XC riding at Big Sky?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    XC riding at Big Sky?

    I'm heading to Big Sky with the family for 10 days at the end of June, and thinking about bringing my bike. I'm not interested in DH or lift served stuff, I'm purely a XC rider. I've been researching and found some decent info, but would love to here from anyone local of someone who's been there recently on suggested trails etc.

    TIA!

  2. #2
    rth009
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    There's all kinds of good riding around Big Sky, but the majority of trails near the mountain village are lift served, although not necessarily on the Moonlight (north) side of the resort. Are you going to have access to a vehicle? The rides in the Madison Range (west side of of Hwy 191) would keep you busy, same with Portal to Porcupine. You'll want to buy a can of bear spray, however. Fortunately you are going at the end of June, because there is lots snow in the alpine this year.

    Check out Trailforks, if you havent already.

    https://www.trailforks.com/region/mo...9&m=trailforks

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply. I will have a vehicle at my disposal. Although I'd rather not drive too far, a short drive would be doable.

    We are staying at a friends condo right at the base, and they have a couple of cans of bear spray handy, I will be riding with one for sure.

    I'll check out the places you mentioned, thanks.

  4. #4
    rth009
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    If your family heads up to Bozeman at all, have them drop you off at Stone Creek in Bridger canyon so your can ride the Bangtail Divide, Its an IMBA epic, with a great climb and good views of the Bridger range to the west and the Crazy Mtns to the east. You can park at Stone Creek - the south side-- and ride out and back from there for as long as you want-- if you dont want to have to ride the bridger canyon highway back, although that's not too bad as its mostly downhill if you do the loop counter-clockwise.

  5. #5
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    Try:
    -North Fork Loop. It's half-way between the meadow and mountain village. Great 3 hour ride through some pretty deep backcountry without having to be out all day.

    -Hummocks/Uplands/Ralph's Pass This stuff is super accessible near meadow village.

    -Yellowmule trails 1/2 This will take you on a high south ridge and you can loop it from Ralph's Pass

    -At the resort itself you can ride on the Moonlight side and it's about a half-day worth of exploring without needing a lift. Literally park at Moonlight Lodge and hop right on the trails. They are clearly marked and really fun.

    I'd suggest other trails, but they're only going to require more driving and a more rugged experience. The trails listed above are usually really well kept/groomed, whereas some of the more backcountry/forest service areas have been neglected and rutted out over the years. If you feel like you are interested in some of those routes, let me know. I enjoy the hell out of them, but only because I like variety and getting deep out there.

  6. #6
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    I can't believe no one has recommended the Mountain to Meadow trail.

    Park at Gallatin Alpine Sports, ride up the trail/access road to the resort, take one of the single tracks from the base area over to Moonlight, ride down to Ullery's Lake and back, then take the super awesome flowy decent from Andesite back down to where you started.

    Tons of great XC at BS.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for replies everyone! I'm going to need to investigate all the trails mentioned. We are staying in a condo right by the base, so anything close to there is a plus. I think most of my rides will be a few hours in the morning or afternoon between family stuff, and maybe one longer ride.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-T View Post
    I can't believe no one has recommended the Mountain to Meadow trail.

    Park at Gallatin Alpine Sports, ride up the trail/access road to the resort, take one of the single tracks from the base area over to Moonlight, ride down to Ullery's Lake and back, then take the super awesome flowy decent from Andesite back down to where you started.

    Tons of great XC at BS.
    OP said he didn't want any DH, plus riding all the way up from Gallatin Alpine Sports sucks.

    With that being said, yea Mountain to Meadow is one of the more exciting rides in Big Sky. I use the free shuttle so I don't have to ride back up.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6foot4 View Post
    plus riding all the way up from Gallatin Alpine Sports sucks.
    Not if you're a reasonably fit XC rider and I wouldn't consider that trail to be a DH, not like the lift served stuff anyway.

  10. #10
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    I'll be passing though around then. Thanks for sharing the info. I'll be checking them out too. Any camping in the area? No services required.
    Subscribed.
    -G

  11. #11
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    Unfortunately, no. Sometimes people camp in the parking lot during ski season but I think that's kind of a "don't ask, don't tell" situation. Given the relative emptiness of the lot during summer, I don't think it would pan out for biking.

    The closest camping would probably be in the USFS campgrounds along the Gallatin River off of Rt 191, or on USFS lands along any of the forest roads connecting to 191 (Taylor Fork road, etc.) but none of those are within riding distance of BS.

    You could always camp up the Taylor Fork Road and ride the Oil Well Trail and Pika Point. It's worth it to hike to and along the huge landslide to the north if you're into geology and that sort of thing. Watch for bears though.

  12. #12
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    Thanks! Iíll check it out. -G
    Quote Originally Posted by dir-T View Post
    Unfortunately, no. Watch for bears though.

  13. #13
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    You could get away with sleeping in your vehicle pretty easily at the North Fork TH, Dudley Creek TH, or Twin Cabin TH. Or maybe part way up Doe Creek Road. I think the pullout on Lone Mnt Trail at the Dam Road intersection is legit as well, but there's traffic.
    Further out, plenty of legit free camping along Portal Road, Moose, Storm Castle, Taylor Fork, Cinnamon TH, Sage TH. Cinnamon is SICK.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by afraid View Post
    I think the pullout on Lone Mnt Trail at the Dam Road intersection is legit as well, but there's traffic.


    I mean, I've "camped" behind the visitor information center across from the gas station after realizing I was in no shape to drive home after the Willie Nelson concert, but one would have to be pretty hard up to enjoy "camping" at that pull-out.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-T View Post


    I mean, I've "camped" behind the visitor information center across from the gas station after realizing I was in no shape to drive home after the Willie Nelson concert, but one would have to be pretty hard up to enjoy "camping" at that pull-out.
    Yeah that pullout is where they tell people to camp after kicking them out of the main parking lot at the ski area. There's plenty of quiet cul-de-sacs in the mountain village to poach for the night.
    The vistor's center is not viable anymore.
    Ride and camp at Cinnamon TH.

  16. #16
    rth009
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    Its so easy to camp in MT, unless your in Whitefish or Big Sky.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by rth009 View Post
    Its so easy to camp in MT, unless your in Whitefish or Big Sky.
    True dat.

    I also miss the days when you could drive up to Hyalite on any 'ol weekend and get a spot at the developed campground with no trouble. Now you need to book it in February.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by dir-T View Post
    Unfortunately, no. Sometimes people camp in the parking lot during ski season but I think that's kind of a "don't ask, don't tell" situation. Given the relative emptiness of the lot during summer, I don't think it would pan out for biking.

    The closest camping would probably be in the USFS campgrounds along the Gallatin River off of Rt 191, or on USFS lands along any of the forest roads connecting to 191 (Taylor Fork road, etc.) but none of those are within riding distance of BS.

    You could always camp up the Taylor Fork Road and ride the Oil Well Trail and Pika Point. It's worth it to hike to and along the huge landslide to the north if you're into geology and that sort of thing. Watch for bears though.
    Do this. The serenity out on Taylor Fork Road is unbelievable. Primitive campsites are almost always available and most of them have a creek running by. You can ride around the area on full-day epics and are only a 30 minute drive away from the top of the resort. I ride out there all the time and really enjoy the peace. Camping is free by the way.

  19. #19
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    Taylor Fork sounds great. Thanks for all the beta.

    Is bear spray a for sure part of the riding kit up there?

    Down here the worst predators are bi-peds and the occasional big cat.
    -G

  20. #20
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    Is bear spray a for sure part of the riding kit up there?

    YES

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6foot4 View Post

    With that being said, yea Mountain to Meadow is one of the more exciting rides in Big Sky. I use the free shuttle so I don't have to ride back up.
    What is this free shuttle of which you speak?
    Thanks,
    -G

  22. #22
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    https://skylinebus.com/information/bus-passes/

    here you go, really cool service.

    oh and a bear was on the mountain to meadow trail a week or so ago too. This is bear country.

  23. #23
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    Thanks!
    -G

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by fleboz View Post
    https://skylinebus.com/information/bus-passes/

    here you go, really cool service.

    oh and a bear was on the mountain to meadow trail a week or so ago too. This is bear country.
    Sounds like that bear might be chilling there because almost 3 weeks ago some bike shop bros were talking about a bear out there.

  25. #25
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    Perfectly timed thread!

    We will be meeting family in Big Sky in late July.

    I was hoping to get some beta.
    We will be staying on Black Moon Road, which appears to be the North end of the area.

    Looking at close trails where I can sneak out for a quick hour or two:
    Beehive
    Lower Beehive
    The North Fork Loop

    Any suggestion with these?
    From the top of North Fork Loop, any particular side for the best downhill?
    Anything else close that is a must-do?

    Thanks in advance.
    BoiseBoy

  26. #26
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    From Black Moon just ride up Beehive Rd. to the TH, ride up the crowded hiker trail to the cutoff to the road, ride road for a half mile to North Fork Tie Trail. Ride North Fork clockwise, with an out and back diversion up into Bear Basin a little ways. Then reverse the road/cutoff/hiker trail and do Lower Beehive Trail, ride main road back to Black Moon.
    If you're lucky you might spot Lower Beehive Trail on the way up, but it's a little obscure. I might be around, ping me.

  27. #27
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    I'd do mountain to meadow for sure.

    Hummocks/Uplands/Ralph's is also a really fun XC day. Don't forget to hit all the trails at the resort as well. Everything outside of Big Sky in the Gallatin National Forest is kinda mixed conditions, but the rides can really go deep backcountry if you don't mind ruts and downed trees from time to time. I personally love some of those rides.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6foot4 View Post
    I'd do mountain to meadow for sure.

    Hummocks/Uplands/Ralph's is also a really fun XC day. Don't forget to hit all the trails at the resort as well. Everything outside of Big Sky in the Gallatin National Forest is kinda mixed conditions, but the rides can really go deep backcountry if you don't mind ruts and downed trees from time to time. I personally love some of those rides.
    Do most people ride First and/or Second Mule as an out and back -as an extension from Ralph's Pass?

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by MHCBH View Post
    Do most people ride First and/or Second Mule as an out and back -as an extension from Ralph's Pass?
    To be honest I'm not sure that First/Second Mule are used very often. I think it's a massive climb that doesn't have much payoff. With that being said I know they are working on improving the route because of the new race that is in August. (Big Sky Biggie).

  30. #30
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    1st and 2nd are ridden all the time as a loop or out and backs.
    The trails day is not affiliated with the race. The trails day won't change the trails significantly, just a little erosion control and tree cutting.
    2nd is "better" up and down than 1st, and 1st is steeper/more direct to and from Buck Ridge.
    Most people ride from town, or from Ousel Falls TH. Ousel Falls Trail is overrun with tourists, so bypassing this by taking the paved Ousel Falls Road to the big timberworks bridge is recommended for heading up (as you cross the bridge look to your right for a steep shortcut). On your way down either contend with the tourists or ride Ralph's Outlook. All on Trailforks.

  31. #31
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    Thanks for the input. I"ll be staying at Big Sky for a few days and will be looking for some nice XC routes to keep the legs happy. Not looking for any epic rides with lots of climbing, as I'm technically "tapering" for big XC race the next week but don't want to miss out on any great riding in the area while we're there.

  32. #32
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    To edit my directions, take Ousel Falls Road to Ousel Falls View Road to the timberworks bridge...

    I rode 2nd to 1st Saturday, 3 trees down on each, excellent trail conditions

  33. #33
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    How are the Grizzly loops and Porcupine creek? Looks like I could ride over to those from the resort using the bike paths. Are they worth hitting? Looks like a few shorter loops that would make for a ride under 2 hours?

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by MHCBH View Post
    How are the Grizzly loops and Porcupine creek? Looks like I could ride over to those from the resort using the bike paths. Are they worth hitting? Looks like a few shorter loops that would make for a ride under 2 hours?
    Are you staying at Big Sky Resort? It's not close to Porcupine. The moonlight trails have what you're looking for, see Madison Loop and such. Also North Fork.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by MHCBH View Post
    How are the Grizzly loops and Porcupine creek? Looks like I could ride over to those from the resort using the bike paths. Are they worth hitting? Looks like a few shorter loops that would make for a ride under 2 hours?
    And there aren't bike paths coming down from "the resort", and Porcupine kinda blows this year from the horses.

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