“This ride combines two of the best downhill singletracks in the Missoula area.
— Alden Wright
Don't take the cutoff from Three Larch down to the Woods Gulch Trail--this is closed to bikes.
Dogs must be leashed close to the trailhead.
The southern portion of this ride, including Sidewinder and Sons
is closed from December 1 to May 1 for the protection of the local elk herd. The exact dates may vary from year to year depending on the location of the elk.
Starting at the Lincoln Hills trailhead, the ride climbs mostly on singletrack to the start of the fun, flowing, Three Larch #513.1
trail. Then you reverse direction and go down the ridge to the Sidewinder and Sons
, which is another somewhat steeper but not technical singletrack.
Need to Know
Watch for the steep drop-off on Three Larch. It isn't hard, but you probably want to look at it first.
From the trailhead, ride up the saddle road to the top of the ridge. From here, take the Sound of Music
trail up and over the ridge to the junction at the saddle. From there, take the most-used trail north to junction X on top of the ridge. You'll go through this junction on the way back.
Continue north on the ridge through junction W until you come to a logging road. The Three Larch #513.1
trail starts here. A nice flowing singletrack follows the ridgetop before it switchbacks to the south-facing slope. There are a few short climbs in this section. At about mile 2.4, there is a descent around a corner to the left with a moderately-sized rock in the middle of the trail.
Just past the rock, is a drop-off that you can't see from above. The drop-off is not hard, but first-time riders might want to look before dropping. The best way to do the drop-off is to go right over the moderately-sized rock. At the bottom of the drop is a short, steep climb, so shift down before dropping in.
The rest of the trail is easy, but don't take the cutoff down to the Woods Gulch Trail which is marked "No Bicycles".
The end of the trail is a 4-way junction with the Woods Gulch Trail. The uphill branch takes you to the ridgetop trail which can be followed up to the start point, or down to the Sidewinder complex. Or you can follow the Woods Gulch Trail down to the main Rattlesnake Trailhead.
Three Larch #513.1
ends at a 4-way junction where you do a short climb back up to junction W. Ride back to junction X, then stay on the ridgetop to the end of the ridge, which is the start of Sidewinder and Sons
Sidewinder and Sons
includes one somewhat tricky double ledge--watch out for it--you may want to walk it. You cross two logging roads and come out on a third logging road, which takes you back to the trailhead. The end of this stretch can be ridden fast.