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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    TR: 2 mtb rides near Hamilton, Montana

    Lots of posts in sprocket rockets about backcountry rides in Montana, so figured I would post a few photos and info from a couple rides I did first part of July. Was home in Missoula the second week in July, mostly for family activities, but managed to get away for a couple big rides.

    July 10th plan was Ward Mountain in the Bitterroot Mountain range. A
    majority of the range is in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, 3rd
    largest in the lower 48 at 1.3 million acres. Ward Mountain at 9119
    ft, is the highest one can legally go with a mountain bike.

    Trail starts out around 4200 ft and is easy riding the first 2.5 miles
    up to 5200 ft through a burn area with lots of flowers:


    And views:


    More flowers:


    Just as I was starting to think it was going to be a cake walk, the
    hike a bike started. Figures, because still need to go up 4000 ft and
    there was only 3.5 miles of trail to the summit. The trail is narrow
    most of the way, due to getting little use, so was a challenging hike
    a bike. But the down looked like it would be fun:


    Trail faces east, so cooks in the morning sun through the burned
    area. Thankfully, into the trees for some shade and water from a
    stream to cool off:


    As the trees get smaller start seeing patches of snow:


    Final push to the summit selfie:


    Bike at the top shot looking west:


    looking north:


    180 degree pano looking west, click link for full size:
    http://umtgriz.com/forum/2018/MSO_Ju...d_top_pano.jpg


    Tiny flowers near the summit:


    The snow patches were fun to ride on the way down:


    Down was a blast, only took 1 hour and I stopped for lots of photos
    and to spin the stans into a front tire leak. Nice views of the
    Bitterroot Valley:


    Nobody around at the trailhead, so I skinny dipped in the creek:


    Only 13 miles, but 5k ft of up.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Paper St. Soap Co.
    Posts
    2,059
    I had been on the fence about what to ride the next day. But in early
    July a judge temporarily overturned the mountain bike ban in the
    Sapphire and Blue Joint Wilderness Study areas. These areas were
    designated by Congress in the 70's, and open to bikes and motos up
    until the 2016 Forest Travel plan revision. More info:
    https://www.bikemag.com/news/riders-...tional-forest/

    Riding one of these areas became a priority, but I figured they
    hadn't got much use in the last couple years not being popular with
    hikers so would be covered in deadfall. Thankfully the Bitterroot Backcountry
    Cyclists cleared a few trails in the Sapphire Mountains a couple
    days before my ride, these guys are bad ass:
    https://www.facebook.com/bitterrootb...type=3&theater

    My toddler is a good alarm clock, waking up at 5 am typically, but
    slept in an hour so I started an hour behind schedule. Thankfully
    road was a relatively fast up, start is deep in the valley and aways
    from the crest, but get some views on the way up:


    Road turns into really nice trail:


    The trail junction is easy to miss, look for cut logs:


    Weasel Creek trail starts in the burned area and then into trees for
    some fast fun ridge line riding:


    Starts getting steep with a little chunk:


    Then really steep and fun down to the creek. A mile of slow going
    jungle, see the trail?:


    I was 1.5 hour behind schedule, but figured it was my only chance to
    ride Railroad, so hammered back up the road. Several short hike a
    bikes with riding to get up to 313 trail:


    Was only on 313 for a short way, it looked like this:


    Railroad starts in the burned area:


    ~3 painful hike a bikes, but fun downs and views. Far off peaks got
    washed out in this photo:


    Into the green trees the trails gets really steep and is a blast:


    Even more steep, but all rideable:


    It also ends in a jungle and running late, I hiked up to an old
    logging road and bailed on the last mile. Another post ride swim in
    the creek:


    Then back to Missoula to drop off rental bike and attend a family
    function at Missoula Brewing Co:


    Ride total of about 25 miles and 5.5 k ft of up.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Missoula, MT
    Posts
    19,523
    Damn, that's nice. Some of that is definitely full suss territory, bit seems like Ward wasn't?
    No longer stuck.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuckathuntermtn View Post
    Just an uneducated guess.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    The 8th best place in the LBP
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    Nice pics 406!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    slc
    Posts
    9,436
    Most eggsellent.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    4,439
    Sweet, dude
    PE, Mechanical Engineering

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    North Vancouver/Whistler
    Posts
    10,782
    Ohh I am stoked! Looking forward to it. Going to do Razorback and Little Blue Joint and maybe Rooster and /or Weasel/Railroad

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    BoZone
    Posts
    368
    Nice stuff!
    Buy the ticket...take the ride.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Missoula
    Posts
    1,211
    Wish I'd been around. Going to have to get some guys together and head down there soon.

    Looks like mbw hooked you up with a nice ride- that process is the shop owner's personal bike.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Missoula, MT
    Posts
    19,523
    Count me in!
    No longer stuck.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuckathuntermtn View Post
    Just an uneducated guess.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    1,496
    Quote Originally Posted by 406 View Post
    I had been on the fence about what to ride the next day. But in early
    July a judge temporarily overturned the mountain bike ban in the
    Sapphire and Blue Joint Wilderness Study areas. These areas were
    designated by Congress in the 70's, and open to bikes and motos up
    until the 2016 Forest Travel plan revision. More info:
    https://www.bikemag.com/news/riders-...tional-forest/
    I'm no Open/Close Wilderness zealot, but this has me pretty stoked. Big ups to BBC, and thanks for sharing.
    sproing!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Missoula, MT
    Posts
    19,523
    I'm also a lot faster than I used to be, just fyi. Although I haven't ridden in 2.5 weeks for various reason.
    No longer stuck.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuckathuntermtn View Post
    Just an uneducated guess.

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