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Level: Advanced
Length: 11 mi (17.7 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +565/ -547 ft
Total: 17 riders

Mountain Biking Windy Mountain Loop

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#36 of 265 mountain bike trails in Montana
#3,010 in the world

The first three miles climb at a moderate grade with many stream crossings--you will get wet--some like to save this ride for later in the summer when the water is lower. After three miles, the grade steepens--now you're really working. The trail will veer right (south). At this point, look left and back up the hill for the Kirby Creek Trail. Follow it 0.2 miles and turn left (uphill) on the Marie Spring Trail. The grade will be tough, then drop quickly to a saddle, and then climb steeply again up the other side. Now, you're getting your first reward as you get panoramic views of the Highwoods Mountains and glimpses of the endless prairie beyond. At 4.7 mi. you'll pass by the White Wolf Trail on your left--keep going straight. At 5.7 mi. you'll pass by the Briggs Creek Trail on your left. This can provide a quick way back if you're tired. Although you've passed your maximum altitude for the ride, there are still countless short but steep climbs remaining that will require lots of energy. If you're up to it, continue straight on the Windy Mountain trail for your next big climb. After the climb, get ready for a great roller coaster section in dark woods--very cool. There are many blind curves--one is followed by a sharp, technical drop into a small gully--an endo waiting to happen if you're not ready--great fun if you've got the reflexes for it. Press on through what seems like way to many climbs as you traverse the south flank of Windy Mountain. There will be a dry, dusty, south facing drop from Windy Mountain to the head of Thain Creek--then the real fun begins. Once in the woods again, there is absolutely screaming downhill--hang on for a very fast, fun ride. Shortly after the downhill abates, you'll come to a gate. Go through the gate to a road and follow the road to the right until it hits the road you'll tale left, back to your car. This ride seems much tougher and longer than the distance or elevation profile would indicate.

First added by John Fisch on Feb 18, 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 Great Falls, head east on 10th Ave South. A few miles from town, turn North at the light at hwy 228 aka Highwood road. After 11 miles, you'll hit a stop sign--turn left (this is still Highwood road--straight is E. Highwood Road). 6.4 miles later, go right on a dirt road (upper Highwood Creek Road)(there may be a small sign for Thain Creek CG). Follow this dirt road for 14 miles through the Nat'l Forest boundary. When the road forks the first time, take the right fork (left goes to Thain Creek CG). When it forks again, take the left fork to the North Fork Highwood Trailhead.
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chuckpelley (on Aug 22, 2015)
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  • AndrewHall

    The trail is about 1 foot wide, it can get pretty steep, along with light rock gardens, and nicely built berms on a few corners, you can also get some air if you go fast enough in some areas. several creek crossings (only two have bridges). great views of cities around the mountains, and lost lake. beautiful ride and very fun.

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  • chuckpelley

    We have been here twice now, traveling from Alberta, Canada. Different seasons each time. Very enjoyable trail. Windy mountain is aptly named. I would recommend riding here.

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  • o2bsrfn

    this was my first "mountain bike" ride. Total single track, and total fun. If you live in Great falls this could easily be your 'go to' ride for any occasion. lots of true crosscountry style mountain bike riding.

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