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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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