Mt Bike Curly Lake Trail

8/8/12... Rode the Curly Lake trail in the Tobacco Root mountains of Montana with friends Robert and Luke. 19 miles, 4000 feet of vertical, 11 miles of ear to ear grinnin' downhill.  A trail not to be missed by any mountain bike enthusiast.  This is a very physically demanding trail made even harder in my opinion by lots of loose dirt and chunky rocks especially in the switchbacks.  I don't think I was able to ride through many of the switchbacks on the way up.  There was lots of pushing!  For some good info on this and other select rides in Montana check out the Beartooth Publishing Maps.  Well worth the money.


We choose to run a shuttle, which saved us about 5 miles and 1000 ft of up on a dirt road, kind of glad we did.  We still have 2 miles of 4x4 road to travel before we reach the Curly Lake trail head.  Here was our starting point.
One of many rest stops along the way.  This one on top of the saddle at our first little downhill before we reach Curly Lake.
Finally at Curly Lake, eat some food and take a break.  Maybe 1900 feet of elevation gain to here, about another 1500 or so to go before we reach the top.  Time to push on.
Still having trouble with the switchbacks but otherwise very ride-able trail above Curly Lake.  Almost to the top.  Trail goes between the two visible peaks and then back behind the peak on the left.  We are about 7 miles in.
 Here we see Luke coming up over the high point.  We are just below 10000 feet above sea level.
 Group shot.  We all made it so far.  Now the fun is about to begin.
 Wait, not so fast... We no sooner start our down hill and Robert slices his sidewall and pops his tube.  Did I mention all the rocks???  I guess one would be wise to carry an extra tire on this ride.  We did not.  Thankfully Luke had some Gorilla Tape which worked well enough to patch the tire.  Put a new tube in and we are back in business.

 A good look at talus field shortly into the downhill section.
                                                Robert coming to the end of the talus.
 Robert followed by Luke
 No time for pictures, time to ride.  This trail really does have it all.  Killer up hills, Tundra, talus, forest, rocks, sand, sagebrush, sick downhill sections, creeks, lake, rocks.  No wonder the guide map says "one of the best mountain bike rides you will ever do, anywhere"

19 miles, 1 probar, 2 cliff bars, 1 Met-RX Big 100 bar, 1 tuna fish sandwich, 3 litres of water, and 8 hours later we are back at the truck.  Did I mention we stopped a lot?

Back in Livingston and its hard to beat a Mark's In and Out burger for supper.


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