14.6 miles
2,369 ft
-2,367 ft
1 mile
High Point

This 15 mile loop is a mixture of singletrack, doubletrack and dirt road and follows a decent portion of the CDT. I recommend that it be ridden counter-clockwise as this will mean you have more downhill on single-track.

It could be started from many locations, but the easiest place to start is from the end of Joe Bower Rd (as shown in this route) or alternatively from Joe Bower's Saddle (where the road comes close to the trail).

The CDNST Joe Bowers to Bullion Road portion of the route is all singletrack through some very beautiful forest. At the top of the descending switchbacks you will come to an obvious trail junction where the old trail continues forward and a new trail switches down to the right. This route follows the old trail down the hill, however it is possible to continue on the (very nice) new trail and meet back up with the loop via dirt roads.

After leaving Telegraph road you begin your main climb on double track. There are a couple of un-marked trail junctions so I highly recommend consulting with the GPS to make sure you're on track. At a post with missing signs you will take a hard left straight up the hill for a killer of a climb.

You will eventually be rewarded with some gentler gradients and some nice views as the trail traverses around the side of Mt Bison, before joining back up with the CDT and dropping back to the start.

From the sign at Joe Bower's Saddle: "This loop trail represents the vision of southwest Montana hikers, horsemen and women, mountain bikers and conservationists working together to build and protect a trail system along the Continental Divide between the Pintler Wilderness Area and offering quiet trails and open spaces for everyone."

Detailed Description
Bison Mountain Loop is a 15 mile less popular intermediate route located near Elliston Montana. This mountain bike primary route can be used both directions and has a moderate overall physical rating. This route includes 7 trails. This route climbs 2,369 ft with a max elevation of 7,663 ft then descends -2,367 ft.
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  • Riding area
  • Primary Activity
    Mountain Bike
  • Other Activities
    • Hike
    • Trail Running
  • Difficulty rating
  • Route Type
  • Bike type
    AM, XC
  • Direction
    Both Directions
  • Physical rating
More Stats for Bison Mountain Loop mountain bike route
  • Altitude min
    6,306 ft
  • Altitude start
    7,461 ft
  • Altitude end
    7,464 ft
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    7 miles
  • Distance down
    6 miles
  • Distance flat
    1 mile
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Recent Trail Reports Along Route

CDNST Joe Bowers to Bullion Road.
Oct 8, 2022 @ 5:36pm
Oct 8, 2022
As stated in the last report, the 1 mile of uncleared blowdown is about in the middle of this section and was able to get bikes around it without too much trouble. North and South ends are mostly clear. A big Thank You to the folks who help keep this clear!
Ontario Creek Rd. to Bison Blackfoot Trail
Jul 8, 2021 @ 6:11am
Jul 8, 2021
Bison - Bowers Connector
Aug 24, 2020 @ 4:28pm
Aug 24, 2020
Telegraph Creek Road
Nov 1, 2017 @ 11:24am
Nov 1, 2017
First real snowfall of 2017/18 reporter
more reports »
  • By MattinButte ATS HCC & contributors
  • #15254 - 1,024 views