Montana -Where to Ride?
Heading out with the family for the next 5 days from North Dakota.
Driving from Bismarck to Billings, Missoula, Whitefish (2) nights and then back to Bozeman. Returning to Bismarck come Sunday.
My kids are young, 2, 5, 9 (they ride, but not really singletrack).
Where should I ride along this route? Thinking perhaps 1-3 hour rides. Perhaps (2) or (3) rides along the trip.
Any route suggestions would be greatly appreciated....close to the mentioned route would be awesome.
I've got a FS 29" lenz, if that makes a difference.
Depends on what you like. Flowy single track or technical rides?
For Missoula check out thursdaynightmtbr.org for trails. My recommendation would be: 3 Larch to Sidewinder.
homestake pass between bozeman and butte on i-90. way closer to butte. Great singletrack right off of the exit. Great singletrack.
Billings -- Rimrock Trail/Zimmerman Park (kid friendly in places--exposure in others)
MIssoula -- Blue Mountain (kid friendly)
Whitefish -- Spencer Mountain (took my 8 yr old there)
Bozeman -- Emerald Lake or Leverich (if you can ditch the munchkins for a couple hours)
All other things are rarely equal . . .
for the kidlets and drive sensibilities, I second Tim re: CDT off the interstate @ Homestake Pass in between BZN/Butte. It might also have the 'smoothest' riding -- though there's still a bit of climbing and here and there.
I usually do the south side as an out-and-back figure 8 looping into beaver ponds trail.
In that general area you could "shuttle" Lewis & Clark caverns trails too which isn't overly technical either but I'd go midweek for that...
the best Kid-free riding options in greater Bozeman below:
Bangtail divide which just outside of BZN before Bridger (Stone->Bracket, with or w/o shuttle; or shorter Grassy Mtn which is just the 2nd half.
Garnet: It's in the book / map and accessed by parking at the Castlerock Trailhead ~ 25 mins from town in Gallatin Canyon. It's a fairly mellow climb and a bomber downhill with some decent sidehill exposure.
Chestnut Mountain Loop (I rode the roads out to Goose, but 99% of the riders I saw were doing it as an out and back) and it's a fun one too (16 miles, 2200 ft)
There's also Wapiti (off the Taylor Fork a bit South of Big Sky) which has been torn up the last few years (guide, great views, downhill can be fun depending on conditions) and there's also Buck Ridge (guide) which isn't that great of a biking trail (double-track) but does take you up high to some amazing views.. and can loop to Yellow Mule if you have shuttle options...
Closer to BZN (Hyalite) you have Emerald (guide) and my favorite Blackmore to Cottonwood which is more hike-a-biking on the uphill and all ridable downhill but is probably better to have 2 cars (i.e. shuttle the road climb, not in guide, but easy to follow w/ map)
South of the Canyon (in the Lionhead and before Hebgen Lake) you have Sheep Creek which is like Emerald (i.e. beautiful high alpine lake) and all singletrack (Emerald is quasi-double track these days) and Mile Creek (both not in guidebook but easy to follow on Map)
West of BZN (a little more than an hour away) is the Curly Lake Highline -- or the best EPIC ride along with Sheep/Mile in our area (also in the book)
Isn't there a family friendly ride in Bozeman; Downtown to the Mountains, or something like that? I think it heads southbound on the east side of South Church. It's been years since I took my kids on it, so it may have changed.
I believe there is. I think I recall seeing one in the Mountain Biking Bozeman Falcon guide. There's also this:
Gallagator Trail Mountain Bike Trail in Bozeman, Montana || SINGLETRACKS.COM
Maybe one of the other locals will chime in.
All other things are rarely equal . . .
Main St to the Mountains...
NEW TRAIL MAP | GVLT | Gallatin Valley Land Trust | Bozeman, Montana
Family friendly (yes)
Dodging strollers & walkers (yes)
Worthwhile if you don't have anything else going on (yes)
I agree with all of this. I took my mom on this ride with her hybrid bike and we had a fun day, midweek, during working hours. It's a MUT and it gets a fair amount of use. Every so often our local newspaper runs a letter to the editor where someone bit--s about almost getting hit, bit, or yelled at for one reason or another on it.
Originally Posted by Montana Rider
For an experience the kiddos won't forget, if it fits into your schedule, drive up Bridger Canyon, turn right onto Olson Ck road, drive up that dirt road about 5 miles until it tees into another road, hang a right, and drive about 5 or 6 miles until the road starts to drop down into Clyde Park. Look for a USFS gate on the right. Park there and ride south on the forest road for about 3 miles. Viola, you'll now be on the best part of the Bangtail Divide Trail without having to suffer any of the climbs. Great views, fairly flat, nice wildflowers, you can do about 16 miles out and back. Wifey and I have been thinking about riding out tandem on it this way.