7 miles
Distance
938 ft
Climb
-2,584 ft
Descent
1 miles
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/

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Details

  • Featured
  • Riding area
  • Primary Activity
    Mountain Bike
  • Other Activities
    • Hike
    • Trail Running
  • Difficulty rating
    Black Diamond
  • Route Type
    Shuttled
  • Bike type
    DH, AM, XC, Fat
  • Direction
    One Direction
  • Physical rating
    Moderate
  • Ridelogs
    54
More Stats for MacDonald Pass mountain bike route
  • Altitude change
    -1,645 ft
  • Altitude min
    4,791 ft
  • Altitude start
    6,436 ft
  • Altitude end
    4,791 ft
  • Grade
    -4.67%
  • Grade max
    -35.938%
  • Grade min
    31.028%
  • Distance climb
    2 miles
  • Distance down
    4 miles
  • Distance flat
    1,291 ft
Avg: 5 (1 votes)
close
Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Groomed
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Ideal
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
Trail Ridden Direction
Trailforks scans users ridelogs to determine the most popular direction each trail is ridden. A good flowing trail network will have most trails flowing in a single direction according to their intension.
The colour categories are based on what percentage of riders are riding a trail in its intended direction.
  • > 96%
  • > 90%
  • > 80%
  • > 70%
  • > 50%
  • < 50%
Trail Last Ridden
Trailforks scans ridelogs to determine the last time a trail was ridden.
  • < 2 days
  • < 1 week
  • < 2 weeks
  • < 1 month
  • < 6 months
  • > 6 months
Trail Ridden Direction
The intended direction a trail should be ridden.
  • Downhill Only
  • Downhill Primary
  • Both Directions
  • Uphill Primary
  • Uphill Only
  • One Direction
ContributeDetails
Colors indicate trail is missing specified detail.
  • Description
  • Photos
  • Description & Photos
  • Videos
Trail Popularity ?
Trailforks scans ridelogs to determine which trails are ridden the most in the last 9 months. Trails are compared with nearby trails in the same city region with a possible 25 colour shades. Think of this as a heatmap, more rides = more kinetic energy = warmer colors.
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  • less popular
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ATV/ORV/OHV Filter
Max Vehicle Width
inches

LEGEND
Trail Difficulties
  • Access Road/Trail
  • White
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Black
  • Double Black Diamond

Trail Report Status
  • Clear / Green
  • Minor Issue / Yellow
  • Significant Issue / Amber
  • Closed

  • Land Owner Overlay
  • Wilderness (typically no bikes in USA)
  • BLM (public)
  • USFS (Wildlife sanctuaries darker than usfs)
  • State land
  • Indigenous
  • Military
Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Groomed
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Ideal
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
  • Map Markers
  • trail Trail Head
  • photo Photo
  • place Directory Listing
  • region Riding Area
  • TTF TTF
  • Parking Parking
  • Viewpoint Viewpoint
  • Information Information
  • Warning Warning
  • Directions Directions
  • Sight Sight
  • Restrooms Restrooms
  • eBike Charging Point eBike Charging Point
  • Water Fountain/Source Water Fountain/Source
  • Gate Gate
  • Trail Sign Trail Sign
  • Table or Bench Table or Bench
  • Ladder Ladder
  • Stairs Stairs
  • Bridge Bridge
  • Camping Camping
  • Cabin Cabin
  • Lodge Lodge
  • Bear Cache Bear Cache
  • Dock Dock
  • Ranger Station Ranger Station
  • Summit Summit
  • Other Other
      Trail transparency
      CDT Centennials part 2
      CDT Centennials part 2
      5:48 | 25 | comments: 0 | favs:
      Oct 1, 2018
      CDT
      CDT Centennials
      CDT Centennials
      7:20 | 37 | comments: 0 | favs:
      Oct 1, 2018
      CDT Centennial Mountains

      Recent Trail Reports Along Route

      statustraildateconditiondescription
      CDNST (MacDonald Pass to Switchback Ridge)
      May 28, 2020 @ 8:08am
      May 28, 2020
      Lots of trees down on trail
      Switchback Ridge Trail
      Aug 25, 2019 @ 6:45am
      Aug 25, 2019
      A couple big trees (12-15”) down on the high speed sections. Could probably be handsawed with some elbow grease. reporter
      more reports »
      • flag
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