If your are looking too wait out the spring runoff and enjoy the cooler temps this spring, check out some of the local mountain bike trails in Missoula’s back yard for mountain biking Missoula! Generally speaking there are three regions just outside of town: The Rattlesnake Recreation area, Pattee Canyon, and Blue Mountain. They are perfect for quick laps after work and are super convenient if you are in Missoula. There are many more great riding areas farther out, but these areas offer a broad range of trails from beginner double track all the way to steep rocky single track.
The Rattlesnake trailhead is just a couple miles from downtown and a great introduction if you are new to the area. Beginners will appreciate a steady road climb from the lot that leads to a network of perfect single-track descending opportunities. More advanced rides can connect over to Sheep Mountain on the East side of the valley, or continue to head up to the summit of Stuart Peak. Its worth mentioning Snowbowl even offers some downhill lift assisted mountain biking just to the west.
Next up, Pattee Canyon it’s the closest trail system to downtown offering great beginner and intermediate level rides for mountain biking Missoula. Its worth the almost 2500 foot climb to the top of Mt Sentinel for the view alone, as you make your way back down you can either head back toward the university or head east and ride the ridge down for a more technical descent that will spit you out at Pattee Canyon Road.
Don’t forget about Blue Mountain, just on the south west side of town. Here you will find a dense web of trails that make every ride a little bit different. Toward the top of the mountain you will find some huge berms and fun side hits on the moto trails. For the riders looking for the steepest terrain head to Deadmans Ridge and just watch out for other trail users as you hold on for the rip down.
This is by no means a definitive guide, if you are looking for more information check out MTB Missoula’s ride guide and check out some of the great opportunities to give back to the community when you are mountain biking Missoula!