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Tags:
Level: Intermediate
Length: 24 mi (38.6 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +1,568/1 ft
Total: 76 riders
 

Mountain Biking Bangtail Divide

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#4 of 264 mountain bike trails in Montana
#698 in the world

This trail is best from South to North. It starts out with plenty of switchbacks that will get your lungs and legs warmed up! From there, it levels out with beautiful views and you will continue with classic XC riding wtih ups and downs. There is some more climbing towards the end, but then you have several miles of down, so enjoy!

Be sure to stop and take in the beautiful views.

This ride is intermediate. If you are a strong rider, it should not take more than 4.5 hours with short breaks, and if you like a slower pace or are a beginner, it may take upwards to 6 hours. Start early, as to avoid hot afternoons!

Parts of this trail are multi-use and you may encounter dirt bikes, horses and hikers.

Before you go
  • No Drinking water 
  • No E-bikes permitted 
  • No Fat biking allowed in winter 
  • No Fee required 
  • No Lift service 
  • No Night riding allowed 
  • No Pump track 
  • No Restrooms 
Getting there
If you are shuttling: From Bozeman, drive up Bridger Canyon road and take a ride at Bracket Creek Road. Parking is on your immediate right. Go back down Bridger Canyon Road and turn left at the Stone Creek Trailhead sign. Drive one mile to parking lot on left. Switchbacks start across from parking lot.

If you are NOT doing this as a shuttle, simply take Bridger Canyon Road from Bozeman and turn right at the Stone Creek Trail Head sign and drive one mile to the parking area on the left. The trail starts across from the parking lot
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Bangtail Divide Trail map

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Jack McNeil (on Aug 9, 2019)
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(on Jun 13, 2019)
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bangtail trail bozeman montana
 
 

Mountain Bike Trails Near Bozeman, Montana

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Rider questions

Q: is it safe for 11 year olds to mountain bike it
A: Ride it as an out and back from the North end. When the youngster gets tired its all downhill back.

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Reviews

  • Jim Cummings
    ***

    I parked at the Bangtail Divide trailhead - the northern end - and rode the pleasant 6 miles on Bridger Canyon Road then 1 mile on Stone Creek Road to the Stone Creek trailhead and started the trail there. There is good parking at both.

    The ride up is a gruelling grind of nearly 2000 vertical feet over 6 miles on a steep and rocky trail. Only the very fit and strong will avoid a lot of pushing. The terrain rounds out on the tops and the trail mellows but there are 4 significant undulations along the crest and two are steep and mean. There are some fast and exhilarating down-slope sections as well. But overall the 14 miles along the crest is quite mellow and there are some beautiful panoramic views. The final 4 miles is nearly all down hill. At least half of the final descent is rocky and bumpy, the rest is fast and exhilarating.

    Overall, the loop is 32 miles long and according to Strava the altitude gain (and loss) is over 4500 feet. It is a challenging ride that will leave you with a feeling of achievement. Advanced riding skills are needed (This is not an intermediate trail!) as well as a high level of fitness and endurance.

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  • Jared13
    ****

    We did not have a shuttle, so we parked at the north TH and rode the paved road first and went up from the south. If you can't shuttle, I would recommend this route. Most people seemed to like the descent going into the north trail head vs the southern one.

    As for the actual riding, the views are AMAZING, while the trail is decent. Definitely intermediate in skill but advanced in endurance if riding the entire loop. The climbs and switchbacks are relentless. The top had quite a few depressions from all the motorcycle traffic and they held quite a bit of water. Some were fun, others were a pain. The final descent has some rocks thrown in for good measure and we met quite a few riders near the end. A very busy trail at certain times. I'm happy I did the ride for the views, but the trail itself wasn't too impressive. I would have given it a three, but 1'd it for the views.

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  • Dylan Graves
    *****

    This is a really fun trail. The north side is a little rutted out from dirt bikes, but that didn't take away from the ride at all. Either way you take the trail, you get a good hour plus of ascent, then some wicked views along the ridge while you go along some pretty rolling XC singletrack, and then you get a long, switchback filled descent. All in all, a fun ride, especially when dry.

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  • ridethetetons
    *****

    Excellent ride with big views. Did the north end with the big climb and turned around for the big, fast descent.

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  • Luther McLain
    ***

    The southern half is very nice,but the northern half is severely affected by dirt bikes. Slimy mud holes that are repeated ad nauseam, and chewed up climbs. Compared to any other IMBA Epic in the west, it is not worth doing unless you live nearby. If you don't, then skip it and go to Butte, Sun Valley, or anywhere else non-motorized vehicles aren't part of the experience.

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  • John Fisch
    *****

    This is a wonderful epic. It rides great in both directions and everyone has their preference. No matter which way you choose, you will start with a major climb and this is one taxing, long-distance ride overall, especially if you don't have a shuttle and have to close the loop on your own. While it's correctly marked intermediate for technical purposes, it requires advanced fitness, or all day and a lot of patience. Most of the trail is pretty smooth and the toughest technical test will be a few of the tighter switchbacks. If you're not sure you're up to the whole thing, still go give it a whirl; climb until you're tired then simply turn back for a superb downhill. This one is hard to beat for scenery. For much of the climb, you'll have splendid views of the rugged Bridger range and once on top, you'll be able to see the Absarokas, Beartooths, Madison and Gallatin ranges as well as a few smaller ranges and many gorgeous valleys. Top recommendation for this trail.

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  • brday10
    *****

    Starting at stone creek and climbing like crazy is recommended. This sets you up for some great flowy downhill sections midway through the ride as well as some of my favorite steep, loose, rocky climbs. Scenery is amazing throughout, with views of the north Bridgers, Spanish Peaks, Battle Ridge, and so much more, while pedaling through terrain that ranges from extremely dry and dusty to cool and shaded through thick forest with huge grassy sections in between. The full ride is varied in terrain and technicality, without any extreme downhill.* Review edited 9/11/2012

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  • harryhoodlum
    *****

    Locals can't come to a consensus on the way to ride this trail. Which means, of course, that it's fun both ways.
    The trail isn't overly technical, but the length and elevation gain make it difficult... beginners shouldn't attempt it. Intermediate folk will suffer but have fun if all goes well.
    Reviewer left out important information... this is a shuttle, drop a car off at either end then drive to the other end.* Review edited 5/22/2012

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  • jabautn
    *****

    Awesome views, great work out, not super strenous. Starts out a bit rough with the switchbacks and the small bursts of climbing at the end are trying, but it's sooooo nice!

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