Bicycling Magazine

Bozeman, MT: Battle Ridge Pass via Bridger Canyon Road 

Pedal past pristine mountain scenes on this 42.5-mile ride that climbs through Bridger Canyon to the top of Battle Ridge Pass.

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Author: Bicycling Magazine
Date: 7 Oct 2008 3:28:06 PM
Activity: Bicycling
State: Montana (MT)
Distance: 42.48 mi  (Change units)
Survey Elevation: Total Gain: 3446 ft
Total Loss: 3447 ft
Net Change: -1 ft
Difficulty: 7 / 10
Tags: Bozeman, Bridger Canyon, Bridger Mountains, Montana
Rating:   3 rating(s) Rate it

This 42.5-mile out-and-back explores Bozeman's Bridger Canyon, a favorite outdoor escape for road and mountain bikers, hikers, fisherman, and skiers. Leave Bozeman heading north on Rouse Avenue/Bridger Canyon Road. The ride starts out with a few mild hills and a gradual uphill grade. Although traffic can be busy near town, there's an adequate shoulder from the "M" parking area to Bridger Bowl Ski Area. (Traffic usually thins out as the road narrows, but watch for potholes and other rough spots.)

As you move through the canyon—and the climbing gets harder—the majestic peaks and ridgeline of the Bridger Mountains come into view. After passing Bridger Bowl and Bohart Ranch Cross Country Ski Area, enjoy a 1.8-mile downhill spin to Brackett Creek, where the final climb to Battle Ridge Pass begins. (The climb up the pass will keep you pumping for roughly 2 miles.) At the top of the pass, stretch your legs and refill your water at the Battle Ridge Campground, then turn around for more spectacular Bridger Canyon scenery on the return trip to Bozeman.

-Mapped by Jason Karp

TO TRAILHEAD: Take East Main Street in Bozeman to the Lindley Park parking area on Buttonwood Avenue.

Position Format: Datum:

Battle Ridge Pass via Bridger Canyon

Distance: 42.48 mi Points: 1170
Total Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
# Distance Instruction Distance to next
1 0.00 mi Start - Ride north on Buttonwood Ave. Then go 0.18 mi
2 0.18 mi Turn Left - Main St./US 191 Then go 0.05 mi
3 0.23 mi Turn Right - Broadway Ave. Then go 0.37 mi
4 0.60 mi Turn Left - Avacado St. Then go 0.10 mi
5 0.69 mi Straight - Peach St. Then go 0.06 mi
6 0.75 mi Turn Right - Ida Ave. Then go 0.18 mi
7 0.93 mi Turn Left - Front St. Then go 0.03 mi
8 0.96 mi Turn Left - Tamarack St. Then go 0.22 mi
9 1.18 mi Turn Right - Rouse Ave./Bridge Canyon Rd. Then go 18.13 mi
10 19.31 mi Bear Left - Bridger Canyon Rd. Then go 1.90 mi
11 21.22 mi Turn Right - Road to Battle Ridge Campground Then go 0.02 mi
12 21.23 mi U-Turn - Road to Battle Ridge Campground Then go 0.02 mi
13 21.25 mi Turn Left - Bridger Canyon Rd. Then go 1.89 mi
14 23.14 mi Bear Right - Bridger Canyon Rd. Then go 18.14 mi
15 41.28 mi Turn Left - Tamarack St. Then go 0.23 mi
16 41.51 mi Turn Right - Front St. Then go 0.03 mi
17 41.54 mi Turn Right - Ida Ave. Then go 0.18 mi
18 41.71 mi Turn Left - Peach St. Then go 0.07 mi
19 41.78 mi Straight - Avacado St. Then go 0.08 mi
20 41.87 mi Turn Right - Broadway Ave. Then go 0.38 mi
21 42.25 mi Turn Left - Main St./US 191 Then go 0.05 mi
22 42.30 mi Turn Right - Buttonwood Ave. Then go 0.18 mi
23 42.48 mi Stop -

Points of Interest

Bridger Ridge

Location: 45.808430, -110.882820
In fall, the aspen groves below the Bridger Mountains turn brilliant shades of yellow. The Bridger Ridge Run, a grueling 20-mile race that attracts runners from all over the country, starts at Fairy Lake and travels the length of the ridge to the "M". © Jason Karp

Start/End: Lindley Park

Location: 45.676754, -111.024780
Start and finish the ride in Lindley Park (just off E. Main Street in Bozeman). Lindley Park is home to Bozeman's Sweet Pea Festival held in late July and early August. © Jason Karp

East Peach Street

Location: 45.685677, -111.025818
Ride past 3 metal bike sculptures placed on top of a roof at the east end of Peach Street. © Jason Karp

The Daily Coffee Bar

Location: 45.691521, -111.031693
The Daily Coffee Bar is a good place to get a shot of caffeine to start the ride, or a nice place to relax on the way back.

Panda C-Store

Location: 45.701233, -111.028862
This is the last chance to buy supplies along this route. Ahead, the road curves to the east and becomes Bridger Canyon Road.

The "M"

Location: 45.708878, -110.977623
For those cyclists wanting to avoid the heavier traffic around Bozeman, the trailhead beneath the "M" is a good place to start. The 245-foot "M" on Old Baldy, formed with limestone and boulders, was created in the spring of 1916 by students from Montana State College (now called Montana State University). There's parking and restroom facilities at this popular hiking area.

Hay Meadow

Location: 45.733025, -110.907753
A beautiful green field near Jackson Creek Road in the lower portion of Bridger Canyon. © Jason Karp

Jackson Creek Road

Location: 45.735924, -110.904076
Another nice ride option is to take the lightly-traveled Jackson Creek Road out of the Bridger Creek drainage. After a steep little climb, you'll drop down to the foot of Bozeman Pass at the Jackson Creek Road I-90 interchange. This route allows cyclists to get to Livingston and Paradise Valley without having to use I-90. Blazing Saddles, a fun charity ride that starts in Livingston, uses this route to get to Battle Ridge Pass via Bridger Canyon before heading back to Livingston through the Shields River Valley.

Bridger Bowl Ski Area

Location: 45.816631, -110.883453
Bridger Bowl Ski Area is Bozeman's community ski hill. Unlike the two other ski areas near Bozeman, Big Sky and Moon Light Basin, Bridger doesn't have the resort amenities, which is just fine with the locals. © Jason Karp

Bohart Ranch Cross Country Ski Center

Location: 45.827454, -110.883594
Bohart Ranch offers nearly 17 miles of groomed trails. In the summer, the facility hosts the Bohart Bash, one of the biggest mountain bike races in Montana. © Jason Karp


Location: 45.832836, -110.883207
After climbing for 15.5 miles, the road descends 1.8 miles to Brackett Creek.

Final Climb

Location: 45.858217, -110.881705
The final climb to Brackett Creek starts here. You'll gain 572 feet of elevation in the next 2 miles.

Brackett Creek

Location: 45.859760, -110.883285
As the road starts to climb to Battle Ridge Pass, look to the left (west) for amazing views of aspen groves and the back side of Ross Peak. © Jason Karp

Almost There

Location: 45.881794, -110.882088
The sweetest sign in all of cycling: When you see this road sign, you're almost to the top. © Jason Karp

Battle Ridge Pass

Location: 45.882790, -110.881630
Battle Ridge Pass (6,372 ft.): Turn right onto the road to Battle Ridge Campground. This short, but rough gravel road leads to water and the campground's restrooms. Stretch your legs, then get back on the saddle for the 21.2-mile ride back to Bozeman. Extra mileage: Cyclists can opt to extend the ride by descending the opposite side of Battle Ridge into the Shields River Valley. © Jason Karp


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