6.7 miles
722 ft
-2,333 ft
1 mile
High Point

Helena Classic

Four miles of the Continental Divide Trail lead to a locals' favorite downhill on the Switchback Ridge Trail. The CDT portion doesn't climb very much, but it is strewn with very challenging rock gardens. The downhill is relatively buff until the last few hundred yards.

Exit Highway 12 at the Cromwell-Dixon Campground, and drive up the hill to the Continental Divide overlook. The trail starts at the stairs. There is a gate shortly after entering the forest; be sure to close it behind you. As the CDT rises into an open meadow, stay left towards the trees to start the downhill.

During the summer months, Bike Helena and Vigilante Shuttles & Tours runs shuttles from bottom of Switchback Ridge up to the CDT overlook. This is a great way to do this ride, as it eliminates a shuttle run or a long road climb. The schedule is available at the Bike Helena website: http://www.bikehelena.com/index.php/trail-rider/

Detailed Description
MacDonald Pass is a 7 mile popular expert route located near Helena Montana. This mountain bike primary route can be used one direction and has a moderate overall physical rating. This route includes 2 trails. This route climbs 722 ft with a max elevation of 6,739 ft then descends -2,333 ft.
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6 Reviews & Comments

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  • Featured
  • Riding area
  • Primary Activity
    Mountain Bike
  • Other Activities
    • Hike
    • Trail Running
  • Difficulty rating
    Black Diamond
  • Route Type
  • Bike type
    DH, AM, XC, Fat
  • Direction
    One Direction
  • Physical rating
  • Ridelogs
More Stats for MacDonald Pass mountain bike route
  • Avg time
    1 hr 31 min
  • Altitude change
    -1,611 ft
  • Altitude min
    4,804 ft
  • Altitude start
    6,415 ft
  • Altitude end
    4,803 ft
  • Grade
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    2 miles
  • Distance down
    4 miles
  • Distance flat
    1,115 ft
Avg: 5 (1 votes)
Trail Conditions
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Trail transparency
CDT Centennials part 2
CDT Centennials part 2
5:48 | 63 | comments: 0 | favs:
Oct 1, 2018
CDT Centennials
CDT Centennials
7:20 | 65 | comments: 0 | favs:
Oct 1, 2018
CDT Centennial Mountains

Recent Trail Reports Along Route

CDNST (MacDonald Pass to Switchback Ridge)
Jun 29, 2023 @ 11:07am
Jun 29, 2023
Trail closed Summer 2023, possibly 2024 while Forest Service work occurs. reporter
Switchback Ridge Trail
Jun 25, 2023 @ 3:00am
Jun 25, 2023
A few fallen trees but also crazy fun downhill
more reports »
  • By evasive MBG & contributors
  • #1441 - 5,224 views