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Level: Advanced
Length: 15 mi (24.1 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Lariat
Elevation: -
Total: 20 riders

Mountain Biking Beardance

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#22 of 265 mountain bike trails in Montana
#2,099 in the world

Start climbing right off the bat up beardance trail 314, and hang a right on
trail 76 at the fork. climb until you hit forest road 498, and hang a left. ride
along that road until you can hook up with 314 and drop back down 314 all
the way to where you started. **This trail is not in the Glacier Cyclery ride
guide** Be sure to pick up the Swan Lake Ranger District map for
reference. This trail contains a stinking killer climb on the way up, but a
sweet stinking descent on the way down, with some uber steep tight
switchbacks, a whole ton of rocks and roots, some drops, and some super
flowy, beautiful singletrack!! Not to mention some of the best views of
Flathead lake anywhere!!! This one is a must-ride.

First added by Greg Heil on May 5, 2009. Last updated Apr 28, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
From Bigfork, head south on Hwy 35 along flathead lake. About halfway down the lake, you will see signs for the Beardance trailhead, and the pulloff will be on your right between the highway and the lake, with the trail starting back across on the other side of the highway.
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Beardance Trail map

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Local Info

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davidjbarnes (on Aug 13, 2016)
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Trail conditions

Dry (on Aug 13, 2016)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Bigfork, Montana

Easiest | 4 mi
Beginner | 15 mi
Beginner | 8 mi
Intermediate | 10 mi

Rider questions

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  • Jason Duncan

    Was in town for a short trip and decide to tackle this thing -- all the reviews made it sound epically difficult. I was on my Fattie (with 4.0 tires) and had a blast trying to get up that first half mile or so (by blast I mean I walked alot!). Kept going and really enjoyed the whole bit.

    Beautiful. Rocks. Bridges. Trees. Climbs.

    The way up is tough. The way down is a blast. Totally worth the challenge even if you have to walk a bit. Give yourself time so you can do the whole thing!


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  • Greg Heil   ✓ supporter

    Beardance is a techy climb through the lower section that transitions into a classic Montana singletrack up high: Switchbacks, loamy dirt, big trees, big views, and some jumps and drops.

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  • bjornski7

    Really great trail - thanks to everyone for their hard work to make such a fun singletrack!

    We rode it using the reviews and directions here, which unfortunately meant climbing up the beautiful Trail 76, and riding down Road 498, dropping tons of elevation, to Trail 373, which meant a bit more climbing before finally descending on singletrack. DO NOT DO THIS, unless you love destroying your mountain biking soul by losing massive elevation on a graded road.

    My suggestion if you're not shuttling is to ride the trail as an out-and-back: Start from the trailhead up the rocky steep switchbacks to the first intersection (with Trail 373, at 0.5 miles), take the right fork. Continue climbing up technical switchbacks until the next intersection (with Trail 314, there is a long skinny here) and again go right, continuing up Trail 76. The riding becomes a bit less technical here with beautiful views of the lake and cool riding in the forest. Next you will come to a double track, turn right and go about 50 feet until the trail goes up to the left. Continue along to the trail again to the next double track. Again, go right onto the road and very quickly get back on the trail as it climbs up to the left. A little more climbing here, but all very smooth and fun. Eventually, you will top out (though you don't really notice it) and have a fun, flowy descent in sometimes thick brush to Road 498, where the trail marker #10222 is located. Crack a beer, turn around, and ride it back down to the car!

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  • 406mountainbike

    long slog uphill or wonderfully creamy downhill if you shuttle to the top. Check out crane mountain trail supporters on Facebook to see who is shuttling that day.

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  • camolloyd

    Trailhead was easy to find and had a nice parking spot across the road. The trail starts out pretty rocky but gets much easier as you move on. This trail has a decent amount of man-made and natural feature along the way. There are a few decent sized jumps, some split logs, banked turns and just a really fast downhill. This trail is great for a variety of riders. You get some great views along the way. I'd stay away from heavy bikes though, I used an 05 Rocky Mtn Switch and I had to push a decent amount. A lighter bike can handle this trail easily but having a DH bike made the jumps a lot more fun and the rocky end not so hard on the arms. Watch out for some of the corners because it's easy to fly off the trail. Downsides are the parts that are overgrown which in my opinion isn't a very big deal. The biggest downside is that to shuttle this trail you have a 25 mile drive all the way around the mountain to the trailhead making a shuttle not worth it. You're best off riding up trail 76 the whole way. The best parts are the variety of features added with the high speed and 99% downhill make the 25-30 minute ride down exciting. * Review edited 9/6/2011

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  • trailwinder

    this trail was sick. i went up crane mtn, and found the trail. there was a sign along the side of the road and it showed the trail on a map better than google earth or map quest or anything ever. so i matched it to google earth and rode the daylights out of it. its a campfire ring, with a gate past it just 10 feet, and then a long flat road for like 1 mile or 2, then it just drops off to the left, very fast and very fun!!! crazy bomber style. i flew off with the front tire a couple times, chill really really thin trail and off camber!!! tha best ne way go do this man. go do [email protected] and email me if you cant find it and ill send you my google earth pics.

    you could totally do this if you suck, but you couldnt keep up lol. i went like 30 or something down it all. ifyou dont have a demo 9 with a 888 you mite call this an easy trail, but at 35+ its a double black niqqua!

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  • AK_Dan

    This trailhead is right at mile marker 23, just about 8 miles south of Bigfork. It is signed Trail 76 all the way up to Crane Mtn rd.

    The first half mile is pretty rocky and fairly steep but don’t let that discourage you it gets less rocky the farther up you go and after about mile 3 it’s just a great singletrack ride through the forest. At .5 mile you will come to an intersection with trail 973, continuing right on trail 76 your treated too rocks, mud, some steep exposed sections and tight corners, all the things that make a trail memorable. There are many man-made props as well, several jumps, skinnies, and some up & overs, these however are set up for riders coming down the trail. The upper half seems to be less traveled and in some places is almost overgrown- its begging to be ridden!
    At just about mile 6.5 and 2000 ft of climbing later you will come out to Crane Mtn rd. Please note that at this end the trail is marked # 10222 and is very hard to see from the road (see photo). You can ride down the road 6 miles to trail 973 and 3 miles back to the original intersection. Or do this loop the other way although it is a very long and steep 6 miles up the road. I did not ride trail 973 so cant advise on it.
    I seen some guys doing a shuttle to the top in a truck but at this time I don’t have decent directions to Crane Mtn rd. I hope to do this again someday but it will either be a shuttle or an up and back down on trail 76.

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