Overview: A Singletrack Paradise in Southwest Montana
Located near the scenic summit of Pipestone Pass, this 6-mile loop offers a rewarding blend of challenging climbs, flowy singletrack, and beautiful descents. As one of the best beginner/intermediate trails in Southwest Montana, it packs a lot of variety into a relatively short distance. The route also connects to other well-known trails, providing several options for a lengthier ride.
- Distance: 6 miles
- Level: Intermediate
- Route Type: Loop
- Location: Butte, Montana
- Connecting Trails: CDT, Pipestone/Homestake, Toll Mountain Canyon, and more
How to Get There
Navigate south from Butte via Highway 2. About a mile before reaching the summit of Pipestone Pass, there is a pullout on the left. It's easy to spot—just look for a white, adobe-like planter just before a switchback to the right.
Trail Features: What to Expect
Initial Hurdles and Scenic Rewards
- The ride starts with a brutal 2-mile climb. This is where the trail tests your grit; some riders have had to dismount due to the steep ascent.
Terrain and Environment
- Upon reaching the top, riders are greeted with delightful flowy singletracks and stunning descents.
- The trail crosses several marshy patches that might necessitate a dismount, or at least prepare you for some mud-battling.
- Though not impeccably maintained (expect downed trees occasionally), the trail adds to the adventure quotient.
Variability and Options
- The trail converges with several others, including the CDT and Pipestone/Homestake. For a longer outing, it can be easily combined with the Toll Canyon trail.
User Experiences and Tips
- The trail can get a bit snowy as early as the first weekend in October, so seasonal timing can add a unique layer to your ride.
Pace and Strategy
- For those looking to avoid the steep initial climb, starting off on the Continental Divide Trail offers a more tolerable uphill segment.
- For a fantastic afternoon ride, combining this loop with the Toll Loop comes highly recommended.
- There are upcoming trail developments in the area. A short section of this loop is part of the renowned Butte 100.
Conclusion: A Loop Worth Your Time
For riders in the Butte area, this trail is a must-try. Offering an excellent track with the option to extend your ride by connecting to other trails, it packs everything an intermediate mountain biker would wish for. With the initial climb as a rite of passage, you're set for a roller coaster of descents, flowy tracks, and awe-inspiring scenery. A high-thrill package in a 6-mile loop—what more could one ask for?