Tag Archives: activities

Roll Away

by the editors

Bozeman hasn’t always been a hotbed for mountain biking, but over the past decade, our trail systems have evolved to offer tons of options for two-wheeled enthusiasts, thanks largely to the efforts of the Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association (SWMMBA). No matter your style or what kind of challenge you’re after, you’ll find it on our local trails, from the rolling hills of Triple Tree to crushing climbs like Garnet Mountain and daunting descents at Copper City.

Where to Go
Bozeman has a bounty of trails. From beginner to expert, there are plenty to match your style and help you learn.

Beginner
If you’re a newbie, head to the old logging road up Bozeman Creek, also known as Sourdough. This all-dirt trail steadily climbs for miles with options along the way, but you can turn around wherever and coast effortlessly all the way back to your car. Note: if you take the left fork just before the bridge (about 5 miles in) toward Mystic Lake, the trail shrinks to singletrack and increases in difficulty. Next, check out Copper City. With its low elevation and drier climate, this destination is excellent for fall or spring riding, and has a huge variety of trails from beginner to expert, to help you progress as a rider.

In town, you can hop on the Main Street to the Mountains trail system at any point and go until the sun sets. Mosey along the Gallagator to Peets Hill, then onto Highland Glen where the trails are packed into a small area, and multiple figure-eights make for fun beginner looping.

Intermediate
Once you’re comfortable riding singletrack, head over to South Cottonwood. This creekside trail has gradual climbs, mellow descents, and loads of technical rocky sections to test your skills. It’s another out-and-back, so you can ride for two miles or ten, depending on your energy level and available time.

Up in Hyalite, the Moser Creek area has several options, all of which feature shorter climbs than some of Hyalite’s burlier rides like Emerald Lake. While Moser’s trails are on the map, there are some confusing junctions, so do some research and figure out loops that work for you.

Advanced
South of town in the Gallatin foothills is Leverich, Bozeman’s most popular mountain-bike trail. During the summer, the parking lot overflows with vehicles, so make some biking friends to carpool with. Leverich is a directional trail and is meant to be ridden clockwise, so you’ll take a left at the first junction. Then, climb a series of relentless switchbacks before topping out along a ridge. This is a good spot to take a break—there’s more climbing ahead. After about an hour of slogging uphill, get ready for a smile-inducing downhill full of flow, berms, and a few small drops.

For a true Bozeman classic, head to the Emerald Lake trail up the East Fork of Hyalite Canyon. The climb has several brutal sections, full of loose rock and steep grades. But your reward is an alpine setting rivaled by few anywhere. Even if you have to walk parts of this trail, the effort is well worth it.

Essential Gear
First things first: you need a bike, and it’s best to try before you buy. Most shops have a variety of rental options, and they’ll help you find a ride to fit your needs. Brand representatives often come to town with their whole lineup in tow, giving you a chance to demo and decide what kind of bike you want—cross-country, downhill, etc.

Bikes are expensive, so you’ll need to overcome the initial sticker-shock. That being said, as a mountain-biking mecca, our town runneth over with deals on gear. If you’re looking to spend as little as possible, start at a second-hand store, pawn shop, or the annual GVBC Bike Swap. If you’re willing to shell out for a new set of wheels, hit the bike shops. Remember that rear suspension is ideal, but expensive—if you’re a casual biker, you can save a grand or more by sticking with a hardtail.

Next, you’ll need a helmet, pack, and multi-tool for those likely mechanical failures on the trail. Plus the standard outdoor equipment: extra layer, rain shell, first-aid kit, and bear spray. Padded gloves are a great option, as are sunglasses. Total newbies might want knee and elbow pads until the awkward always-crashing period has passed.

Etiquette
With most of our bike trails designated as multi-use trails, save for the downhill-specific trails at Big Sky, it’s especially important to consider other trail users, whether they’re on foot, horseback, or motorized equipment. The general rule of thumb is for bikers to yield for hikers and horses, but use your discretion and pay attention. If you’re approaching a hiker, make eye contact as early as possible. There’s a good chance they’ll step off the trail to let you pass without interrupting your ride. If not, pull off to the side, give a polite nod, and carry on. Always give horses a wide berth to avoid spooking them; it’s best to stop early, and on the downhill side. If you’re traveling with a four-legged friend, make sure to keep your pup under control. Be prepared to clean up after your dog, and dispose of waste properly—not in a bag on the side of the trail. Avoid biking off-trail to limit damaging sensitive vegetation.

Events
There’s no reason not to immerse oneself in the Bozeman biking scene at the many fun events throughout the year. Meet biking buddies, enjoy a few beers, and talk shop at these classic get-togethers.

Ongoing
Group Rides – various locations. Several local organizations host group rides around Bozeman. Check out Alter Cycles, Owenhouse, Pedal Project, SWMMBA, the Gallatin Valley Bicycle Club, and Bangtail to get in on these fun social events.

Bike Kitchen Hours – Bozeman. One way to get a bike cheaply is to work for it. Donate hours to Bozeman’s nonprofit bike shop and your time could earn you a free bike. bozemanbikekitchen.org.

May
GVBC Bike Swap – Bozeman. Your chance to score sweet deals on used biking gear and last season’s models. Go early and get in line—the best stuff flies off the shelves. gallatinvalleybicycleclub.org.

June
Bike to Work Week – Bozeman. Commuting by the power of two legs is good for us and the environment, and it cuts down on traffic congestion, too. During this fun week, you’ll be treated to free coffee, breakfast, and beer at select locations around town, just for riding your bike to work. gallatinvalleybicycleclub.org.

June-August
Dig Days – various locations. Get your hands dirty and help maintain our trails with dig days hosted by the Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association. These events are a great way to meet like-minded bikers, and you’ll get to sample all of the Bozone’s best trails. southwestmontanamba.org.

July
Moser Shake ’N’ Bake – Hyalite. Choose either the 40- or 20-mile race and enjoy a combination of singletrack, double-track, and roads, with spectacular views. facebook.com/mosershakenbake.

July-September
Montana Enduro Series – various locations. If you’re serious about mountain biking, tackle some serious summer competition. Four towns, four races, plenty of grueling uphill, and always a wild ride down. montanaenduro.com.

September 24
National Public Lands Day – Bozeman. Before the season winds down, join the Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association for a day of giving back to the trails. southwestmontanamba.org.

Editor’s note: Dates are subject to change based on weather and other factors. For the most updated information, visit outsidebozeman.com/events.

 

Winter’s Delight

by Corey Hockett

Some of the greatest moments of winter outings come as anticipation before and ravishment after. Indeed, fueling up and winding down is a big part of what makes these excursions so attractive. What beats raising a glass with your buddies at the end of an epic powder day? How good does that first sip of coffee taste before a weekend road trip? These periods of transition provide your getaway with wholesomeness. And in Bozeman, where there is no lack of adventures to choose from, après (and avant) is no different.

Fueling Up
In winter, it’s hard to leave the coziness of the comforter and strike out into the cold. Get started with hot drinks and warm sandwiches from one of our standout coffee shops and delis. If you’re headed up Bridger Canyon to the ski hill, Crosscut, or Brackett Creek, hit Ghost Town for smooth-sipping coffee and a hefty breakfast burrito. If you’re eastbound on the interstate toward Paradise Valley, pick up a warm cup o’ tea at Townshend’s. Going west, you say? Fill up at Wheat Montana at the junction of Hwy. 287 and score a serious bang for your buck with a Belt burritos. The classic rendezvous locale south of town is Slider’s Deli at the mouth of Big Sky. Grab a coffee on your way through, or, if you’re ending the day early, stop in for a sandwich or burger before your trip home. Last but certainly not least: if you’re planning a half-day at Bridger, pick up a giant Pickle Barrel sandwich and chow down on your way to the hill.

Winding Down
Ski hills are the quintessential locales for après. If you’re wrapping up a day at Bridger Bowl, you’ve got options. It’s always worth having one (just one, if you’re driving) on the hill, and for this I recommend the Grizzly Ridge Station (aka, the Griz). We’re talkin’ $3 pints here. Of Olympia, that is; but let’s face it, you’re looking for something light anyway. Face Shots in the Jim Bridger Lodge is also tried and true. Got a designated driver with you? Have one at each.

If Big Sky is your choice of exploit, you have plenty of choices as well—just be prepared to loosen the purse strings. Scissor Bills is a local favorite. Amongst the mass of infrastructure, this homey saloon overlooks the base area and has plenty of room to spread out. Have a round by the window where an upper-level perspective grants great views of the base area.

Beers are fine and dandy, but if you’re itching for something with a little more zip—something that burns the throat and warms the belly—Bozeman has an exceptional spread of distilleries. Check out Wildrye in the Cannery District and Bozeman Spirits downtown. On the way back from Bridger, stop into Valhalla Meadery for a unique, historic libation to warm your frozen insides. If you happen to be passing through Ennis, don’t miss Willie’s on the main drag—their Bighorn Bourbon rivals any whiskey in the West.

Speaking of small-town spots, some of the most pleasant après experiences are away from the Bozeman bustle—wood-door saloons, old-time taxidermy bars, and venues with no dress code whatsoever. On your next trip to Yellowstone, stop in at the Antler Pub & Grill for a western Montana meal at its finest. Heading north? Hit Canyon Ferry Brewing in Townsend after ice fishing the reservoir. In Ennis, you’ll find great beer and delicious food at Burnt Tree Brewing, across the street from Willie’s.

These are just a few of our favorite places—there are plenty more. But don’t take our word for it, get out and try for yourself. The more places you try, the better notion you’ll have of all the options to suit your winter’s day. Bozeman is a mountain town, and its après reflects that. Experience it wearing your ski pants, laughing with friends, and repping a goggle tan—the rest of us will be out there doing the same.

Springs Break

Some like it hot.

by Corey Hockett

Soaking in hot springs, aka “hot-potting,” is a universal and timeless pleasure. Nothing beats the sensation of slipping into slightly stinging water, only to feel comfy and tranquil seconds later. Whether you’ve had a great day on the slopes, been in the library too long, or just have an afternoon off, these are the spots in which to soak your bones.

Lap of Luxury
For those into a well-developed, plush backdrop, check out these commercial pools for a luxurious soak.

Bozeman Hot Springs
Status: Developed
Access: Open to the public
Admission: $8.50
Location: 8 miles west of Bozeman

Courtesy_Boz-hot-springs2This massive facility recently underwent renovation and now has nine pools, both inside and out. It has wet and dry saunas, a fitness center, and campground. If you’re coming back from Big Sky or don’t want to travel far, this is your place.

 

Chico Hot Springs
Status: Developed
Access: Open to the public as well as to registered guests
Admission: $7.50 for adults; less for kids. Guests soak free
Location: 22 miles south of Livingston

KenDineen_chico_contest

Located in Paradise Valley, just south of Livingston, Chico provides two refreshing pools and an assortment of accommodation options for overnighters. Check it out if your family is in town or you’re looking for a romantic weekend getaway.

Norris Hot Springs
Status: Developed
Access: Open to the public
Admission: $7 for adults; reduced for kids and seniors
Location: 35 miles west of Bozeman

CourtesyNorris

This 30’ x 40’ pool is a collection of geothermal springs located near the Madison River. Dubbed “Water of the Gods” by the current owner, Norris has live music every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Added bonus: be the DD and get in for free.

 

Simple Soaking
If you’re the less-is-more type, or prefer nature to civilization, these are your hot spots.

Boiling River
Status: Primitive
Access: Unrestricted (Yellowstone Park pass required)
Admission: Park pass is $35 for single vehicle
Location: 2 miles south of Gardiner

KimTashjian-BoilingRiver

Just inside the Gardiner entrance to Yellowstone National Park, scalding channels mingle with the cold river water to form the perfect temperature for soaking—and this set of pools is only a half-mile walk from the parking lot. This gem is a must, but expect crowds.

Potosi Hot Springs
Status: Primitive
Access: Open to the public
Admission: Free
Location: 8 miles west of Pony
Head to Pony and travel southwest on Potosi Rd. / South Willow Creek Rd. Follow the signs to the campground and then venture the mile-long trail back down the creek to the spring. It’s not the warmest pool around, but it’s sized nicely for a group of 6-8.

Renova Hot Springs
Status: Primitive
Access: Open to the public
Admission: Free
Location: 10 miles south of Whitehall
Head south of Whitehall on Hwy. 55, taking the Waterloo turnoff. The road deposits you a quarter-mile from the spring, where you can bathe in rock-lined pools along a side-channel of the Jefferson River. The river mixes with warmer thermal water in two separate hot-water seeps, creating a variety of soaking temperatures. Check the river flow beforehand; at high water, the pools can get washed out.