17 miles
Distance
4,297 ft
Climb
-5,743 ft
Descent
06:20:25
Avg time
Trail Supporters, Builders & Maintainers of Ralph Thayer Memorial Trail

Details

  • Riding Area
    Whitefish
    Whitefish, Montana
  • AKA
    Trail #6
  • Difficulty Rating
  • Trail Type
    Singletrack
  • Bike Type
    AM, XC, Fat
  • Trail Usage
    Multi-use
  • Direction
    Both Directions
  • Climb Difficulty
    Black Diamond
  • Physical Rating
    Extreme
  • Season
    August to Beginning of October
  • Global Ranking
    #16634 in Mountain Biking
  • Local Popularity
    30 in Mountain Biking [+]
    • 5 in Trail Running
    • 5 in Hiking

A high alpine ride from Werner Peak to Red Meadow Pass following the crest of the Whitefish Range. This trail has potential to be extremely difficult, yet extremely rewarding all depending on weather and conditions. Pick a good late season day and bring a map because at times the trail is not visible and you need to follow cairns to find the route.

This is grizzly bear country so make lots of noise, be cautious on descents and BRING BEAR SPRAY.

When to Ride
Early season the trail is covered in snow well into the first part of July. There is a lot of overgrowth and brush on the northernmost section of the trail. The best time to ride is late summer/early fall. All the brush dies away after a couple of good freezes. Be prepared for wind, rain or snow when doing this ride later in the season.

Riding from Werner Peak to Red Meadow.
The trail starts at the top of Werner Peak directly north of the lookout. From there you drop down a fun descent into China Basin. This is a flat marshy area just east of the ridge where you'll pass multiple pothole lakes. At times the trail will fade away just make sure to follow the cairns and when in doubt stay closer to the ridge.

From there you will be faced with a series of steep climbs. Some are barely rideable or hike-a-bike with techy descents. There are 2 significant passes. After the first pass there is a hard left in the first descent. If you miss this left you'll fly over the handlebars about 1000 feet down through steep brush. After the first descent follow the trail up to the next pass which is the ridge above Haynes Pass. I believe that if you are following a forest service map here it is wrong. It describes a trail with switchbacks that drops to the pass. THAT DOESN'T EXIST. Follow the trail to the right and at the bottom of this pass there is another trail that comes in from the Coal Creek Drainage in the North Fork. Stay on #6.

From Haynes pass there is about a 2 mile sustained climb back to the ridge of the Whitefish Range. Most of this trail is steep but rideable the whole way.

Once on the ridge the trail will be visible most of the time but at other times you are ridge top riding and following cairns to find your route. This is the most spectacular and technical section of the ride in high alpine terrain with open ridges and riding through talus fields. On a clear day there will be views to the west and all the way into the North Fork, and Livingston Range in Glacier National Park.

After about 4 miles of riding along the ridge you will descend single track back to the upper Whitefish Lake Road. From here on the trail has the potential to be a brushy nightmare or late season it is a fast, flowy, and fun descent for about 3 miles and 1,500 vertical feet.

Access Info

This is a great ride but access is tricky without running a long shuttle or making it a really long ride. The road up Werner peak is steep and climbs almost 4,000 feet.

Shuttling.
Drive a vehicle up the Werner Peak Road, There is a pull out right before the gate. Park here, ride the rest of the way up to the Lookout. You can park a second car anywhere along the upper Whitefish Lake Road. It is mostly downhill to upper Whitefish Lake so you could park there but it makes a long shuttle. Alternately we park a car near the base of Werner Peak and ride the 9-10 road miles back to the cart from the trail end.

Riding the whole thing
This would be a huge ride that starts out with a 4k foot dirt road climb to the top of Werner peak followed by a 10 mile road ride out. Park near the base of the Werner Peak Road, Ride up, Ride the trail, ride 10 miles back.

Local Trail Association
More Stats for Ralph Thayer Memorial Trail bike trail
  • Altitude change
    -1,446 ft
  • Altitude min
    5,505 ft
  • Altitude max
    7,326 ft
  • Altitude start
    6,951 ft
  • Altitude end
    5,505 ft
  • Grade
    -1.635%
  • Grade max
    -80.48%
  • Grade min
    40.176%
  • Distance climb
    7 miles
  • Distance down
    9 miles
  • Distance flat
    3,573 ft
  • Avg time
    06:20:25
  • Avg reverse time
    06:08:14
  • view trail stats
Status:
on Aug 11, 2018
Variable
Avg: 4.5 (2 votes)

view (8)
close
Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • 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 Ridden Direction

The intendid direction a trail should be ridden.

  • Downhill Only
  • Downhill Primary
  • Both Directions
  • Uphill Primary
  • Uphill Only
  • One Direction

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 or Major Issue / Red

  • 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 Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • 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
  • Water Fountain/Source Water Fountain/Source
  • Sight Sight
  • Restrooms Restrooms
  • Gate Gate
  • Camping Camping
  • Trail Sign Trail Sign
  • Table or Bench Table or Bench
  • Other Other
      Directions to ralph-thayer-memorial-trail trailhead (48.577480, -114.432850)
      update trails status or condition

      Ralph Thayer... Trail Reports

      datedescription
      Aug 11, 2018 @ 9:14am
      Aug 11, 2018
      Quite a few trees down. The north end is mostly clear (and surprisingly not too brushy), but the middle section probably has 50+ trees down.
      view all reports »

      Recent Ridelog Activity on Trail

      Past Week
      • 0 rides
      •  
      6 Months
      • 4 rides
      • 20 miles avg distance
      All
      • 12 rides
      •  

      Photos

      more »
      272 |
      Nov 13, 2014 @ 8:27pm
      Nov 13, 2014
      Ralph Thayer Memorial Trail
      347 |
      Nov 13, 2014 @ 8:27pm
      Nov 13, 2014
      Ralph Thayer Memorial Trail
      292 |
      Nov 13, 2014 @ 8:26pm
      Nov 13, 2014
      Ralph Thayer Memorial Trail
      471 |
      Nov 13, 2014 @ 8:26pm
      Nov 13, 2014
      Ralph Thayer Memorial Trail

      Reviews / Comments

      No reviews yet, be the first to write a review or ask a question.
      Use trail reports to comment on trail conditions.


      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 Ralph Thayer Memorial Trail yet, add a video.
      • subscribe
      • flag
      • login to download gpx or kml files.