Leverich Canyon, Bozeman, MT
For me, this was a classic case of overhype leading to elevated expectations followed by an inevitable disappointment. Leverich Canyon was touted as a triumph for the mountain bike world as a public/private partnership formed to create a trail designed to maximize the mountain biking experience. The trail is purpose-built for bikes and, while hiking is allowed, mountain bikers have the right of way. The trail is a classic mountain loop, climbing over the first half and descending over the rest. The problem is that the climb is very stiff, but not particularly interesting, and the descent is flowy, but also not particularly entertaining, having nice berms but lacking other interesting features.
For me, the fun factor of the descent didn’t warrant the difficulty of the climb. My unrealistic expectations were magnified on the climb as I rode past a group pushing their downhill bikes up the three mile climb… but then the descent offered nothing even approaching the need for a downhill bike. Why would those guys put themselves through that? In the end, I much prefer Bozeman’s rugged, non-prepared, non-bike-specific trails. Those beautiful mountains are better served by old school trails than modern flow trails.