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Tags:
Level: Intermediate
Length: 15 mi (24.1 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +682/661 ft
Total: 12 riders
 

Mountain Biking Little Blackfoot Meadows Loop

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#26 of 264 mountain bike trails in Montana
#1,421 in the world

This trail has very high quality singletrack, but that won't be apparent at first. Begin with a ride up the doubletrack on the Little Blackfoot Meadows trail (FST 329). After a while, the doubletrack will turn into singletrack, albeit wide singletrack. There is a bridge across the creek, after which, the singletrack becomes narrower and much sweeter. Eventually, there will be another creek crossing after which the singletrack becomes even better. The climb is gradual, with a few steep bursts, but nothing too tough. The forest is unusually lush by Montana standards and the singletrack is of consistently high quality--mostly firm packed soft dirt and pine needles with few technical obstacles. After a few miles, the trail will fork with 329 continueing right to Little Blackfoot Meadows. If you're not up for a killer climb, go to the meadows and turn around for a very sweet downhill. If you're in for the 15 mile loop with a murderous climb, take the left fork (FST 362 to FST 359). The climb isn't too bad at first but then gets very steep and the surface changes to soft dirt/sand which has been powdered by the equestrians--there will be a couple dismounts as you hit very steep, soft switchbacks. Either the trail has been rerouted or the USGS quad is inaccurate--don't worry; just follow the most obvious route. The trail gets very narrow as it sees little use. Ignore the branches to possible campsites. Eventually, the trail does turn back downhill. Here, it gains a few technical spots with one particularly nasty rock garden that will test your nerve and your suspension. Shortly after the rocks, be on the lookout for the Larabee Gulch trail (FST 359) that Tees off to the left. This will be a relatively flat, baby head infested piece of narrow singletrack for about a mile, then you will begin the descent back to the road--make sure your brakes are in working order as you will lose altitude fast and the trail has some sandy and off-camber spots where you'd rather carry some speed. The singletrack then gets real primo again--enjoy the plummet. The trail will then dead end at the Little Blakfoot River next to FSR 227 a couple miles from where you started. Unfortunately, there's no bridge here--get your feet wet, hit the road and ride back up the hill to your car.

First added by John Fisch on Aug 11, 2008. 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 Helena, head west toward Missoula on Highway 12. About 17 miles out of town/1 mile before Elliston--look for the sign for Little Blackfoot and FS 227 on the left. Follow FS 227--the first 3 miles will be paved. After another dozen miles, the Kading campground will be on your left. Continue on past the campground and turn around at the end of the road (horse trailer turnaround). Park n' ride.
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Little Blackfoot Meadows Loop Trail map

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britt ballinger (on Jun 18, 2017)
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(on Mar 28, 2015)
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Reviews

  • Andrew Hess
    *****

    Love this loop! We did this on labor day weekend and got rained on the whole ride and it was still awesome (the rain made things seem just a little more epic, we were soaked by the time we got back to the trailhead though). As previous posts have said, the trail must have been re-routed or the topo is just wrong, per the GPS you head further than the junction with the Larabee gulch trail, and end more on the ridge than in the drainage as the topo map would suggest, but the trail is always very apparent, and trail symbols (see pictures) are cut into trees along the whole way. The climb out of Blackfoot was not as hard as we anticipated, we definitely had to stop quite a few times to catch our breath, but the trail is ride-able the whole way. There is one junction at the meadows where you either go right to camp sites or head up out of the valley and the meadow that could throw you off (see pic), stick left and head away from the meadow here. There were bridges at all stream crossings but the last one right before you get back on the main road and heads toward the campground. We were both able to ride through the river and just get out feet wet. This is an awesome ride, and just long enough to have tired legs and a tired dog back at the car.

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  • jeffnwilson
    ****

    Fun. Good mix of climbs, descents, some techie stuff. Feels very remote. Stirred up 2 big bull elk on the singletrack and almost ran into a bull moose driving out on FS 227. Note - when you hit the last crossing noted in the description, follow the rough dirt road down to the left for a couple miles. Then you will hit FS 227 and it is 4.2 miles back to where you parked. Enjoy!

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  • John Fisch
    ****

    If you're in the area and want a great ride where you can "get away from it all," this is just the ticket. Long but not epic, sometimes techncial but never scary, some climbing but not too much to completely drain you, this is ride is just right. The only extreme is how lonely you may get out there.

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