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Garnet Mountain Loop

Difficult
 4.0 (5) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Eight miles of road and ATV trails for four miles of beautiful downhill singletrack.


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Map Key

11.7

Miles

18.8

KM

30%

Singletrack

7,655' 2,333 m

High

5,429' 1,655 m

Low

2,290' 698 m

Up

2,290' 698 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

29%

Max Grade (16°)

Dogs Off-leash

E-Bikes Unknown

Features -none-

Squaw Creek Road will close to vehicle travel during the winter, but the road is open to snowmobiles so technically you can ride it anytime you like. Gates open along the road May 16th, June 16th and July 16th for vehicles. E-bikes are allowed on the road portions and Rat Lake Trail to the summit of Garnet after June 16th, but never on the Garnet Mountain Trail (85)

Overview

Turn off Hwy 191 at the Squaw Creek Bridge and continue south (upriver) on the Squaw Creek Rd. to the Storm Castle Trailhead. Find parking and start pedaling.

The trail will be mostly road until you get to the singletrack downhill. If you have another vehicle for a car shuttle, you can drive another five miles up the road to the Rat Lake Trailhead. If you're short on time, you can ride up the singletrack from the Storm Castle Trailhead. There will be a couple of steep, possible hike-a-bike sections, but it's worth the struggle.

Need to Know

No cell service.

Description

This ride starts out from the Storm Castle Trailhead. Travel up Squaw Creek Road for about three miles and the road will fork, go to the right another two miles, cross over a cattle guard and Squaw Creek to start climbing to the Rat Lake Trailhead.

From here, get off the road and go straight to continue climbing on an old forest service/logging road that is frequented by motorcycles and ATV's. Follow signs for Garnet Mountain Lookout until you reach the singletrack on the left that says Garnet Trailhead for the Garnet Mountain Trail (85).

You'll climb steadily for almost three miles with the last mile being the steepest. There is one section around mile seven that will have you begging for the granny gear. Fret not, its only a few hundred yards and when you get through this, you have four miles of downhill singletrack waiting for you.

At the Garnet Mountain Trail (singletrack) trail junction, you can continue a half mile uphill on the ATV trail to the Garnet Mountain fire tower. It's rented out nightly by the forest service if you want to make this an overnight trip (see their website for more details). The killer views are worth the trip, however, you'll probably be pushing your bike up more than pedaling it.

Back on the Garnet Mountain Trail (85) singletrack, you have beautiful views of the canyon, but don't let your gaze linger as the downhill is narrow with a lot of steep hillside and technical corners. There are a couple of spots that will have you opening up the speed with some sneaky, sharp corners.

Watch for down trees, pedestrians, and wildlife. Fortunately, there are no motorcycles or ATVs in this section. The fall colors are beautiful and the dirt is tacky. Enjoy.

Contacts

Shared By:

Jason Frounfelker with improvements by Adam Oliver

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 5 votes

#2118

Overall
  4.0 from 5 votes
5 Star
20%
4 Star
60%
3 Star
20%
2 Star
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1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#27

in Montana

#2,118

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2,430 Since Oct 1, 2016
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Photos

Spring Flowers and Storm Castle
Sep 17, 2018 near Four Co…, MT
Top of the climb, let the downhill begin!
Oct 1, 2016 near Four Co…, MT
This is along the Garnet Mountain Lookout Trail (85).
Oct 7, 2016 near Four Co…, MT
Garnet Mountain Lookout Trail (85). with permission from geogeek
Oct 7, 2016 near Four Co…, MT

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Check-Ins

Jun 23, 2019
Tim Radford
9.5mi
Jun 12, 2019
Eric Harrill
23.4mi
May 22, 2018
Eric Petz
Jul 4, 2017
Chris Keil
Trail is in great condition. Super fun downhill 11.5mi
Jun 7, 2017
Jade Elhardt