- Missoula bike shops offer rentals, maps, and advice that will help you get started.
- Feel the burn and then enjoy the rush as you experience mountain biking around Missoula.
- Being prepared is better then breaking down or being cold: Bring proper attire and a simple patch kit with you.
A trail for everyone can be find just minutes away from downtown Missoula. Surrounded by mountains this valley town offers a ride for everyone. Best May through October, waste no time clipping in and hitting the trail. From the smell of pine, to the siting of grazing deer, Missoula mountain biking reveals something new around each corner.
Where to go Mountain Biking
Your standing in downtown Missoula, stop, turn, and look at all those mountains. Yes, most of those mountains will lead you to Missoula mountain biking paradise all within a short drive or perfect distance for a warm up bike ride. Now, you just have to choose the spot!
Stop in one of Missoula's many bike shops to get the details or chat it up with the locals, maybe they will reveal a hidden gem. You can find maps at the Visitor's Center and at many of the trail heads.
Here are a just a few examples:
- Dountown Missoula
That's right, scenic biking is available right downtown. The Kim William's Trail takes you along the Clark Fork River for an easy, picturesque ride. Jump on and off the trail as you explore Missoula's neighborhoods and businesses. If your in town on a Thursday night, join the Thursday Night Mountain Bike Group at 6pm for a ride in the Missoula vicinity, a new ride each week.
- Rattlesnake Wilderness Area
Sitting just east of town, the Rattlesnake Wilderness Area offers many trails that will entertain all. You can't leave the main trail, Wilderness Area rules, but that doesn't make for a borrowing ride. Looking for route guidance, you'll find free maps at the trail head. Low mountain meadows give way to a steep climb about three miles in. As the thighs begin to burn so will the excitement for the 100% downhill finish that is sure to leave you smiling from ear to ear. If your just starting out and laughing at the idea of steep climbs while simultaneously smiling, have no fear, the Rattlesnake Wilderness also offers around 15 miles of calmer trails, like Franklin Bridge, that meander along the creek. Creating both a tranquil setting and a bit of confidence as you begin to embrace the world of mountain biking.
- Pattee CanyonRecreation Area
This area offers many trails for biking enthusiasts, but it is also popular, so if you are looking for solitude this may not be the place to go. From downtown Missoula, go south on 12 toward Lolo. Take SW Higgins past the women's soccer field and another left on Pattee Canyon Rd. From here you will find various trail heads. Be careful if you are crunched for time as the trail system can sometimes be confusing as many trails blend into each other, creating both a different ride every time and a need to be familiar with the trails.
- Crazy Canyon Trail
Found up in Pattee Canyon, this trail takes you to the summit of Mt. Sentinal giving you an amazing view of the valley below. Roughly 5.5 miles round trip, this ride proceeds with a subtle slop before a steep incline takes you to the summit. Keep your eyes out for soaring hawks and grazing deer.
- Sam Braxton Trail
Ask a local about Missoula mountain biking and they are sure to give you a sly smile, before responding with full on enthusiasm that you must try the Sam Braxton Trail if you are at all interested in mountain biking in the area. Located a bike ride or short drive from town, the trail can be accessed from the trail head found 3 miles up Pattee Canyon road. At only 4 miles this single track loop has it all; a short incline, a couple of 'whoops' if you feel like catching air, a wide, well groomed trail option for the beginners and technical switchbacks for those looking to hone their skills. Warning, after riding the Sam Braxton Trail you may become fully hooked on Missoula mountain biking.
Also check out Blue Mountain Recreation Area and Mount Jumbo for more mountain biking trails.
Proper planning can keep you safe even if you are only planning a day excursion. Prepare for all the elements, mountain weather can change rapidly. Packing the right gear can keep you dry and lead to a better experience.
Easiest way to not get lost is to stay on the trail.
If you do wander off the path or become injured remember to STAY PUT and keep calm.
Guided Tours & Rentals
As a hub of mountain biking traffic, Missoula's many local retailers offer the latest equipment, rentals, great deals, and most importantly an insiders knowledge of the area, so stop in and pick their brains for information as you browse the racks for a new riding jersey.