Upper Marshall Trails
When Five Valleys Land Trust called looking for a partner to build trails on a new acquisition above Marshall, we were happy to offer our grant-writing and trailbuilding expertise. With grants from Missoula County and the State Recreation Trails Program, in-kind labor from the City’s Open Space program, accessible contract labor from Montana Conservation Corps, and over 800 hours of volunteer labor from MTB Missoula’s own members, this project became a model for collaboration. We wrapped up construction on a 3 mile loop of public access, multi-use, bike-optimized singletrack with just enough time left to break in the trails before the snow flew.
hot sauce – moose chuckle
MTB Missoula loves technical trails, and Marshall provided the perfect terrain for some creative building. While our town trails will never be mistaken for those of the Northeast or Northwest, or even our nearby alpine trails, no opportunity to keep natural features in the trail was missed. If you love a trail that takes more than a few rides to give up its secrets, you owe it to yourself to check these out. Find the trails on our embedded TrailForks map.
Digging is fun and rewarding – that’s why MTB Missoula piloted the Trail Tuesday program while building Moose Chuckle in the fall. Organized, supported digging and maintenance on a weekday evening, with Big Sky brew afterward? We couldn’t think of anything better, either. Complementing our regular weekend work days, these casual events turned out to be some of our favorites of the year–thanks in no small part to a dedicated showing by the University’s Mountain Bike Club members. Needless to say, Trail Tuesday is back for 2017.
Sound of music and fenceline reroutes
MTB Missoula had long labored in the background, smoothing brake bumps, clearing trees, and advocating for access. But 2014’s Fenceline re-route was impossible to miss. A collaboration with the Missoula Ranger District and Montana Conservation Corps, the project replaced a huge amount of fall-line, rutted, braided legacy trail with benched, modern, sustainable trail that also upped the fun factor and trail length by no small measure.
Sound of Music
MTBM’s first major project built on a good relationship with the City of Missoula: this re-route of an old fall-line trail effectively opened up new singletrack connectivity. It provided a ride-able uphill route toward Sidewinder and the Woods Gulch trails while minimizing erosion and incorporating bermed switchbacks to improve the downhill return trip as well.
re-Opening neglected trails
The maintenance budgets of local land managers have been shrinking every year, to the point that it’s now just unrealistic to expect public agencies to be able to clear all of the trails on their land. MTB Missoula is proud to be able to help the Lolo National Forest keep these local gems open. Just a few years of missed maintenance can result in hundreds of trees down on a single trail–so much that re-opening becomes prohibitively expensive.
Our legacy includes the must-ride #1513 North Sheep Mtn alternate, the Ch-paa-qn Peak trail west of Ch-paa-qn Peak itself, parts of the Ninemile Divide which featured in our Trail Gran Fondo last year, and the Sqaylth-kwum alpine trail from the Four Lakes basin to Thompson Falls. This comes on top of our long-standing Cost-Share agreements to maintain the Missoula classics Sheep Mountain/Mineral Peak and Carlton Ridge/Mill Creek.
After securing a grant from REI, negotiating access, and contracting the construction of a quiet, electric, fatbike-specific groomer, MTB Missoula / FatBike Missoula has been busy grooming a fatbike trail network up Twin Creeks Road in the Gold Creek area.
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missoula xc uci race course
Way back in 2010, the Western Montana Trail Series broke ground on a pro-level XC course and annual event at Marshall Mountain. In 2016, the race was upgraded to the highest level racing in the US.
A generation of pro racers have come of age on this course. While the Women’s title has traded hands fairly often, it currently sits firmly in the grasp of Erin Huck. On the Men’s side, a young Howard Grotts scored his first big-time win here in 2013 and has held on to it ever since, proving his title as heir to the early dominance of Missoula’s own Sam Schultz. In 2016 Grotts represented the US at the Olympic Games in Rio.
On a local level, and despite sitting on private land, the race course has provided a focal point for the endurance community, with running, fat-bike, and snowshoe events also being held there. The Zootown Derailleurs youth cycling program often calls it their home field. We’re looking forward to maintaining this community resource well into the future.
downhill trail at marshall
This one’s just a promise: before the end of 2017’s riding season, MTB Missoula will complete the area’s first public access, legally built downhill mountain bike trail. Yes, with features.
We secured the permission in the fall and will start construction upon snowmelt. Big Sky Brewing has provided the funding. We know you’re excited, and we’ll be asking for your help. Sign up for the mailing list to make sure you stay up to date on this project. Also please consider supporting Five Valleys Land Trust in their tireless work to secure open spaces for all parts of the community.