Ward Mountain Details
Most of the peaks in the Bitterroot are within the wilderness boundary. Ward Mountain is your only chance to ride from valley bottom to peak top with nearly 5000' of sustained climbing.
If your sole goal is riding fast flowy trail, you can stick to the lower third of the mountain where the trail is the sweetest, and it is a great afterwork option, but sometimes you want to climb until there no more trail; until there is no more climbing to be done. For those times unless you won the genetic lottery or are a member of the PED of the month club expect to be pushing your bike at some point.
So push on past the fun bottom zone, through the old burn and pedal your way up to the top.
There are no forks or challenging route finding issues. Find the trail and climb.
The bottom third has the highest quality trail, with a great grade for climbing and plenty of swoop of the way back down. Climbing to the burn can be a great post-work ride. Once at the burn, the trail gets steeper with some erosion and encroaching lodgepole on the edges of the trail. Until you are out of the burn there is a fair amount of hike-a-bike, and be prepared for fallen trees, there are still quite a few dead snags waiting for the next windstorm.
After the burn, the trail levels out temporarily until you reach Raven's Rock. Take a break at the overlook into Roaring Lion and Goat Mountain.
From here on out the trail slowly eases up on the gradient, but the top seems forever distant. Stagger to the top, ooh and ahh a few times. Take a selfie. Check the status of your brake pads and hope you have been doing your forearm exercise since you have 5000' to descend.
History & Background:
Ward Mountain dominates the Bitterroot Valley south of Hamilton and has the only trail in the range open to bikes.
Drive up Roaring Lion Rd
Local Trail Association
More Stats for Ward Mountain bike trail
Altitude change4,829 ft
Altitude min4,285 ft
Altitude max9,114 ft
Altitude start4,285 ft
Altitude end9,114 ft
Distance climb5 miles
Distance down2,364 ft
Avg reverse time00:00:09
- view trail stats
- Snow Packed
- Snow Covered
- Freeze/thaw Cycle
- Prevalent Mud
- Very Dry