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Guide

Gravity-Fed Flow

Shuttle and chairlift accessed mountain bike parks are growing across the northern Rocky Mountains as riders pursue drops, berms and a flowy single-track

By Maggie Dresser
A mountain biker at Whitefish Mountain Resort. Beacon file photo

While some mountain resorts on the West Coast are announcing delayed bike park openings after receiving record snowfall this winter, parks in the northern Rocky Mountains are scheduled to open on time this season. Due to a below-average snow year and warm spring temperatures, the Northwest’s single-track is in prime condition and the hero dirt awaits riders.

As mountain biking rises in popularity, bike parks have continued to expand trail building operations to add more miles of trails and features to bring something for everyone. From big drops to berms to flowy single track, the Flathead Valley and its northern neighbor offers a variety of chairlift accessed or shuttle serviced terrain for all skill levels.

If you’re looking for human-powered ride suggestions, check out Flathead Area Mountain Bikers at www.flatheadamb.org and be sure to download the Trailforks app on your phone for simple trail navigation. 

For bike rentals and purchases, visit the local bike shops in Whitefish and Kalispell and chat with shop employees about their favorite rides in the area and to get up to speed on trail conditions. 

Here are the best chairlift and shuttle accessed bike parks in the Flathead Valley and beyond.

Legacy Bike Park

Inspired by bike parks in British Columbia, Legacy Bike Park launched in 2021 and was built on a 500-acre piece of property in Lakeside, about 15 miles south of Kalispell, just west of Flathead Lake. Legacy offers a gravity park with a pump track, drops, berms and a variety of features. 

Riders are shuttled from the parking lot to the top of the trail system where they can descend trails with names like Dirt Herder, Drift Missile and RADish. Now in its third season, crews are continuing to build additional trails while expanding shuttle rider capacity. 

Campsites are available at Legacy and shuttle tickets must be purchased in advance. 

Legacy opened for the season on May 19. For more information or to purchase a shuttle ticket, 

www.legacybikepark.com 

Whitefish Mountain Resort

With 2,353 feet of vertical drop and more than 25 miles of chairlift-accessed and cross-country mountain bike trails, Whitefish Mountain Resort is an essential riding destination in the Flathead Valley. 

Located 20 miles north of Kalispell, the Whitefish Bike Park has trails for all skill levels, from the green circle-rated lower Summit Trail to the double black diamond Zeppelin Jump Line, riders have a slew of trails to choose from with optional features on many of the system’s advanced rides. 

If riders want to continue descending from the base area, the system continues down the Bob Cedar trail, eventually connecting to the Reservoir Trail in Haskill Basin. Coordinate a shuttle ride to the Reservoir Trailhead to add an extra 1,000+ feet of vert. 

The bike park opened May 27. For more information or to buy a lift ticket, 

www.skiwhitefish.com

Fernie Alpine Resort

If you’re not satisfied with riding in the states, keep driving north across the U.S.-Canada border and head to Fernie Alpine Resort. The world class terrain that draws skiers and snowboarders in the winter also attracts mountain bikers in the dry months. 

Boasting more than 30 trails, Fernie offers 3,383 vertical feet of chairlift accessible single-track. The gravity-fed rides combined with an extensive web of cross-country trails makes Fernie some of the best lift-accessed mountain biking in Canada.

There are trails for every ability level at this bike park in the mountain town of Fernie. Ride wide, machine-made flow trails for beginner and intermediate riders or challenging steep and technical single-track trails for advanced and expert bikers.

Fernie Alpine Resort is located 113 miles north of Kalispell via U.S. Highway 93. 

The bike park is open from June 24 to Sept. 4. For more information or to buy a ticket, 

www.skifernie.com

A mountain biker in Whitefish. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Here are some local bike shops in the area.

Wheaton’s Cycle, Kalispell 

214 First Ave. W.

(406) 257-5808

www.wheatonscycle.com

Glacier Cyclery and Nordic, Whitefish

326 E. Second St.

(406) 862-6446

www.glaciercyclery.com

Great Northern Cycle and Ski, Whitefish

328 Central Ave.

(406) 862-5321

www.gncycleski.com

A7 Cycles, Whitefish 

120 Meadows Rd.

(406) 760-1717

www.a7cycles.com 

This article was originally published in Glacier Journal, our annual guide to summer in Northwest Montana. Pick up a copy on newsstands across the region.

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