for everyone, they are certainly not kidding. Our recommendation, if you dare to take it, is to try the Soul Hole. It is tough in the beginning, being very steep and keeping you on your toes with a bunch of roots, outcroppings, etc. Once you get past that section, though, you get to relax and enjoy one of the sweetest flow trails around. Check in at the information center to get more detail on any of the trails you are considering.
Rodney Ridge Trail
This is a somewhat tiny trail at 3 miles, but don’t let that put you off – it packs a big punch. It is extremely diverse, and the scenery is well worth the trip. Do be prepared for a workout and some challenges – this ranks as an intermediate trail. It is a good idea to get a recent trail map for this visit, or you could miss out on some really technical riding. The trail is steep initially but not as bad as you might think.
Get yourself onto the “Don’t Fence Me In Trail” if you want the best ride. This can be followed all the way along the ridge. When you get to the end of that ridge, don’t veer off to the trail that goes left. Carry on right and stick with the trail you are on. You will hit some singletracks that cross this path, and this is where it gets confusing. Skip the first one because this is a “shortcut” that cuts out a lot of the trail. Turn right into the next singletrack and then right again when the track splits up. From there on out go straight, and you will find a fun singletrack descending through the woods. This is a fast section and really fun. It is a little on the short side, but you can get extra value by doing it a couple of times.
Little Blackfoot Meadows Loop
This is a perfect example of appearances being deceptive. When you start out with this track, it looks like you will have to put up with doubletrack all the way. However, if you persevere, this does change into a singletrack. Carry on for a bit longer, and the ride starts to show promise with a more challenging singletrack. The climb initially is not too bad, but it does have steep bits here and there.
The woods are lush, and the trail is good is good as a result for most of the way without any technical skills needed. You will get to a point where you get to decide just how tough this is going to be for you. When the trail forks you can either go right or turn around. If you choose the latter, you have a nice, easy downhill run and the opportunity to go really fast. If you choose the former, you are in for a tough climb and a grueling 15 miles of track. Follow the most obvious trail and then prepare yourself for some real technical riding.
There is a rocky area that is hell on the nerves and also on your suspension. Head off down to the Larabee Gulch trail and rest a while before heading back down. Then hold onto your handlebars because you will be off for a quick ride. On this trail, faster is better because there are some sandy areas. You end up at the Black Foot River and will have to cross it and head for home.
Overall, biking in Montana is an extraordinary experience. There is more than enough variety to satisfy everyone’s needs. Let’s put it this way; if you can’t find a trail that you love here, then you aren’t truly a mountain biker at heart.