18.7 miles
Distance
3,564 ft
Climb
-4,226 ft
Descent
1.6 miles
High Point

Details

  • Riding area
  • Difficulty rating
    Blue
  • Trail type
    Singletrack
  • Bike type
    AM, XC
  • Trail Usage
    Multi-use
  • Direction
    Both Directions
  • Climb Difficulty
    Blue
  • Physical rating
    Moderate
  • Season
    July - September
  • Global Ranking
  • Land Manager

The official name is the Bitterroot - Rock Creek Divide Trail, and when I looked on the maps it is also listed as the Easthouse National Recreation Trail. I have never heard anyone call it either of those. We simply call the 313.

If you don't have time for Sapphire Crest or can't manage a shuttle on the other side at Sawmill Saddle, consider an out and back to Dome Shaped Mountain. If the descent down Big Springs doesn't sound fun, the other option is seven more miles on 313 to Sawmill Saddle.

To begin, the trail tends to continue climbing with dramatic drop offs to your right. At 4.5 miles there is an impressive couloir descending to an unnamed lake. At 5.0 miles is the junction with Skalkaho-Gird Trail, which would eventually take you over to the Palisade Trail and Willow Creek trails. One day if we can get the resources for maintenance, it could be a fun option. For now be content to stay on 313.

The trail tops out on the top of Dome Shaped Mountain at 8650 ft and 6.6 miles. Before you get there, the trail takes a quick steep dive through some loose rock. Be careful. I got bucked off here, and from personal experience an injury here is not welcome. After the quick taste of things to come, there is more climbing as the trail becomes rocky and skirts a steep east facing bowl.

Take awhile to enjoy the views at the top and check out the Burnt Fork drainage, your eventual destination.

After topping out, the reward is mile of descending, another mile of relatively flat ridgeline, and the more downhill. At mile 10, the trail enters a recent burn, and if you are lucky the trail has been cleared, otherwise good luck. The fire burned all the lichen and moss off the granite boulders, leaving them a stark white contrasting with the surrounding blackened trees. The effect is surreal as the trail seems to weaved over and around tombstones and crypts.

Leaving the burn behind the trail begins climbing again, and a steep hike-a-bike awaits you for the last major climb up to Eagle Point. If you have any spring left in you legs, contemplate climbing the pile of scree to the top.

At this point the 313 trail has a complete change in character. It gets wider and the trail is covered with flat blocks of talus. Just remember the mantra, "Don't touch the brakes," and you'll be fine. Flat pedals don't hurt, either.

Access Info

Drive to the top of Skalkaho Pass

Local Trail Association
More Stats for Bitterroot - Rock Creek Divide Trail (313) mountain bike trail
  • Altitude change
    -662 ft
  • Altitude min
    1.3 miles
  • Altitude start
    1.4 miles
  • Altitude end
    1.3 miles
  • Grade
    -0.671%
  • Grade max
    -47.78%
  • Grade min
    42.644%
  • Distance climb
    8.8 miles
  • Distance down
    9.6 miles
  • Distance flat
    1,216 ft
  • view trail stats
Status:
on Jul 19, 2016
Dry
no votes yet

view (0)
close
Layers winter
Map Style
Trail Style
  • ?
update trails status or condition

Bitterroot -... Trail Reports

datedescription
Jul 19, 2016 @ 6:16pm
Jul 19, 2016
Lots of trees down (100+). I cleared 10 or so out of the trail with my small hand saw, but a chainsaw or a few larger handsaws would be needed...
view all reports »

Photos

more »
23 |
Jul 19, 2016 @ 6:26pm
Jul 19, 2016
Bitterroot - Rock Creek Divide...
28 |
Jul 19, 2016 @ 6:25pm
Jul 19, 2016
| 1 comments Bitterroot - Rock Creek Divide...

1 Review & Comments

  • + 1
flag mt-powder (Jul 19, 2016 at 18:42)
 This is an awesome trail that just needs some love. This could easily be one of the greatest rides in the Missoula area (that I know of..) It needs to be cleared of downfall, but beyond that a (volunteer?) crew needs to pick rocks and perhaps bring some of the extensive stretches of wide single track back into form.

It was clearly used as a motorized route for a long time, but being a non-motorized trail now, I suspect that the forest service would support restoring a singletrack character.

Anybody interested in doing some volunteer work, let me know, I would be willing to organize the work crew and discuss options with the local forest service office!
[Reply]

Post a Comment



You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login

Videos

no videos have been added for Bitterroot - Rock Creek Divide Trail (313) yet, add a video.
  • subscribe
  • flag
  • login to download gpx or kml files.