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650b me
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I will be passing through Montana on I-90 on our way from WA to CO in mid-September. Here's what I'm looking for: close to town trail network with lots of green/blue trail options. No shuttling, no lifts. Gotta keep it wife-friendly. Also, I'd rather not encounter a grizzly. I know the odds are low, but still, I'd rather not venture too far into the backcountry. Basically looking for some fun, accessible trails to ride to break up the monotony of the drive. Thanks!
 

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All fat, all the time.
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Sounds like you want to check out Rattlesnake area north of Missoula about 10 minutes. Lots of green and blue stuff.

Personally I never ever skip(never!) Butte. You can ride the CDT right off the interstate at homestake pass. You're looking at an out n back as far as you want to go either direction. Nothing overly technical, I'd say solid blue just because there's a decent amount of climbing.

But great views and granite boulders everywhere.

Sent from my SM-G991U using Tapatalk
 

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There are chances of encountering Grizzlies in both cities. I live in Missoula and ride with bear spray and I really doesn’t matter if it is a Grizz or a Black Bear, if you encounter one around a blind corner **** can get real. Mostly you will have a mini heartache and the bear will run away. Last year there were Grizzly sightings North, South, East and West of town. There were also a **** load of bikers out there too and no one was attacked.

The Rattlesnake has great trails, all but one are blues and greens. I like going up Sawmill Gulch and down Fenceline. The climb is green and the downhill is a blue.
Pattee Canyon to the East of town has a new trail called High Wide and Handsome, it is an out an back and climbs a couple thousand feet, circles the top of Mount Dean Stone and goes back down, great views of the valleys below, lots of switchbacks but the trail is designed to be rideable by all skill levels.
Blue Mountain is to the west of town and has a mix of green blue and black trails. Green and blue loops are easy to find. I live close to there so that is where I ride the most. The trails are a bit older and steeper and a bit more technical. I usually ride up Carcass to Blue Mt road to Hayes point cutoff then down HayesCreek.Hayes Creek can be nasty sometimes as it is a shared moto trail so it can be close to a black trail.
overall I would say the Rattlesnake is the best bet for what you are looking for, just don’t haul ass around blind corners and carry bear spray.
 

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Nurse Ben
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Helena is awesome, ride from town or shuttle to the top, great riding, and when you’re done just coast into town … if you want to ride longer, the wifey can cruise the shop, get something to eat (y)

Bozeman has a lot of riding, but a lot of the mellower in town stuff is swarmed with hikers, esp on the weekend. Nice downtown, a little ritzy.

Never rode Missoula, nice town, more organic feeling than Bozeman … my kids are looking at moving there after graduation.

Go a little further afield and check out Spokane, lots of riding that way. If you are coming over from Seattle and haven’t ridden around Wenatchee, it’s worth the stop, also good stuff in the Methow.

FYI, wildfire smoke is bad right now, keep an eye on the air quality, you can usually find a less smokey place to ride
 

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beater
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Our AQI is 0 right now. It's amazing.

Last night:


The reason I mentioned Helena is your stated preference for close-to-town trails. Missoula is better than Bozeman for that, but from my perspective they aren't as convenient as ours in Helena. Trails here mostly terminate downtown or in urban neighborhoods. But depending on where you're coming from and what you're used to, you might be amazed by what Missoula has within a short distance of town.
 

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650b me
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Our AQI is 0 right now. It's amazing.

Last night:


The reason I mentioned Helena is your stated preference for close-to-town trails. Missoula is better than Bozeman for that, but from my perspective they aren't as convenient as ours in Helena. Trails here mostly terminate downtown or in urban neighborhoods. But depending on where you're coming from and what you're used to, you might be amazed by what Missoula has within a short distance of town.
We decided on Helena. We're going to camp at the MTB campground, forget exactly what it's called. You nailed what I was looking for: ride right from town, roll back into town when done. The South Hills trails in Helena look to offer that. Not that I'm adverse to making the drive for good trails, but I have been fortunate to live in some places with amazing riding right from town, like Golden and Salida, CO.
 

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650b me
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Helena is awesome, ride from town or shuttle to the top, great riding, and when you're done just coast into town … if you want to ride longer, the wifey can cruise the shop, get something to eat (y)

Bozeman has a lot of riding, but a lot of the mellower in town stuff is swarmed with hikers, esp on the weekend. Nice downtown, a little ritzy.

Never rode Missoula, nice town, more organic feeling than Bozeman … my kids are looking at moving there after graduation.

Go a little further afield and check out Spokane, lots of riding that way. If you are coming over from Seattle and haven't ridden around Wenatchee, it's worth the stop, also good stuff in the Methow.

FYI, wildfire smoke is bad right now, keep an eye on the air quality, you can usually find a less smokey place to ride
We live in Bellingham now. Another great MTB town. Wenatchee area is a favorite local weekend getaway...when it's not 100 degrees or smoky, at least. We'll be passing through Spokane. Spending the first night of our trip in Coeur d' Alene so we're gonna sample some trails there.

As for wildfire smoke, I hear you. This is plan B. Plan A was...wait for it...WA to CO via Lake Tahoe! We all know how that turned out. Not this year!
 

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beater
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Lots of Helena ex-pats in Bellingham.

There aren’t a lot of restaurants on the west side, but ending a ride at Saigon Alley is a nice option. It’s pretty decent Vietnamese with beer/wine, and a great deck overlooking downtown. She doesn’t advertise it enough, but she makes a point of buying local and organic options wherever she can. There are a lot of popular post-ride spots downtown, starting with Blackfoot River Brewing or Ten Mile Brewing.

You picked a good time to visit. The trails got some moisture, the air has cleared, and our long run of 90-degree days finally broke.
 

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650b me
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Lots of Helena ex-pats in Bellingham.

There aren't a lot of restaurants on the west side, but ending a ride at Saigon Alley is a nice option. It's pretty decent Vietnamese with beer/wine, and a great deck overlooking downtown. She doesn't advertise it enough, but she makes a point of buying local and organic options wherever she can. There are a lot of popular post-ride spots downtown, starting with Blackfoot River Brewing or Ten Mile Brewing.

You picked a good time to visit. The trails got some moisture, the air has cleared, and our long run of 90-degree days finally broke.
Cool, thanks for the current status of Helena. We're looking forward to our visit.
 

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We decided on Helena. We're going to camp at the MTB campground, forget exactly what it's called.
Holy cow, it's about time! My wife and I are always saying how we love riding Helena in spring/fall but the camping situation is non-existant. We'll have to check out MTBCity later this year.

That said, and I know you've already made up your mind, but...

- If you're already going out of your way from I-90 to visit Helena it would be a real shame to pass up Copper City. Copper City Trails Project - Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association This is actually the first time I visited the website - that's me in the plaid shirt leaning on the McLeod.

- If you do decide to ride in/near Bozeman, the Moser Creek trail system is also pretty enjoyable/tame. Check it out on Trailforks (ride down Facedraw then take Buckskin back to the 2-track, Reacharound is really fun out-and-back too). Then drive to Hyalite Reservoir for a picnic lunch - it's super pretty and the USFS just finished a bunch of road maintenance. I started carrying bear spray anywhere south of Bozeman this year as griz are expanding into places they hadn't been but I haven't heard of any sitings in the Moser area in at least a couple years.
 

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650b me
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Holy cow, it's about time! My wife and I are always saying how we love riding Helena in spring/fall but the camping situation is non-existant. We'll have to check out MTBCity later this year.

That said, and I know you've already made up your mind, but...

- If you're already going out of your way from I-90 to visit Helena it would be a real shame to pass up Copper City. Copper City Trails Project - Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association This is actually the first time I visited the website - that's me in the plaid shirt leaning on the McLeod.

- If you do decide to ride in/near Bozeman, the Moser Creek trail system is also pretty enjoyable/tame. Check it out on Trailforks (ride down Facedraw then take Buckskin back to the 2-track, Reacharound is really fun out-and-back too). Then drive to Hyalite Reservoir for a picnic lunch - it's super pretty and the USFS just finished a bunch of road maintenance. I started carrying bear spray anywhere south of Bozeman this year as griz are expanding into places they hadn't been but I haven't heard of any sitings in the Moser area in at least a couple years.
Thanks for the ideas, but our itinerary is set and there won't be time for additional exploration in MT on this trip. Cheers!
 
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