The Herron Overlook Loops
ElevationAscent: 1,770' 540 m
Descent: -1,771' -540 m
High: 4,596' 1,401 m
Low: 3,342' 1,019 m
GradeAvg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 21% (12°)
Current trail conditions
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“This route uses both of Herron's great singletrack overlooks and descents on Chase and Notch trails.”— matt hoyne
Notch trail can be especially busy on weekends and late weekday evenings with hikers, off leash dogs, and riders climbing the trail. Use caution on the descent and be sure to yield when appropriate. The Chase trail is less crowded but does get the occasional horseback rider.
You are now on the Direct Route and it has a few spurs. First you'll pass a trail on the right-hand side which continues the Direct Route. After continuing straight, you'll immediately pass the intersection with the Horse Trail on your left, stay straight. About 50m more and you'll pass a spur from the Horse Trail on your right which connects to the Plum Creek Trail, skip this one too and continue straight.
After continuing down Horse Trail you'll enjoy a quick descent and then begin another brief climb as the trail doglegs to the right. You'll pass another unmarked (one of the few) spur on the right which is useless. After another 100m you'll intersect with a marked logging road, turn left and continue until the road switches back up the hill about 10m before you hit a steel gate.
At this point the real climb begins, about 2.5miles. Take the switchback, which intersects with Plum Creek Trail. Hang a hard left and keep going about 150m. From here until just prior to the Chase overlook you'll be climbing a logging road with a manageable grade. You'll pass the Chase Trail twice, first about 200m after turning onto Plum Creek, and the second time as you reach the final push up the last mile to the overlook.
After you pass the Chase Trail for the second time you continue up the logging road for another half mile and then it turns to some tight, steep singletrack for the final half-mile. There are five switchbacks and the grade does reach about 15% in a few spots. Most riders find this section to be a tough one. At the top you'll find a the trail T's and loops around the overlook, take either direction, there is a great spot to rest on the north side.
Descend the same way you came until you hit the Chase Trail on your left, don't skip it this time. Chase as a descent it short but fast and rolling with some sharp switchbacks. After clearing the first set of turns, you'll ride through a small clearing and then enter the second set. Use caution your first time, the turns are very tight and the last one is very steep. You cruise through some flowing trail which winds around a few rocks and roots and shoot out on the Plum Creek Trail.
Stay on Plum Creek, back the way you came, for a half mile. You'll make a fast descent and then a short climb to an intersection with more doubletrack on your left. Turn here and begin another long climb to the Notch Overlook. In a half-mile, your doubletrack is joined by the Overlook Trail on your right, continue straight ahead. In 100m, the trail T's with Overlook to the left and a connector to Notch Trail to your right, stay left and enjoy some great switch back climbing up to the overlook. The top of the overlook loops with some benches and tables to stop and rest. Exit on the opposite side, you entered and continue until you find the entrance to Notch on your left.
Notch is almost 2 miles of great descending. The first section has a few technical rocks to navigate, but none of them are difficult. The turns are tight so if you arent familiar and dont watch your speed you could miss a few and end up in the woods. Just keep heading down until you intersect with more doubletrack. Take a hard right and head downhill 100m keeping an eye open for a signed, left-hand turn with more singletrack. This section whips you around a quick right-hand turn and spits you out back on the doubletrack before a very quick left-hand turn to continue down lower Notch. Hold on and pedal hard, the parking lot awaits.
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Land Manager: Flathead County, MT - Parks and Recreation