Missoula & Butte trail info needed- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Missoula & Butte trail info needed

    Hey guys,

    Myself and a couple friends do a week long bike trip each year. This one is Missoula and Butte. About 4 days at each place. Heading out Saturday 28th.

    We have 2 vehicles so can shuttle if needed.

    We like chunky technical trails, not afraid of some hike a bike or gravel if the down is worth it.

    Just hoping someone local can provide info about Missoula since the big Lolo fire last year I'm sure affected some trails.

    Below is a rough idea so far, open to any/all suggestions. I have a decent idea of Butte riding as I've ridden there a number of times, but Missoula I've only ridden out the the rattlesnake trailhead and mostly the intermediate trails.


    Missoula:
    Sheep mt. - Out n back or full loop?
    (may be a good loop with east fork Looks like it was recently cleared) - https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/700...mountain-trail
    https://www.trailforks.com/trails/sh...ntain-descent/

    Deadman's ridge (maybe shuttle?) - https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/701...deadmans-ridge
    https://www.trailforks.com/trails/deadmans-ridge/

    Mill Creek &/or Lolo peak (this is the one I'm concerned if open after fire??) : https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/700...ill-creek-1310

    Warm springs ridge (maybe shuttle - maybe on the last day before heading to Butte?): https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/593...-springs-ridge

    Butte:
    Homestake - Maude S up RR singletrack to make loop (I've done this one twice, long climb, awesome downhill/switchbacks) https://www.trailforks.com/trails/homestake-maude-s/

    Pipestone - Homestake (also ridden this one) add beaver ponds at end https://www.trailforks.com/trails/cd...tonehomestake/

    8 Miles of hell (can ride to this one from cabin) https://www.trailforks.com/trails/8-miles-of-hell/

    CDT from Nez perce trailhead (out n back) https://www.trailforks.com/trails/fairy-trail-85737/


    Thanks for any/all input!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post
    Hey guys,

    Myself and a couple friends do a week long bike trip each year. This one is Missoula and Butte. About 4 days at each place. Heading out Saturday 28th.

    We have 2 vehicles so can shuttle if needed.

    We like chunky technical trails, not afraid of some hike a bike or gravel if the down is worth it.

    Just hoping someone local can provide info about Missoula since the big Lolo fire last year I'm sure affected some trails.

    Below is a rough idea so far, open to any/all suggestions. I have a decent idea of Butte riding as I've ridden there a number of times, but Missoula I've only ridden out the the rattlesnake trailhead and mostly the intermediate trails.


    Missoula:
    Sheep mt. - Out n back or full loop?
    (may be a good loop with east fork Looks like it was recently cleared) - https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/700...mountain-trail
    https://www.trailforks.com/trails/sh...ntain-descent/

    Deadman's ridge (maybe shuttle?) - https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/701...deadmans-ridge
    https://www.trailforks.com/trails/deadmans-ridge/

    Mill Creek &/or Lolo peak (this is the one I'm concerned if open after fire??) : https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/700...ill-creek-1310

    Warm springs ridge (maybe shuttle - maybe on the last day before heading to Butte?): https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/593...-springs-ridge

    Butte:
    Homestake - Maude S up RR singletrack to make loop (I've done this one twice, long climb, awesome downhill/switchbacks) https://www.trailforks.com/trails/homestake-maude-s/

    Pipestone - Homestake (also ridden this one) add beaver ponds at end https://www.trailforks.com/trails/cd...tonehomestake/

    8 Miles of hell (can ride to this one from cabin) https://www.trailforks.com/trails/8-miles-of-hell/

    CDT from Nez perce trailhead (out n back) https://www.trailforks.com/trails/fairy-trail-85737/


    Thanks for any/all input!
    The only Missoula trail affected by the fire was Mormon Creek/Mill Creek on the north flank of Lolo Peak. It is not yet open. Too bad, that's a good one but there are other options.

    Sheep Mountain is a great ride. I would do it out and back, because while the east fork descent is awesome, you have a long ride down the Rattlesnake Main trail. Anyway you ride it however, Sheep is a big day and if you ride it out and back you have to climb back to Blue Point before descending down woods. The descent from Blue Point to the bottom of Woods is glorious. You can always decide which way to go once you get to sheep.

    Deadman's ridge at Blue point is also great. IF you're the type of group that can ride Sheep Mtn, dont bother with the shuttle. Just spin up the Blue Mountain Road and ride the ridge back down.

    Warm springs Ridge is a great ride, but that's a good 1.5 hour drive south of Missoula.

    When in the Butte area, consider going to Lowland Campground (North of Butte along contintental divide) and riding the CDT out and back to Champion pass. Trail crew just cleared it and it is people-free radness. You could also ride from Konda Ranch trailhead out and back, but thats a long way to Champion pass and the best part of the trail is Lowland Campgroud to champion pass. And since its out and back, you can turn around anytime.


    If you can get out toward Limekiln campground on your Homestake PAss-Pipestone Pass day in Butte, its great out there. Again, lesser used stretch of trail the farther you get from Butte on CDT.

  3. #3
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    I would call the Bike Doctor in Missoula Montana and ask for Eric (406) 721-5357. He rides chunky trails and can give you a heads up. Who knows maybe a tour? My favorite trail there is Woods Gulch. Nothing chunky just an awesome climb with a super long descent.
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  4. #4
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    Also I haven't ridden up at Snowbowl in years. It's the local ski hill and they have lift access. You may want to check out what their lift access trails are doing.
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  5. #5
    rth009
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    Quote Originally Posted by spunkmtb View Post
    Also I haven't ridden up at Snowbowl in years. It's the local ski hill and they have lift access. You may want to check out what their lift access trails are doing.
    Snowbowl has basically one mountain bike descent worth riding. If you want lift served, go to Discovery Bike Park at Philipsburg or Whitefish Mtn Resort.

    And as far as chunk trails, we dont really have that here in Missoula, we get our difficulty here with steepness and speed. Butte has some chunk, however, check out Nez Perce Trailhead up to the CDT.

  6. #6
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    Thanks all for the info, do appreciate it!!

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    You like chunk and have "only ridden out the the rattlesnake trailhead and mostly the intermediate trails".

    I live in Missoula and love our trails but I think we really only have intermediate trails here. There is one very short new DH trail up Marshal Mtn, but other than that we don't have trails that require advanced skills. We do have trails that might be labeled advanced because they are steep and require advanced fitness to ride up; for example the ride up to Sheep has some sections that only can be ridden up by those who are pretty damn strong. And the Deadman's down hill has big loose rocks and is steep but I don't believe its an advanced or expert mtb trail - more of a blown out moto trail. Don't get me wrong - again, I love our trails because they can all be ridden so fast. It's all so subjective though so YMMV.
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  8. #8
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    I've only ridden a handful of trails out of the rattlesnake TH because I'm only passing through for work while traveling. Never had all day to go explore anything else.

    I realize we will find our chunky riding once in Butte.

    Just don't want to miss anything good while in Missoula for 3 days.

  9. #9
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    Other options for Missoula include University Mountain aka "the Beacon." Its rad even though (or because of, depending on your perspective) there is a good deal of closed forest road climbing because its very near a 3000' descent that has some sections where you can let it rip and also some steep, loose sections. It also has a part of it that chunky, for Missoula.

    Go MOZ/Mount Sentinel Road Climb>Tapout>Midnight Special>Crazy Canyon>Fire House(gas pipeline)> university mountain road> Beacon Trail>Top Chop>Chopsticks

    https://www.trailforks.com/region/mo...3&m=trailforks

  10. #10
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    2 days in Missoula and then go to butte.

  11. #11
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    Guys get in Saturday mid day so something easy after we get supplies/snacks etc. And sort out bikes.
    2 big rides for Sunday and Monday. Then Tues morning head towards Butte probably. (Got our air b+b setup that way).

  12. #12
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    Trailforks has more Missoula trails on it than MTB Project. Iíd do Three Larch-Sidewinder-Sound of Music and then go hit Spring Gulch-Curry Gulch-Fenceline. That would be a pretty good taste of Missoula if you donít want the big day of doing Sheep Mtn. The trails up Marshal Mtn are decent and fun but climbing up the road to get to them isnít much fun in the afternoon sun.

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    I live in Missoula and if you have 8 days of time to spend in MT I wouldn't spend more than a day riding locally. There are just so many better places to ride in MT. Of course, if you want to go to a bunch of cool breweries and just hang out in the coolest town in MT, Missoula definitely has plenty going for it.

    For other ideas with actual epic rides, see this thread: https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/...66-SW-MT-rides

    Alternatively, go to Whitefish (2.5 hours north), ride there for a few days, then ride Alpine #7 in the Swan Range. After that, head down through Seeley Lake on your way to Butte.

    There are current threads about Whitefish and Alpine #7 on the first page.

    Finally, one of the better "shorter" loops in the Rattlesnake is to go up Sawmill Gulch to the Snowbowl overlook, drop into Spring Gulch, and then climb Wallman and drop into the main Rattlesnake Creek Corridor. It's about 2600' of climbing from the main trailhead and you get a little bit of all 3 different drainages on that side of the Rattlesnake.

  14. #14
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    We rode out n back to the top of Sheep Mt. 5500' climbing wow!
    Not a lot of rocks until the very top, but speed makes the down quite fun.

    Going to play around blue Mt tomorrow, probably shuttle, so we'll save our climbing legs for Butte on Tuesday

    Lots of fun though, Missoula has a ton of great breweries.

  15. #15
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    Rode blue Mt today, really glad we shuttled. No way that 13 mile/3500'+ climb in the sun would be fun.

    The Deadman ridge down was pretty loose and steep and all around good time!

    We are off to Butte in the morning.

  16. #16
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    I'd like to try the CDT trail off of Homestake Pass just East of Butte. I drive by it monthly, but just haven't taken the plunge. I'm also here to see what others have to say, keep up the suggestions, thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6foot4 View Post
    I'd like to try the CDT trail off of Homestake Pass just East of Butte. I drive by it monthly, but just haven't taken the plunge. I'm also here to see what others have to say, keep up the suggestions, thanks!
    It is fantastic.
    Either way (north or south) from homestake is great trail. You can do out n back and pedal for as long as you want.

  18. #18
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    I just got back from riding all those trail you mentioned in Butte and had a blast. None of them are technical but fun none the less. We also did the CDT off Seymour Lake Trail.

  19. #19
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    Well we had a great week.
    120+ miles, 20k'+ of climbing, lots of beers drank, and only 1 broken hand. (Not mine)
    CDT rocks!

    Montana has some oddball brewery rules though (8pm, most don't have food).... Weird.

  20. #20
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    We also did the CDT off Seymour Lake Trail.

    Hey kntr-

    What did you think of that section? I helped with the NEPA on the re-route 8 or so years ago and never got to visit it on work time but looked at some imagery and did some hydro analysis and made the project/analysis maps.
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  21. #21
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    I'm probably gonna hit the CDT off Homesteak tomorrow. Which way would you suggest going? North or South?

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    I prefer south, but you cant go wrong any direction. Trail is marked clearly and lots of options depending on how much time you have.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6foot4 View Post
    I'm probably gonna hit the CDT off Homesteak tomorrow. Which way would you suggest going? North or South?
    I think heading north is slightly better, but both are fun.
    If you have time for a big ride (3+ hours) you can ride all the way to the Maude intersection, do the downhill, then ride the railroad singletrack back up to where you started.

    A shorter option is obviously just out n back.

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    I drive toward Butte every month. I decided to wait until September to ride it due to the heat/running errands/etc. Thanks for the advice.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAK View Post
    We also did the CDT off Seymour Lake Trail.

    Hey kntr-

    What did you think of that section? I helped with the NEPA on the re-route 8 or so years ago and never got to visit it on work time but looked at some imagery and did some hydro analysis and made the project/analysis maps.
    It was good. We did it as an out and back. I like how its pedalable in both directions. I wish we had known where it came out as I think we would have just shuttled it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post

    Montana has some oddball brewery rules though (8pm, most don't have food).... Weird.
    You can thank the Montana Tavern Association for that.

    My wife and I will be in Missoula in a couple weeks and are looking for something to ride early in the day before we drive back to Bozeman. I'll look into the rides mentioned here but does anyone have a suggestion for something around 15-20 miles long that's not very far from town?

    We like single track and can handle a lot of climbing if the decent is worth it - little or no hike-a-bike though.

  27. #27
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    Closest to town is the rattlesnake stuff. The decent down fenceline was fun and flowy, not technical, but fun.
    Previously I've ridden wallman and it's good singletrack out n back.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-T View Post

    My wife and I will be in Missoula in a couple weeks and are looking for something to ride early in the day before we drive back to Bozeman. I'll look into the rides mentioned here but does anyone have a suggestion for something around 15-20 miles long that's not very far from town?

    We like single track and can handle a lot of climbing if the decent is worth it - little or no hike-a-bike though.
    Park at rattlensnake main trail; ride up woods gulch; take first right at the crossroads; then take a left at the next intersection; climb until you feel you are running out of time, and then descend all the way back to your car.

  29. #29
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    Whitefish>Helena>Butte/Bozeman>Missoula
    My opinion on MT MTB destinations.

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