Bear Canyon Loop

Hey sportsfans, welcome to the very first Sklar Bikes ride blog! Spronsored in part by the  Sklar Bikes Department of Planetary Exploration (D.O.P.E.).  This blog will chronicle some rides around Montana and the rest of the world that we feel are worth sharing. So without further ado... Bear Canyon Loop:


Bear Canyon sits about 10 miles East of downtown Bozeman. The trails departing the main trail head consist of a main double track, a few loops and single tracks, and many dilapidated logging roads that make up a network of passages between different canyons and peaks South of town. 

 

 

I texted Mike just after lunch time, realizing that I reallly needed to go on a bike ride. With little to no planning, we met up around six and decided once we were driving that we would head out to the main Bear Canyon loop and try a single track that Mike had seen on a previous ride. I had never been to the spot - but hey, adventuring and getting lost are two of my favorite reasons to go riding.

For four or five miles we cruised up the trail. There was some solid climbing but lots of fun mini-descents and casual grades. Eventually we reached the top where Mike pointed out a non-descript trail off the side of the double track. It was perfect. Loamy soil, swooping turns... all the good stuff... or so it appeared.. 

It didn't take long for us to brake into a beautiful meadow (after navigating several downed trees) where we found the sun doing it's evening thing. I was leading this section and out of the corner of my eye I saw something move... it was a moose! Luckily just a bull, though it sat and watched us for a while before running off into the woods. We carried on through the grassy meadow as the trail grew thinner and thinner and gradually into nothing.

These kinds of rides are some of my very favorite . Shredding well maintained and heavily ridden trails is one thing, but getting to explore cool areas on your bike with your friends - it doesn't get much better than that. Plus the relief of finding your way after expecting to be out past dark... well you can't put a price on that!

We headed up the main trail which is a nice double track through the woods. It follows the creek, which we were relieved to find kept things nice and cool on a hot day. 

I don't get to ride with other single speeders much here in Montana, so it was nice riding with Mike (although he is way faster than I am) mashing up the nice consistent grade. 

 

 

This is probably where I should mention that this trail is on the map - there should be a trail there. By the looks of it, it was logged some years ago to be never repaired and rarely ridden. Mike and I carried on though, as excited as ever, carefully pointing it down three-foot-deep grass that covered up a bed of broom handle-thick sticks left over from the long gone logging operation (perfect use for the 29+ I might add).  Further on things opened up and we were able to book it through the barely visible trail which may have turned into a drainage. It was killer.

This was adventure riding at it's finest. 

Some 1,000 feet of descending later we were back on an overgrown logging road and heading in the general direction of the car. 

This appeared to be an effective technique until the road split into two. We explored both options only to find two dead ends. We may have worried momentarily, however some minor investigation  found that one dead end was not so dead. We took the grossly overgrown logging road and actually made it back onto the main trail, to make our way out to some more fun descending!