Butte Batholith Route, Montana

  • Distance

    95 Mi.

    (153 KM)
  • Days

    3

  • % Unpaved

    99%

  • % Singletrack

    85%

  • Difficulty (1-10)

    7

  • % Rideable (time)

    95%

  • Total Ascent

    14,040'

    (4,279 M)
  • High Point

    8,405'

    (2,562 M)

Contributed By

Ryan Krueger

Ryan Krueger

Guest Contributor

Ryan grew up in Wisconsin’s northwoods where he learned to ride singletrack, but eventually headed for the hills of Montana where he currently lives in Bozeman. When he’s not lost on a bike in the Gallatin National Forest, he can be found drifting down a river in the wilderness or wallowing in snow searching for an untracked line. See more of his work at ryankrueger.com and on Instagram @ryankrueger.

The Butte Batholith Route is a 95-mile trail connecting a vast system of singletrack on and around the Continental Divide Trail—passing by the beautiful Highland Mountains and weaving throughout a unique batholith of granite boulders. This easily accessible route takes riders through some of the best singletrack found in Southwestern Montana.
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Nearby Butte, also known as “The Richest Hill on Earth”, is a classic Montana mining town that became one of the largest boomtowns in the nation in the late 19th century as a thriving copper mining town. While this route is generally remote, riders may occasionally view this characteristic town from afar on various high points.

This ride can be brutal at times, but the difficulty is always rewarded with rollercoaster singletrack and dramatic views. While the route consists of numerous miles along the CDT, none of these sections of trail are found along the popular Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, which takes a different, more direct route through this area. To access the start, head to the Sagebrush Flats Trailhead in Thompson park on the west side of Pipestone Pass (Highway 2) near Butte.

  • Highlights

  • Must Know

  • Camping

  • Food/H2O

    💧

  • Ride through the unique geology of the “Boulder Batholith” granite formations.
  • Follows along the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail.
  • Abandoned mining ruins.
  • Multiple long descents on smooth, top quality singletrack.
  • Incredible views of the Highland Mountains.
  • Rideable late June-September.
  • Early season riders may encounter impassable snow and deadfall.
  • Brutal ATV trail climbing exists near Delmoe Lake for ~3 miles.
  • Avoid the area between Homestake Pass and Delmoe Lake on holidays and busy weekends. Possible heavy motorized use in this area only.
  • Despite highway intersections, wild and remote terrain exists throughout.
  • Wild camping is available on the majority of the route. Leave no trace.
  • Flat open forests are ideal for setting up camp most places.
  • Pit toilets available at the beginning trailhead and at the trailhead on the north side of Homestake Pass.
  • No food resupply available on the route.
  • Limited natural flowing water available dependent on season.
  • Creeks flow in the early season and may dry up mid-late summer.
  • Ponds and lakes exist year-round, water quality is uncertain.

Terms of Use: As with each bikepacking route guide published on BIKEPACKING.com, should you choose to cycle this route, do so at your own risk. Prior to setting out check current local weather, conditions, and land/road closures. While riding, obey all public and private land use restrictions and rules, carry proper safety and navigational equipment, and of course, follow the #leavenotrace guidelines. The information found herein is simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. In spite of the fact that this route, associated GPS track (GPX and maps), and all route guidelines were prepared under diligent research by the specified contributor and/or contributors, the accuracy of such and judgement of the author is not guaranteed. BIKEPACKING.com LLC, its partners, associates, and contributors are in no way liable for personal injury, damage to personal property, or any other such situation that might happen to individual riders cycling or following this route.

Tags

  • Bert Schuh

    Nice!! Make me want to move to Montana!

  • Angela

    Is the quality of water questionable because of mining? Water filters/purifiers often don’t remove metals. It could dictate amount of water carried. Thoughts? Otherwise it looks like an awesome route to bring a friend and explore his own backyard next summer.

  • Ryan Krueger

    Hey Angela, the water quality is labelled as questionable on the ponds and lakes because they are stagnant. We did filter and drink from them, however. There has been significant mining in the area but I am not aware of any specific water quality issues along this route as a result. Thanks!

  • Andrew Wade

    Is that a titanium Hayduke?

  • Ryan Krueger

    @Andrew Wade:disqus Yep, it is titanium Hayduke. Rides like a dream.

  • http://nategines.com Nathan Gines

    Bears?

  • Logan Hömmel

    Of course, it’s Montana! lol. I’m from Montana, and I wouldn’t attempt any type of extended outdoor activity without either carrying a firearm or bear spray. Not only for bears, but lions, wolves…things of that nature. Best bet is to carry a firearm of substantial caliber (45 or 10mm auto) with two magazines. It might be “weight”, but that weight could save your life. I’ve known a few people who were failed by bear spray. Not worth the risk for me.

  • Vido Seaver

    Would this be rideable mid may?