Mountain Biking in the Little Belts
Trails going for hundreds of miles, in nearly all directions, make this a bikers dream. The area is full of different types of terrain ranging from easy to expert level and can all be access only minutes from the highway 89. Find places that are hidden deep in the mountains. Place such as Big Baldy Mountain, a 9,000 ft high elevation ride through nothing but pure Montana terrain. Find bumps, jumps, rocks and sands to play in along the way to Big Baldy Mountain. Once you get there, you will find a lakes at the bottom of a giant glacier carved bowls, with gigantic boulders leading down. You can access only the top of the mountain with mountain bikes. We will soon have more photos of this amazing place and others hidden in the Little Belts.
King's Hill pass is a great way to challenge yourself on your speed bike. The top of the pass is 6,800 ft and the bottom is 5,600 ft. Going up can be difficult, and coming down you can get going very fast on smooth, well-kept roads. Heading north of King's Hill Pass you will find the town of Neihart, and Belt Creek will be to your side until you reach Monarch 20 miles further. Monarch canyon lifts you above Belt Creek for a while until after you speed down Riceville Hill, a 2 mile long, 5% grade hill where you join up with the creek once again. Follow the creek along until you reach Belt Montana, and then onwards to Great Falls. This is also a very safe place to ride on the highway since most people driving are driving slower to see the scenery, and the road does not promote fast driving.
View Trails in the LBA in a larger map
- Spare Tires
- Air Pump
- Bike Gloves
- Water Bottle
- First Aid Kit
- Bike Packs
- Extra Clothes
- GPS Unit
- Food & Drink
Motor Vehicle Use Map
Porphyry Peak (Showdown) to Ranch Creek Loop
Distance: 17 Miles Loop, 10 miles with shuttle
Elevation +/-: 2500 ft.
Tread Surface: Gravel Forest Roads, wide single-track with a few loose rocks, Highway.
Ride Highlights: Fast descents, great views and meadows full of wildflowers.
Share the Trail: The Ranch Creek road is open to motorized travel.
A demanding climb to the top of Porphyry Peak, but well worth it for the great views, the fun rolling trail along the Mizpah ridge line and the
fast downhill back to the Highway.
The ride begins at the top of King's Hill Pass on US 89, climbing up Porphyry Road (F.S. road #838, west side of highway) to the summit of Showdown Montana Ski Area. At the summit, take a well-deserved rest at the Porphyry Peak Fire Lookout, which offers commanding views of central Montana. From the summit, head south on the Mizpah Ridge Trial #780, marked by blue diamonds. The trail has several steep descents before traveling across the top of the Mizpah Bowls. At the top of the bowl is an Adirondack shelter, perfect for a rest-stop/picnic. Continue south across the clearings to the trail.
The trail re-enters the trees and side-hills around a small peak, emerging at the top of Ranch Creek. Follow the trail around the top of the clear cut to the far southwest side of the cirque, where the trail turns sharply to the left (east) and drops down into the clear cut. This turn is a true hairpin and can be easily missed. Enjoy the fast descent down into ranch creek on the old logging road (F.S. road #3423) to the junction with U.S. Highway 89. (Watch for occasional range cattle along the bottom section.) From here, head north on U.S. Highway 89 for a seven-mile climb on the pavement back to the top of King's Hill pass.
Dead Man Ridge Loop
Distance: 11 miles, 7 miles with shuttle
Elevation +/-: 1800 ft.
Tread Surface: Gravel Roads, two track, single track, Highway.
Ride Highlights: Views of Showdown Ski Area, tight down-hill switchbacks and wildflowers.
Share the Trail: Trail is not open to motorized travel, but all roads are.
Ride Summary: A good heart-pounding climb to the top of King's Hill. Then a gradual descent on two-track through wildflower-filled meadows and onto a twisting single track into the Dead Man drainage and back to Highway 89.
Start at King's Hill Pass on US Highway 89 with the mile-long climb to the top of King's Hill on Memorial Way Road (F.S. road #487, east side of highway). At the top, continue towards the southeast on Forest Service Road #781, which bears to the right. This trail follows the meadows along the top western ridge of the Dead Man drainage. The tread along this section can be hard to follow through the meadows, so make sure to stay on top of the ridge and be watching for the blue diamonds that lead down into the trees on the highway side (west side) of the ridge, approximately 3.5 miles from the top of King's Hill.
Once in the trees, the trail narrows to true single track for a steep switchback descent off the ridge. After the downhill you are deposited in a logged meadow. Ride across the meadow to an old logging road (F.S. Road #4402) and follow the road down hill towards the southeast. Approximately, 1/4 of mile down the road the trail drops off to the right for another half mile of single track, past a few cabins and then continues along the cabins' access road to U.S. Highway 89. If you've had enough single track, stay on the road until it connects with the South Fork Dead Man Road (F.S. Road #837), turn right on this road (downhill) and you will be returned to U.S. Highway 89. From there it is a four-mile pedal back up the highway to the top of King's Hill Pass.
Dry Wolf Ridge to Jefferson Loop
Distance: 23 miles, 18 miles with shuttle
Elevation +/-: 3500 ft.
Tread Surface: Gravel Roads, two track with some loose rock, awesome single track.
Ride Highlights: Great Views, Sweet single track downhill.
Share the Trail: Open to motorized travel.
Ride Summary: One of the favorite rides in the area, a good-heart pounding warm-up climb, rolling two-track across a wide ridge-line with amazing views and stunning wildflowers, and a 3 mile section of some the best single track downhill in the Little Belts.
Launch the climb from US Highway 89 at the top of King's Hill Pass up to the top of King's Hill, which sits across the Highway from Showdown Montanan Ski Area, on Memorial Way Road (F.S. road #487, east side of highway). At the top turn left, heading north on Dry Wolf Road (F.S. Road #251), which traverses across the rolling ridgeline. While several double track roads branch off, make sure to stay on Dry Wolf Road (F.S. Road #251) until the 10-mile mark. At this point, leave Dry Wolf Road (which forks to the east towards Yogo Peak) and take the left-fork, (F.S. Road #3300) which side hills around Tepee Butte for about .8 miles, before dropping to the Jefferson Saddle and the start of the Jefferson Trail.
The Jefferson trail is what single track should be. Swooping downhill runs, with some big switchback corners. The trail descends into the Jefferson drainage (west off the ridge) for 3 miles before intersecting with Chamberlain Road (F.S. Road #3328). ATVs and motorbikes are rare on weekdays, but keep your eyes open. From here, if you've set up a shuttle at the bottom of Jefferson Road, take a right and a quarter mile later a turn to the left and follow Jefferson Road (F.S. Road #267) for five miles out to intersect with U.S. Highway 89 (just keep heading downhill).
Those without a shuttle can take Chamberlain Road (F.S. Road #3328) to the left (south) back up towards King's Hill Pass. After 6.5 miles you will intersect with U.S. Highway 89. Keep at eye out for the connector trails on the left (east side of highway) to take you the last two miles up to the top of the pass without having to pedal up the pavement.
Little Belt Service Directory
|Belt Valley Grocery||65 Castner St.,Belt||406.277.3523|
|Bob's Place||316 N. Main St.||406.236.5955|
|Cub's Den||5012 US HWY 89, Monarch||406.236.5922|
|Harvest Moon Brewery||75th St., Belt||406.277.3188|
|Lazy Doe||4850 US HWY 89, Monarch||406.236.5439|
|Neihart Inconvenience Store||208 N. Main St.||406.236.5505|
|Pizza Pro||2 Valley Dr., Belt||406.277.3245|
|Ranches at Belt Creek||277 Armington Rd, Belt||406.750.2361|
|RWL Associates Marketing||631 N. Main St.||406.236.5547|
|Showdown Montana||2850 S., HWY 89||406.236.5522|
|All Seasons Inn & Suites||808 3rd Ave SW||406.547.8888|
|Arrowhead Golf Course||397 Mt Highway 360||406.547.3993|
|Avalanche Basin Outfitters||P.O. Box 17||406.547.3962|
|Bair Museum||2751 Mt. HWY 294, Martinsdale||406.572.3314|
|Bank of the Rockies||205 W. Main||406.547.3335|
|Bodie Morrison Artwork||http://www.littlecabinarts.com/||406.546.0809|
|Branding Iron Cafe||307 3rd Ave. SW||406.547.3894|
|Castle Mountain Drug||25 E. Main||406.547.2316|
|Castle Mountain Sports||105 W. Main||406.547.2330|
|Conestoga Campground||815 8th Ave. SW||406.547.3890|
|Cougar Merc.||14 S. Central Ave||406.547.3522|
|Crazy Mountain Inn||110 Main Street, Martinsdale||406.572.3307|
|Dempsey's Tavern||24 E. Main||406.547.2299|
|Dutton State Bank||P.O. Box 569||406.547.3265|
|Edward's Grocery||4261 US HWY 12 E||406.547.3731|
|Grandma's Antiques||201 Main E.||406.547.3798|
|Iceberg Construction||804 1st Ave. SE||406.547.2146|
|Jimmy the Geek Photo||P.O. Box 631||406.547.3772|
|Mathis Food Farm||106 Mayn Rd||406.547.3512|
|Meagher Motor||202 Main E||406.547.3306|
|Medical Center||16 West Main||406.547.3321|
|Montana Roadhouse||904 3rd Ave. SW||406.547.3638|
|Red Ants Pants||206 E. Main||406.547.3781|
|Spa Hot Springs Motel||202 W. Main||406.547.3366|
|Springs Campground Inc.||1004 W. Main||406.547.3982|
|Stageline Pizza and Movie Theater||210 E. Main||406.547.3505|
|Stockman Bar||117 Mayn Rd.||406.547.9985|
|Tenderfoot Motel||301 W. Main St.||406.547.3303|
|The Castle||310 2nd Ave. NE||406.547.2324|
|The Garden Shop||302 W. South St.||406.547.3822|
|The Mint Bar||27 E. Main||406.547.9986|
|Town Pump||309 Main||406.547.3310|
|Truck Stop Cafe||511 East Main||406.547.3825|
|Van Oil||12 W. Main||406.547.9998|
|3-D Archery Supply||775 Couch Ave., Vaughn||406.965.3236|
|Amigo Lounge||1200 7th St. S.||406.761.1195|
|Bert and Ernie's Tavern and Grill||300 1st Ave. S.||406.453.0601|
|Big Bear||121 Northwest Bypass||406.761.6400|
|Big Mouth BBQ||1720 10th Ave. S.||406.727.7095|
|Bighorn Wilderness||206 5th St. S.||406.453.2841|
|Breaks||202 2nd Ave. S #103||406.453.5980|
|Broken Arrow Saddlery||15 Diamond Lane||406.454.1821|
|Central Bike and Key||705 Central Ave.||406.453.8702|
|Children's Museum||22 Railroad Sq.||406.452.6661|
|Dante's Creative Cuisine||1325 8th Ave. N.||406.453.9599|
|Great Falls International Airport||2800 Terminal Drive||406.727.3404|
|Holiday Inn||400 10th Ave. S.||406.727.7200|
|Jaker's Restaurant||1500 10th Ave. S.||406.727.1033|
|Knicker Biker||117 2nd Ave. N.||406.454.2912|
|KOA Campground||1500 51st St. S. #1||406.727.3191|
|Lewis & Clark Int. Center||4201 Giant Springs Rd.#2||406.791.7732|
|MacKenzie River Pizza||500 River Dr. S.||406.761.0085|
|Ricki's Pizza and Pasta||1220 9th St. S.||406.761.8052|
|Scheels||1200 10th Ave. S.||406.453.7666|
|Skier's Edge Pro Shop||1510 9th St. S.||406.727.3955|
|Steve's Sports Center||4700 9th Ave. S.||406.727.8606|
|Sting Sports Bar/Grill/Casino||1826 10th Ave. S.||406.727.7972|
|Tap House Grill||220 Central Ave.||406.216.2700|
|The Hilton||2520 14th St. SW||406.452.1000|
|Townhouse Inns||1411 10th Ave. S.||406.761.4600|
|Zumiez||1200 10th Ave. S||406.454.1595|