Hands-down one of the top backcountry mountain bike rides in Montana!


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Mountain biking doesn't get much more rugged and remote than it does in the isolated Lionhead Mountains.

For a top-notch mountain bike ride that crosses this beautiful range from one side to the other, check out this point-to-point ride from Mile Creek to Targhee Creek. You'll need to coordinate your own shuttle to set up this point-to-point ride, but thankfully the logistics are quite simple.

The drive around the mountains is easy, and aside from short stretches of dirt road on each end, it's mostly a paved highway.

While this is technically a "shuttle," it's by no means a downhill shuttle.

You'll climb and descend a similar amount of elevation on this ride: a whopping 3,500 feet! The ride begins on the beautiful Mile Creek trail.

This singletrack ascends alongside the creek of the same name before heading up the steep mountainside.

While the mountainside is steep, Mile Creek features an amazing stack of beautifully built switchbacks that are actually quite rideable.

While you'll still be spending a lot of time in your granny gear, getting to pedal up the steep climb is a wonderful change of pace from the brutal hike-a-bikes that Montana is known for. After climbing the never-ending swithbacks, you'll cross a low saddle and continue left to keep following the Continental Divide Trail.

The climbing continues from here as you make for Targhee Pass right below Targhee Peak.

This beautiful pass is situated almost exactly at treeline—expansive vistas will open up below you.

This raw, wild beauty is what you've been working for—be sure to sit and savor it. You've also been working for the ripping downhill, and it's pretty much all downhill from here! The descent begins in the alpine, switchbacking through some challenging rocks.

It soon opens up, and you'll be blazing down the mountain on wide-open singletrack at top speed! Keep an eye out for the right turn onto Targhee Creek, which is well-signed.

From here, the downhill ripping continues at top speed, and the trail gets even steeper.

After ripping down narrow singletrack through alpine meadows, you'll drop into chunkier singletrack in the trees, with some bigger rock features, logs, and roots. Lower down, you'll begin to crisscross the stream.

Finally, you'll finish the descent on mellow, flowy singletrack. The downhill is over all too soon, but you'll be left with incredible memories of a challenging day well-spent in the Lionhead! **Note:** The Lionhead is renowned as prime grizzly bear country.

Signs at every trailhead warn that bears are highly active in the area.

Mountain biking is considered a high-risk activity in grizzly bear country due to the quiet speed of a bicycle and how quickly you can accidentally sneak up on a bear when rounding a blind turn.

To mitigate this risk, make plenty of noise while riding, try to ride with a group of people, and consider attaching a bear bell to your handlebars.

Also, make certain that you carry bear spray with you every time you ride, in case you do get into an encounter with a grizzly.