The Trout Creek Canyon
to Beartrap Gulch
loop is an excellent opportunity to experience Montana backcountry riding. The ride features two scenic and fun trails connected by a moderate doubletrack climb.
Parking is available at the bottom of Beartrap Gulch
or the Vigilante campground at the entrance to Trout Creek Canyon
. Start the ride at either location.
Trout Creek Canyon
is steep and narrow. If a storm is approaching that could produce a lot of rain, it might be best to save the ride for another day.
Start at the bottom of Beartrap Gulch
and pedal up York Rd briefly to the bottom of Trout Creek Canyon
. Bear left to pedal easily on a wide surfaced trail.
You'll quickly get pulled into the canyon and marvel at the steep walls rising vertically from the canyon floor. The trail corridor narrows quickly and you'll soon be on singletrack.
The route bounces back and forth on each side of the canyon and alternates between lush pockets of green and open scrabbly trail. For the most part the route is in the shade, a welcome respite from the sun on a hot day.
The grade is steadily with a few short punchy climbs every so often. Towards the upper end of trail, the canyon widens and you'll be riding above a small wetland area.
Trout Creek Canyon
ends at a gate and the intersection with FS 138. Turn left here and start pedaling the road/doubletrack section of the ride.
Bear left at FS 4119
and drop down a short hill and through a large meadow. From here you'll settle in for the rest of a long climb to a saddle on the ridge and the top of Beartrap Gulch
Beartrap starts at the top of a ridge where FS 4119
bear right and around a saddle. Look for a large log in the middle of the road - the trail is on the left.
The upper section is a series of carving turns through large pines with occasional long runs of trail through open meadows. THe grade isn't steep, just steady enough to keep you rolling and having a ton of fun.
This section ends when it rolls flat across a short saddle and bears left to break out into the open. You'll find the biggest and best views of the ride here.
The lower section of the trail ducks back into the forest and whips through a series of tighter turns that bring you to bottom of valley. The ride finishes on fast trail through tall grasses.