3.5 miles
Distance
8 ft
Climb
-1,937 ft
Descent
00:31:50
Avg time
Supporters, Builders, Maintainers & Land Managers of Switchback Ridge Trail

Details

  • Activities
    • Mountain Bike
    • Hike
    • Trail Running
    • Horse
    • Snowshoe
    • Backcountry Ski
    • Nordic Ski
  • Riding Area
    MacDonald Pass
    Helena, Montana
  • Ref Number
    #348
  • AKA
    Mac Pass Downhill
  • Difficulty Rating
  • Hiking SAC Scale
    T1 Hiking
  • Trail Type
    Singletrack
  • Bike Type
    DH, AM, XC, Fat
  • Direction
    Downhill Primary
    Popular direction shown
  • Climb Difficulty
    Black Diamond
  • Physical Rating
    Moderate
  • Trail Visibility
    Always easy to follow
  • Season
    June - November
  • Dogs Allowed
    Yes
  • eBike Allowed
  • Global Ranking
    #16555 in Mountain Biking
  • Local Popularity
    75 in Mountain Biking [+]
    • 5 in Trail Running
    • 5 in Hiking
    • 5 in Horseback
    • 5 in Snowshoeing
    • 5 in Skiing
    • 5 in Skiing
  • Land Manager
    USFS

The Switchback Ridge Trail is a locals' favorite downhill. It is relatively buff until the final few hundred yards. The trail follows an old road prism in some locations, although this may be re-routed in 2017 or 2018. There are a few 90-degree turns that can catch you unawares, so keep your head up. The trail ends on the west side of Tenmile Creek. You can either hop across the rocks, or ride a few hundred yards to the north where the creek flows under the road.

Please notify the Montana Bicycle Guild of any issues related to this trail.

Access Info

Most riders get to the Switchback Ridge Trail from the Continental Divide Trail: 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. Alternately, some ride this trail as an out-and-back early in the season before the CDT is clear.

Local Trail Association
More Stats for Switchback Ridge Trail bike trail trail
  • Altitude change
    -1,928 ft
  • Altitude min
    4,803 ft
  • Altitude max
    6,741 ft
  • Altitude start
    6,732 ft
  • Altitude end
    4,803 ft
  • Grade
    -10.5%
  • Grade max
    -51.4%
  • Grade min
    2.4%
  • Distance climb
    417 ft
  • Distance down
    3 miles
  • Distance flat
    92 ft
  • Avg time
    00:31:50
  • Avg reverse time
    00:00:58
  • view trail stats
Status:
on Aug 21, 2021
Ideal
Avg: 4.8 (5 votes)

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Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Groomed
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Ideal
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
Trail Ridden Direction
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The colour categories are based on what percentage of riders are riding a trail in its intended direction.
  • > 96%
  • > 90%
  • > 80%
  • > 70%
  • > 50%
  • < 50%
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  • < 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
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  • Description
  • Photos
  • Description & Photos
  • Videos
Trail Popularity ?
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Radar Time
Activity Recordings
Trailforks users anonymized public ridelogs from the past 6 months.
  • mountain biking recent
  • mountain biking (>6 month)
  • hiking (1 year)
  • moto (1 year)
      Directions to switchback-ridge-trail trailhead (46.520740, -112.293180)
      update trails status or condition

      Switchback Ridge... Trail Reports

      statusdatedescription
      Aug 21, 2021 @ 11:16am
      Aug 21, 2021
      Fast and tacky, but there are a half dozen down trees crossing the trail.
      Jul 25, 2021 @ 9:33am
      Jul 25, 2021
      reporter 3 down trees removed.
      Jul 17, 2021 @ 11:16am
      Jul 17, 2021
      One downed tree with a bypass near the top. Some dry sandy corners.
      Jun 5, 2021 @ 9:55pm
      Jun 5, 2021
      reporter
      MBG saw crew finished clearing the top on 6/5/21.
      Sep 12, 2020 @ 12:01pm
      Sep 12, 2020
      All clear, get it!
      view all reports »

      Recent Ridelog Activity on Trail

      Past Week
      • 2 rides
      • 9 miles avg distance
      6 Months
      • 25 rides
      • 10 miles avg distance
      All
      • 226 rides
      •  

      Photos

      more »
      17 |
      Sep 19, 2020 @ 5:15pm
      Sep 19, 2020
      45 |
      Aug 6, 2019 @ 6:57am
      Aug 6, 2019
      44 |
      Aug 6, 2019 @ 6:56am
      Aug 6, 2019
      32 |
      Aug 6, 2019 @ 6:48am
      Aug 6, 2019

      Routes with this trail

      titleratingdistance
      MacDonald Pass featured
      7 miles
      Freehub Magazine: MacDonald Pass
      7 miles

      4 Reviews & Comments

      • + 0
      danstone12 (Jun 1, 2018 at 7:49)
       This is unrideable due to hundreds of downed trees across the trail as of 6/1/18. The first mile off of Rimini Rd. is semi rideable but not worth the hassle since the upper section is also unrideable.
      [Reply]
      • + 0
      Sledge072 (Jul 15, 2018 at 13:32)
       June 15, 2018: Trail is all clear (thank you!) except for one tree across. Lower switchbacks at end REALLY suck though, too bad, trail is otherwise awesome.
      [Reply]
      • + 0
      Lowtech19 (Nov 3, 2018 at 12:35)
       This trail needs to be cleared of down trees.
      [Reply]
      • + 0
      EricJBell (Jun 16, 2020 at 16:16)
       About 90 trees down on the trail. Rideable but you’re going to be walking a bit of it.
      [Reply]

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