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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Paper St. Soap Co.

    TR:Montana Sampler

    I had to cancel our July Salmon River (ID) float trip due to my sting
    ray sting infected foot. While laying on the couch with my foot
    elevated for weeks, I thought it might be nice to return to Montana and
    bike some of the trails that might get closed to mountain biking. Marla
    wasn't excited about another Montana vacation at first, but soon decided
    it would be an ok idea after I showed her all the fun trails I wanted to
    ride, reminded her how much she likes Montana beer, and mentioned that
    several of the trails might get closed to mt bikes.

    I was overly ambitious while planning the trip, but we still managed 11
    rides in 11 different mountain ranges. Pretty good when you consider
    all the driving, family, drinking, and I wasn't in prime condition.

    This is just a small sample of rides in Montana and each area we visited
    has weeks or months of riding.

    Day 0: I-15
    Drive 15 hours to the greater Dell-Lima metro area:
    Last edited by 406; 07-27-2017 at 05:03 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Paper St. Soap Co.
    Day 1: Dell-Lima metro area
    trail status: possible will be closed
    trail encounters: 2 backpackers, ~10 elk.
    trail info: ~22 mile loop with 5k ft climbing over a 10k pass.

    Big Sky Country:

    Nice trail on the climb up:

    This was the first ride on my new bike.

    First part of the decent from the pass is all scree and was interesting.
    After the scree a few miles of nice flow:

    If I did this again I would do this as an out and back on the other side
    of the pass or just stick to the CDT, losing the trail on the downhill

    Unfortunately the Calf-A closed early on Sunday for the Labor day weekend:

    So we drove to Dillon and had some pulled pork sandwiches from the rodeo/fair.
    Last edited by 406; 07-27-2017 at 05:07 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Paper St. Soap Co.
    Day 2: Dillon
    trail status: might get closed to bikes
    trail encounters: 4 mt bikers
    trail info: 15 mile out and back with about 3000 ft of climbing to an alpine lake.

    Trail started as atv trail:

    Through a nice meadow:

    Single track for the climb:

    Arrive at a very scenic lake:

    Goofing off at the lake:

    Very fun downhill:

    Clean bike and beer at the truck:

    View from the Grasshopper Inn and Restaurant:

    Very tasty steak from the cows down the road:

    Day 3: Bozeman
    On the drive to Bozeman, we had lunch at:

    I was only up for a easy shuttle and Marla just wanted to hike a bit.
    So I popped my shuttle cherry on this insanely fun Bozeman ride.

    trail status: normal
    trail encounters: 1 mt biker
    trail info: 8 mile shuttle drops about 2500 ft, 500ft of climbing.

    Climbed up to a view point:

    Then it was time for a fast downhill:

    All smiles at the end:

    Had dinner with the cousins at Pickle barrel.
    Last edited by 406; 07-27-2017 at 05:12 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Paper St. Soap Co.
    Day 4: Bozeman
    I hadn't been to Bozeman in the summer in over 10 years and the place is
    no longer a sleepy cow town, and is full of trustfunders and angry locals.

    Downtown seemed busier than Missoula:

    More Wheat Montana for lunch:

    Took the cousin in law on her first mountain bike ride. Atv trail climb
    along a scenic ridge:

    The ladies with Lone Peak ( Big Sky Ski area ) in the background:

    Where is the single track downhill?:

    Found it:

    Most of the downhill has smooth and fast, but had a couple chunky

    Down to the creek:

    Ending with a water fall:

    Our favorite, buffalo burgers from the Corral:
    Last edited by 406; 07-27-2017 at 05:14 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Paper St. Soap Co.
    Day 5: Bozeman to Missoula
    trail status: will possible be closed to bikes
    trail encounters: 0
    trail info: 10 mile out and back with about 1600 ft of climbing to an alpine lake.

    I had wanted to do an 'epic' ride in this mountain range, but was still
    recovering from day 1. This ride was really fun.

    Climbing up:

    Found a big area of slick rock that I played on for about half and hour:

    Enough of that, we got a lake to get to:

    The lake:

    Time for a fun downhill:

    Found a fun log:

    View from the drive out:

    Outside Missoula at 80 mph:

    Day 6: Missoula
    Rest and visit family. Went to a geology banquet for two of my
    professors that retired recently. Great talk by the paleontologist Jack
    Horner ... ontologist)
    Did a bit of drinking:

    Last edited by 406; 03-28-2018 at 11:20 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Paper St. Soap Co.
    Day 7: Missoula
    trail status: not sure, Bitterroot NF is revising travel plan
    trail encounters: 2 mt bikers
    trail info: Shuttle with 1500 climbing and 4500 drop.

    Where is the downhill single track:

    First part was through a burned area:

    The cuz:

    Some climbing, then more down:

    All down after getting into the trees:

    The mustache boys:

    Dinner at a burger joint in Hamilton, it's huge:

    That night went to the annual geology kegger:

    Day 8: Missoula
    Didn't have much time for a ride today. So decided to check out a trail
    that I considered my own personal trail growing up located near the
    parents house. I have encountered more black bears than people on this

    Photos of the first section of trail I ever built...a bit too steep, but has

    Looked like someone had been using it, so I was surprised to find the
    upper part overgrown.

    Spur trail has several small fun jumps:

    Lots of creek crossings on the main trail:

    About half way up I got sick of climbing over downed trees and turned
    around for a fast downhill:

    Day 9: Missoula
    trail status: Most likely will be closed to bikes, Lolo NF is revising travel plan
    trail encounters: 1 large black bear
    trail info: This trail is located near Missoula in an area that I call the
    mini-Missions and has over 100 miles of wild single track. I'm
    surprised more Missoula people don't bike this, I love the area and find
    the trails are fun. Didn't have a lot of time to ride, but did about 12
    miles with little climbing.

    Had to cross a swinging bridge that was difficult to get the bike across
    and the dog refused to walk on:



    Fill the growler and slam some beers at Big Sky Brewery and then drive to Augusta.

    Don't move to Montana:
    Last edited by 406; 03-28-2018 at 11:27 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Paper St. Soap Co.
    Day 10: Augusta
    View from camp:

    We had the campground to ourselves, other than the black bear and cub. View of camp:

    trail status: normal, Lewis and Clark NF travel plan is pretty bike friendly
    trail encounters: 0
    trail info: Today's trail climbed a gulch adjacent to the Bob Marshal
    Wilderness. 16 mile out and back with about 1000 ft of climbing.

    Starting in aspen trees:

    To a large meadow:

    And up over the pass. While having a snack about half way up the pass I
    noticed that several areas of my rear tires sidewall were failing. Time
    to turn around and hope for the best. I did not want to hike out 8
    miles in bike shoes.

    Very fast across the meadow:

    Glad the tire lasted:

    Dinner at:

    Day 11: Great Falls
    Visit with grandpa and find new tire.

    Leaving the Rocky Mountain Front:


    I was nervous that Great Falls wouldn't have any 29" tires and I would
    have to cancel more rides and drive to Bozeman for a tire. But I bought
    one of two at the one bike shop in Great Falls:

    Outside Great Falls:

    Stopped in Belt for $2 pints and a growler fill at the brewery:
    Last edited by 406; 03-28-2018 at 11:32 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Paper St. Soap Co.
    Day 12: Lewistown
    trail status: normal, Lewis and Clark NF travel plan is pretty bike
    trail encounters: 0
    trail info: A ride to an ice cave in a mountain range surrounded by
    prairie. Can be a loop, but we did out and back. 12 miles with 2500
    feet climb.

    Climbing up:

    To a nice view point:

    Good spot for a piss:

    More climbing to the tundra:

    Ice cave:

    Ride to the top for lunch:

    Downhill time:

    A scree section:

    Drive to Beartooths:

    Last edited by 406; 03-28-2018 at 11:37 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Paper St. Soap Co.
    Day 13: Cooke City
    View from the RV in the morning:

    The Beartooths require your A game and we were on D game, so we decided
    against doing the abusive loop from the guide book or the huge shuttle
    that I found on the maps and did a nice scenic ~8 mile ride from camp
    that passed several lakes and had chunky and smooth sections of trail.

    Lots of rocks to play on:

    Cold swim back at camp:

    Day 14: Yellowstone
    Had planned to do a ride today, but everything hurt, so spent the day in
    the parks and drove to Salt Lake.


    Tatanka crossing the river:

    They swam the river because they knew I wanted to eat them:

    Yellowstone NP idea of a bike trail, we didn't bother unloading the

    Grand Teton NP:

    Day 15: I-15
    The end.

    I should add that Montana mtb alliance and IMBA are working to keep trails open to bikes.

    Thanks tone capone for the Bozeman trail info.
    Last edited by 406; 03-28-2018 at 11:39 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Jackson Hole
    Wow. Awesome everything.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Hell yeah man, looks like you had an awesome trip. I have some of the exact same photos of the lost cabin ride from a few years ago. Cold Smoke Ale in cans makes great riding beer, good to see you found some of those. That corral burger looks so damn good, I love that place. Wheat Montana on the other hand......
    "The skis just popped me up out of the snow and I went screaming down the hill on a high better than any heroin junkie." She Ra

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    looks like an amazing trip. nice work

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Damn.. nice TR..

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Front Range, CO
    great photos & TR. What creek is that with the waterfall on day 4?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    a poop plant
    Damn nice.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Salt Lake City
    I love Montana riding. Keep up the Montana TRs everybody.

    There are some amazing photos in here. Out of curiosity, what camera are you using?
    Quote Originally Posted by TheDingleberry View Post
    pissing in a sink? fucking rookies. Shit in an oven, then you'll be pro.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    just outside the bubble
    Nicely done man. Looks like a blast.

    I want that buffalo burger
    It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. –Ernest Hemingway

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    People's Republic of MN
    EPIC TR! Well done!! I need to make a trip west to ride some time.
    Gravity. It's the law.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Southside of heaven
    maybe i should make it out to montucky sometime.
    well done!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Wow, we were just in Montana doing a very similar trip, although I think the only trail we rode in common was Tahepia Lake. My wife even had a brand new Turner as well. Wanted to do the Italian Peaks ride (that was your first?), but never made it quite that far. Managed to do Mile Creek, Pika Point, Helena ridge, Tahepia, Curly Lake, Bangtail divide and Portal to Porcupine. Amazing single track everywhere, and I think we saw four mt. bikers on our whole trip.

    Got to get some lobbying done while it's all still fresh.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    That was an all time TR, insanely jealous.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Now that is one hell of a road trip! Great TR.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Great TR. Lots of great photos, but my favorite is the scenic pissing one.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    bottom of flat top
    Quote Originally Posted by garuda View Post
    great photos & TR. What creek is that with the waterfall on day 4?
    west fork of the gallatin river? the trail looks a lot like buck ridge to Ousel falls. darn purty

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    where the beer flows like wine
    done right. hopeful pm sent.
    Big skis from small companies at Backcountry Freeskier

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