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Level: Advanced
Length: 6 mi (9.7 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Lariat
Elevation: +634/ -635 ft
Total: 26 riders

Mountain Biking Mt Ascension

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#30 of 265 mountain bike trails in Montana
#2,602 in the world

The ride up Mt Ascension is a lollipop, but the loop is at the bottom and the stem is the part when you turn up the Entertainment Trail to the summit. Go a brief distance on the trail from the upper lot and look for a slight fork. The wood chip path goes right and the singletrack, marked "Eagle Scout Trail" goes left--go left. The first mile is a wonderful, gentle climb. The trail switchbacks up the hill, but maintains a gentle grade and the switchbacks are flat and unintimidating. After about three quarter mile, look for a 5 way intersection. Take the wide trail/road on the right marked "Archery Range Trail". You'll know you're on the right track if you soon see a short, but steep hill. At about 1.5 miles, you'll hit a T marked "Entertainment Trail" Up to this point, this is a great place to take a newby as even the uninitiated/unfit can do this (except for the brief hill just mentioned). For beginners, just head right and follow the easy trail down to the road (one switchback may be a bit spooky for beginners, but won't stress anyone else). For the masochist, extremely strong/fit rider, or someone not adverse to dismountaing and pushing a bit, go left and begin the arduous ascent up Mt Ascension. The trail alternates between very steep and a little less steep, but not so much as to allow you to recover. Eventually, there will be a grade that is exceedingly steep for a good quarter mile and all but the superhuman will dismount, at least for a bit. As you near the ridge, the trail will veer left and follow the ridge out to the overlook atop Mt Ascension at about 3 miles. Return down the Entertainment trail (which is much more entertaining on the descent--your brakes will get a workout), ignoring where you came from on the Archery Range Trail; stay on the Entertainment trail all the way to the road and take the wood chip path back to your car or cross the road and continue your adventure by climbing up Rodney Ridge on the other side of the road.

First added by John Fisch on Jul 12, 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 south out of town on Davis Street. Shortly after the road turns dirt, look for a couple parking areas on the left. First is a very small one, then a slightly larger one. Park at either and look for the wood chip path next to the road.
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Jay Listoe (on Jul 17, 2019)
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Wet (on May 11, 2016)
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  • Jim Cummings

    I rode up and around Mount Ascension in quite a nice loop. All the trails up here are two-way shared trails which are generally light on technical features. They are popular with hikers and dog-walkers.

    Starting from the Beattie Street trailhead I started climbing on the Prickly Pear Trail (easy), then the Easy Rider Trail (an easy 4wd track - not very steep), then the 2006 trail (steep in places, gradient not controlled). From the top of the 2006 Trail it's a short ride/push to the summit of Mount Ascension for stunning views to the north over Helena. Then I took the Entertainment Trail which heads south for a while then swings round the western side of the mountain (actually a hill). The Entertainment Trails gets better and better as it goes. It's mostly down sloping. I loved the section through the forest in particular - semi-technical and nicely flowing. Next up was the Archery Ridge Trail (nice) and finally Pay Dirt which was a little more technical with some small rock drops.

    There is a trail called the Mount Ascension Loop which connects to the 2006 Trail and the Eddye McClure West Trail. I didn't actually ride it!

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  • Matthew Bonner

    Great views, tough climbs through beautiful environments, and flowing descents. This trail was a joy to ride and was amazing for being so close to town.

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  • Greg Heil   ✓ supporter

    Mt Ascension is steep on both sides, so you're guaranteed some serious climbing regardless if you attempt to make it up to the summit! There are some sweet trails to be had in this area, with a lot of short spurs and options, but I honestly enjoyed some of the other nearby trails more. Still, 4 stars is a solid rating :)

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  • elise406

    Great trail! First it's kinda steep then after a few miles it's somewhat downhill. Overall it's an awesome trail!

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  • Jared13   ✓ supporter

    This was the third peak I hit on the ride so the climbs felt brutal. However, I think that was mostly due to my lack of endurance, rather than a true reflection of the trail.

    The Entertainment Trail was definitely entertaining! The views of the city and the descent made the hike-a-bikes to the top worth it.

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