Bozeman offers some fantastic biking, from single-track trails in the wilderness and grin-inducing downhill rides to family-friendly meanders through urban parks. And for new arrivals, there's an active cycling community ready to offer a helping hand.

A mountain bike in particular will open up endless miles of grand mountain and forest scenery around Bozeman, enabling you to cover a lot more ground than hiking. From traffic-free road trips to fast-paced, flowy downhills, there's a biking route here for everyone.

And you can cycle in Bozeman at any time of year, thanks to plentiful paved routes and urban tracks. Some hill trails are open year-round and many ski resorts offer fat tire biking during the winter season, and fully-charged downhill rides in summer. Here's a guide to the top trails around Bozeman.

Tips for biking in Bozeman

  • Bozeman's gear shops normally offer a good range of bike rentals but there were shortages in 2021 (as there were nationally) so check in advance with stores such as Bangtail Bikes and Owenhouse Cycling.
  • Grizzly bears pose a particular risk to mountain bikers because cyclists move at speed and don't make much sound to scare bears away. If you're biking the more remote parts of the Gallatin Range, be sure to have bear spray accessible (ideally attached to your bike frame) and consider attaching bear bells to your bike.
  • Tap into the local biking community in Bozeman before you hit the trails. Gallatin Valley Bicycle Club posts weekly rides, Alter Cycles has Friday drinks and weekly rides and Bangtail Bikes organizes a Monday night ride.
  • Many biking trails are shared with hikers, horse riders and even motorcyclists, so watch out for other traffic, especially on fast downhills. Some trails restrict mountain bikers to cycling on certain days, and e-bikes are considered to be motorbikes when it comes to trail-sharing regulations.
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A woman walking a trail on a hillside near Bozeman, Montana
Many trails near Bozeman are mixed-use so watch for hikers © Jordan Siemens / Getty Images

Bangtail Divide

Best for fit mountain bikers seeking fabulous views

25 miles, 5–6 hours, intermediate, 3,100ft elevation gain

Bozeman's single best day ride is this IMBA Epic Trail, starting in Bridger Canyon, 20 miles northeast of Bozeman. This intermediate route will take you high into the mountains for a fabulous wilderness workout and lots of downhill fun. The opening 7-mile stretch is a lung-busting uphill switchback in first gear but the flowing single track then takes you on a classic ridgeline ride through meadows of scented wildflowers with head-spinning views of six mountain ranges.

The final section is a fabulous, swooping 6-mile descent on Grassy Mountain. You then face a 7-mile road pedal back to your car, or you can be smart and arrange a shuttle pick up. Pack plenty of water and lunch for this long day.

Main St to the Mountains

Best for families looking for a downtown park ride

2.5 miles round trip, one hour, easy

For an hour or two of active fun in town in Bozeman, families can opt for an easy off-road bicycle ride on trails of packed earth and gravel running south from Main St and finishing up with ridge-top views over the city and Bozeman Creek.

Take the Gallagator Linear/Burke Park Trail from Bozeman Library through Lindley Park to Sculpture Park, before gently climbing uphill through Burke Park and then go south along the Bozeman Trail. The full return ride is around 2.5 miles but you can turn back whenever you need to; several benches offer a chance for a breather.

Alternatively, follow the Gallagator Trail to Langohr Park (with its climbing boulder) and roll on to the Museum of the Rockies, adding on a visit to Bozeman's best family attraction. You can check the route on a map beforehand care of the Gallatin Valley Land Trust.

A view over Mystic Lake near Bozeman in winter
Mystic Lake looks mysterious and enticing at any time of year © Getty Images / Cavan Images RF

Mystic Lake

Best for mountain bikers looking for an easy ride on unpaved roads

20 miles round trip, three hours, intermediate, 450m of elevation gain

The Sourdough Canyon Trail along Bozeman Creek to Mystic Lake is a no-stress, technically easy mountain bike route on wide and well-graded Forest Service dirt roads, passing rushing streams in the pine-scented forests of the Gallatin foothills.

The turn-around point is picnic-worthy Mystic Lake, where a Forest Service cabin offers a possible overnight adventure. The return is all downhill, back the way you came, or you can take an alternative route back along the exposed "Wall of Death" – as the name suggests, this is for confident riders only!

Big Sky Biking

Best for lift-served mountain bike trails and adrenaline-fuelled descents

Distances and times vary, easy to advanced

During the Montana summer, from early June to mid-September, the downhill action at Big Sky Resort shifts from skiing to mountain biking. Three lifts offer access to 40 miles of trails, covering a range of difficulties and styles, from extreme jumps to mellow banked rides. Lift passes cost $40 per day.

Beginners can start off with the 2 mile Easy Rider trail accessed via the Explorer Lift, or pick up some new skills on one of the weekly bike clinics. There are also good cross-country trails in the surrounding valleys, and you can go fat tire biking in winter. Try Grizzly Outfitters for rentals and trail information.

Two female cyclists stop by a lake near Bozeman
Cycling options near Bozeman include gentle, level trails, as well as furious downhill rides © Jordan Siemens / Getty Images

Spring cycling in Hyalite Canyon or Yellowstone National Park

Best for traffic-free road cycling

15.5 miles round trip, three hours, easy

Springtime in Montana brings some uncertain weather and muddy conditions on unpaved trails, but also two dream road rides. From April through to mid-May, scenic Hyalite Canyon Road to the southeast of Bozeman is open to cyclists only, snow and ice conditions permitting. It's a real treat to be able to savor the scenic paved road that runs along Hyalite Creek up to Hyalite Reservoir without the need to keep alert for speeding traffic. 

Further south in Yellowstone National Park, the spring thaw also brings a welcome period of motor vehicle-free access to the park's western and north-western roads, linking Mammoth Hot Springs, Madison Junction and West Yellowstone. You can cycle as far as you want in sublime solitude, with road traffic limited to the occasional bison (give them a wide berth). Electric bikes are allowed in Yellowstone National Park but not on Hyalite Canyon Road.

Crosscut Mountain

Best for beginner mountain bikers & teenagers

Distances and times vary, easy to moderate

Crosscut Mountain to the north of Bozeman is a great place for beginners and kids. There are 14 miles of trails (including 10 miles of single track), with plenty of space to practice your skills as a family. The nonprofit organization Crosscut also runs mountain bike clinics and weeklong afternoon camps for tweens (grades 4 to 8) and teenagers. In winter come here for some fat biking on groomed snow.

Leverich Canyon

Best for anyone seeking a downhill workout close to Bozeman

5 miles round trip, 1-2 hours, intermediate, 1,250ft ascent

Located just past Bozeman's southern suburbs, the Leverich Canyon loop trail kicks off with a 3 mile, 1,250ft ascent up the eastern side of the canyon, past an abandoned mine, before finally rewarding you with an exciting downhill, bermed single track ride. There are several places where you can catch some air, but this is a mixed-use trail through the forest, so look out for hikers as you descend.

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