Dip your toes into backcountry mountain biking on the Grizzly Loop


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The Grizzly Loop offers an easy entry into backcountry mountain biking in the Big Sky area.

After building your skills on the [progressive trails found at Big Sky Resort](https://fatmap.com/guidebooks/55196/ramp-up-your-riding-on-big-sky's-progressive-trails), you can take those skills out into the backcountry and start tackling the types of big mountain rides that inspired the sport of mountain biking in the first place.

Dip your toes into big mountain riding with the easy Grizzly Loop. The Grizzly Loop is just 5.7 miles long, and the singletrack is mellow and non-technical.

That said, this route still allows newer riders to get used to navigating backcountry trail systems and dealing with terrain that isn't bike-optimized.

Even though most of the singletrack is flowy and smooth, you'll still have to negotiate some fairly steep climbs, narrow trail tread, stream crossings, and the occasional rock garden. All the challenges are worth it, though, because the final downhill is ripping fast! You'll be able to blast down wide-open singletrack with a few flowy s-turns thrown in.

It's hard to believe that this small loop can offer such a fantastic finish, and yet it does. There are a few other reasons that Grizzly Loop will help new riders get used to backcountry riding.

The first is that this trail system is shared use and is heavily used by horseback riders and hikers.

The trails are open to motorcycles, too.

Be sure to read the trail signs about sharing the trail, but the short version is: mountain bikers yield to everybody else.

This is a great place to practice your trail yielding. On top of that, you'll have to get good at backcountry navigation through this complex and sometimes convoluted trail system.

While this loop is known widely as "The Grizzly Loop," not a single trail sign says "Grizzly Loop" on it.

Instead, you'll begin from the Porcupine Trailhead and link together a variety of short singletrack segments to create this loop. Finally, as you might have been able to gather from the name of the ride, this is 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.