- Find a Trail
- My TrailLink
- Explore Trails
- About Us
- Get Involved
Find the top rated atv trails in Montana, whether you're looking for an easy short atv trail or a long atv trail, you'll find what you're looking for. Click on a atv trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.
|Trail Image||Trail Name||States||Length||Surface||Rating|
The NorPac Trail follows the old right-of-way of the Northern Pacific Railway (hence the trail's name) in western Montana and the Idaho Panhandle, crossing Lookout Pass. The trail runs from Idaho near...
|ID, MT||21.3 mi||Concrete, Dirt, Gravel||
The 31-mile long Route of the Olympian is one of several rail-trails occupying the former Pacific route of the Milwaukee Road, which originally connected the railroad's Wisconsin hub with Washington...
With the encouraging news about the Great American Rail Trail spanning our continent with off road bicycle paths, I decided to try a portion of it beginning with the Route of the Olympian. The trail starts in St. Regis Montana, running westerly on the railbed of the Milwaukee. It runs beside the St. Regis River with gorgeous views through the Ponderosa Pines and parallels the Interstate 90. This highway is frequently in view but far enough away that one is not inundated with traffic noise. The first third of the 30 mile is studded with coarse gravel making me grateful for my 2.3 inch wide tires. After 30 miles of gentle but continual climb at the top of Lookout Pass just across the border of Idaho the trail becomes the Route of the Hiawatha. Cycling in late May, I was concerned with the report of a creek crossing the trail which one cyclist reported having to ford. Sure enough at 2.5 miles from St. Regis, just after crossing Two Mile Rd. the trail ended unceremoniously with no signage other than a discouraging “No Outlet” at a very full rushing torrent. However, if one travels south on Two Mile Rd. for 1/10 of a mile, the road itself crosses the creek and immediately thereafter a small sign points to the right saying “ATV Access”. This little trail quickly leads back to the Route. At 4.5 miles the gravel becomes thick and loose but only for .3 miles. After 10 miles trail becomes more hard beaten dirt, less gravel, on into Idaho. In summary, the trail is not as well cared for and does not enjoy the spectacular vistas, far from noisy highways as the Route of the Hiawatha which it joins. But it is well worth the experience for those who have the privilege of doing both trails.
I was recently exploring trails connecting to the Hiawatha, Coeur d'Alene. I drove the section east from Mullan and had difficulty following the route. As mentioned in previous posts, it is not well signed. The turn at the fish hatchery was a guess and then signed 50 yds up that barely noticeable overgrown gravel road. I encountered this problem several times and mentioned it to the host at the Wallace Railroad Museum (which is awesome!). She said that PEOPLE STEAL THE SIGNS! That's very unfortunate. Perhaps they can engrave on posts that won't be so easy to steal?
I wasn't on it for long, but this section is very scenic, remote and worth the effort.
We rode from our hotel (the Silver Dollar Inn) in Haugen to the top where it meets the Route Of The Hiawatha and back. The trail surface was good. 1 tunnel and 2 trestles (one of which has been refurbished, the other hasn't but both passable) . Views of the St Regis river. Not quite as spectacular of a trail as the Hiawatha but still very nice. We only encountered 1 other person and this was on a Saturday.
Starting at the East Portal and heading east the trail is great. Decent surface and there is a nice curved tunnel and then a high trestle. It gets a bit rough at the second bridge but then smooths out again. By about 11 miles from the top is flattens out and the gets really rough. Ok for ATV, not bikes.
This was my favorite trail of the old Milwaukee Road rail trails in this area. My only complaint is the lack of signage. With online maps, like Google maps, showing the trail, it wasn't hard to see where it should be. We picked it up in Saltese, after riding there on the NorPac the day before. They run parallel to one another, and there is a new access to the Olympian from the NorPac just west of Saltese. A sign there said "new road to upper grade", and it was in better shape than the one I had planned to take from Silver Creek Rd. Once on the Olympian, it's easy to follow, even with its lack of signs. This is basically a continuation of the Hiawatha, and just as nice, and free.
The trail from Saltese to the east portal of the Hiawatha is in great shape. We had no trouble along any of it with our 700x32 tires. The gradual ascent was very easy, and the scenery is beautiful. We were easily able to roll our bikes underneath the gate of the Dominion trestle.
I can only speak to this 8-9 mile section of the Olympian, not having ridden the eastern section. It is beautiful! It's the much better choice for getting from Saltese to the Hiawatha, even if it is a little bit longer than the NorPac. Details and photos on these trails are at my journal:http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/myidahopanhandle
My husband and I rode the NorPac as part of a weeklong bike tour, self-guided, in the Bitterroots. It's incredible that you can link several trails together and experience this great region without major climbing. I can't give it 5 stars for a few reasons. First, there need to be more signs. Second are the directions for following the trail given here and elsewhere; they are confusing since road numbers are hard to find.
The connection in Mullan from the Trail of the CdA is seamless. It's easy to see on online maps that one must follow Friday Ave to Larson Rd, and there are some signs. Staying on Larson til it ends at the fish hatchery gets you to a dead end, even though the NorPac is an invisible spitting distance away. Better to turn left onto Cole Ranch Rd just before Shoshone Park and find the trailhead immediately on your right. My Garmin Etrex 20 showed the trail and tracks so we easily found it from the hatchery anyway, as you could also do from Shoshone Park.
The climb from there to Lookout Pass was very easy and beautiful. The beginning of the descent required lots of braking, and the rest of the ride we had to go slowly down to avoid big rocks. Wider tires might have helped; we used 700x32. Though it was slow going it was very nice. If you don't mind bumpy, then you might not worry about avoiding rocks.
We did not turn up Rainy Creek Rd towards the Hiawatha; instead we continued straight onto Randolph Creek/NorPac Railway which follows I-90 and the St Regis River to Saltese, MT, riding the entire length of the NorPac Trail. I detail this and neighboring trails in my journal: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/myidahopanhandle
As noted, this is an 11-mike one way trail along the highway, which is busy in the summer months. It does veer off onto old route 2 a few times, past camps & resorts, tucked away from commercial route 2. Well maintained, with stunning scenery along the way, this trail suffices for our quest of “Cycling the 50” states.
This is a wonderful, ride with many options for eating, exploring, camping, fishing and lodging along the way. With all due respect to one of the reviewers, the elevation gain over 50 miles from Missoula to Hamilton is roughly 400 ft NOT 4000+. The trail does parallel US Hwy 93 the entire length and is noisy but the views are gorgeous the entire length. A short, fun option is to ride Missoula to Lolo with a stop at the Lolo Brewery for good food and beverage.
Make sure to take a short (100 yards) detour one mile east end of the trailhead parking area to see the newly-opened Yellowstone Kelly Interpretive Site where frontiersman Yellowstone Kelly was buried. There are interpretive panels about the history of the area.
Skeleton Cliff, just a little further east, is the site of the Crow Tribe's burial area, where the dead were actually placed in the trees.
This is not a trail you pick for the scenery, although views along this highway are nice. The description in TrailLink is accurate, from what I can tell. I was very happy to have this trail to do. My husband needed to take a break and get some things done at our RV, which left me free to ride, and this trail was perfect. I could get in as many miles as I wanted and I did 40. It wasn't that easy - some nice long and a bit challenging hills made it interesting. If you just want a trail that will give you some nice miles this is great. I am really, really happy it was here. Thank you!
My wife and I did the Bitterroot 300 K loop, July 2017 and this included the NorPac. We had to stop and ask some construction workers how to find the beginning of the trail since there was only one sign that we saw and that was in Mullan. There needs to be some better signage for the first four or five miles. The first 15 miles is uphill, so much so that we took many walking breaks up the various inclines. The surface is anything from dirt, sand, gravel, to large 3+ diameter inch rocks. The last 10 miles is down hill and we did not have to peddle, in fact I rode my breaks on the way down.
Rode this bike path from 3rd Street in Missoula to its terminal end south
of Hamilton, at the bridge over the Bitterroot River, out and back, with a couple of short side trips, total ride was 104.8 miles.
TrailLink is a free service provided by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (a non-profit) and we need your support!