In the last 10 years, Whitefish has experienced a mountain biking renaissance. Driven by the efforts and support of the local residents, businesses, non-profit groups and governmental agencies, a burgeoning network of singletrack spans in all directions, offering a smorgasbord of riding experiences, from well-manicured flow trails, to gnarly lift-served enduro runs. It’s clear that Whitefish is committed to establishing itself as a mountain bike mecca. Three general areas stand out—the pillars of our local trails—The Whitefish Trail and its numerous trailheads, Whitefish Mountain Resort, and the good old-fashioned singletrack expanding even further into the forests and backcountry ridgelines of our public lands.
The Whitefish Trail, fruit of an ambitious community project spearheaded by Whitefish Legacy Partners, connects the dots of nine different zones, with long-term plans to circumnavigate Whitefish Lake. These are quality, well-built trails and every section has a distinct personality—the flora, amount of climbing, steepness and technicality of the terrain. For those looking for aggressive trails and man-made freeride features, the Spencer Mountain trails are for you. If you want to ride miles and miles of mellow, flowing trails, link up Lion Mountain to Beaver Lake, then hit the lollipop overlook topping out the Woods Lake area. The options are endless, so it makes sense to study the downloadable map and plan what’s best for you, which could even include a stay at the Whitefish Bike Retreat, a unique lodging experience adjacent to the trail.
Towering above town, Whitefish Mountain Resort, or “Big Mountain,” as locals call it, is hard to miss. Home to a lift-served bike park, it offers over 30 miles of bermed, snaked courses (yes, these are raced) to stoke out any gravity junky, with trails leading all the way to the summit at nearly 7,000 feet, for those committed to earning their day’s vert.
If you’re more into classic singletrack, Haskill Basin boasts an extensive network of trails close to town, linking to both Big Mountain and the Reservoir section of The Whitefish Trail. For a short 30-minute drive west, you can also explore the Tally Lake area, with a host of exquisite rides on both sides of the lake, including the flagship Reid Divide to Boney Gulch loop.
Three bikes shops serve the Whitefish community: Glacier Cyclery & Nordic, Great Northern Bike & Ski and Sportsman & Ski Haus. For visiting cyclists, these folks are excellent with the wrench and knowledgeable resources for local trails and current riding conditions, which is especially important in the spring as trails melt out. Behind the scenes, we’re grateful for our local non-profit group, Flathead Area Mountain Bikers (FAMB), for their tireless advocacy, stewardship and hands-on work to construct, maintain and protect access to our bounty of trails. As Whitefish continues evolving as a mountain biking hub, there couldn’t be a better time to get in some great riding and tap into the buzz.
Whitefish residents continue to navigate how to keep their community safe, while also welcoming careful visitors. From the start of the pandemic, Whitefish became a leader in Montana for safe travel, initiating mask-wearing protocols before it became the standard. For more information, visit ExploreWhitefish.com and WhitefishCovidCares.com.