This is a superb piece of singletrack. Itâ€™s a tough climb for most of its four-and-a-half mile length, but itâ€™s well worth it. Donâ€™t let the bottom half mile discourage you, youâ€™ll get past the ruts pretty quickly. Then its alternating rough and buff through a gorgeous forest. The first third is a good combination of steep and rugged, but all rideable, the middle third is more level and provides some recovery before the final third, which is the steepest and roughest portionâ€”most will push at the top. Once near the top, you will emerge from the forest into fantastic views of the Tobacco Root Mountains and eventually at Lost Cabin Lake with its stunningly clear emerald waters surrounded by a tall, rugged alpine basin. My mid-August trip still saw a sizeable snowfield at the top, so this one should wait until late season most years. The descent will keep the grin pasted on your face all the way to the bottomâ€”it has great flow and youâ€™ll feel the need to use your brake less than on comparable trails. Hope you were enjoying the scenery on the way up, because all youâ€™re going to see on the way back down is a blur!
This ride has a lot in common with the more famous Emerald Lake ride south of Bozeman. However, this is my favorite for the following reasons: 1. Less crowdedâ€”this ride gets the same traffic (of all typesâ€”foot, horse, and bike) on a weekend as Emerald Lake gets on a weekday. 2. Sceneryâ€”the scenery along the trail and the alpine basins are comparable, but the lake itself is prettierâ€”and thereâ€™s more wildflowers along this route. 3. You get to genuine singletrack much soonerâ€”most of the bottom half of Emerald Lake is pretty wide; not so on the way to Lost Cabin Lake. 4. If youâ€™ve got the legs and the lungs when you get back to the trailhead, the adjacent Louise Lake Trail makes for a nice, 7-mile add on with more fantastic scenery. 5. The aforementioned descentâ€”shockingly funâ€”one of my all time faves!