Bike. Beer. Repeat.
From up on many a ridgeline in Southwest Montana, you can look down on human and geological history, you can look down toward culture … or shopping to restaurants … Or you can look ahead of your handlebars down a bike path of exhilaration. And a really good day.
The options are as dizzying as the hairpin turns and breathtaking descents that lie ahead. More than 70 miles of sweet single-track crisscross the mountainsides and ridges south of Helena; there’s even more to the east and north. There’s good reason the International Mountain Bicycling Association designated Helena a silver-level Ride Center — one of only 11 such communities in the world. Find trail maps and more at BikeHelena.com.
And Helena isn’t the only good ride in Southwest Montana:
Butte is the birthplace of Evel Knievel and home to some of the most challenging and rewarding trails anywhere: the Butte 100, a brutal race that features 16,600 feet of climbing over its 100-mile course. Less painful, start at the Thompson Park area, nine miles south of town on Montana Hwy. 2, where you’ll find miles of diverse riding options. And if you have a few days, tackle a stunning portion of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route that runs from Butte to Helena (and beyond in both directions).
We note also that Southwest Montana is becoming home to many a fine microbrewery and distillery — all worthy stops to rest one’s legs after a day in the saddle. In Butte, we like Quarry Brewing in the Grand Hotel on Broadway, the classic recipes of Butte Brewing Companyopperwild Brewing and its small-batch brews on Park Street, and Muddy Creek Brewing at the corner of Main and Galena. In Helena, we like to sit a spell at Blackfoot River Brewing Companyknown for its ever-changing lineup of beers, Lewis & Clark Brewing Company with beer and live music, or Ten Mile Brewery in Helena’s historic Downtown Walking Mall.