Curly Lake Highline Questions

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Curly Lake Highline Questions

Postby Jeffy434 » Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:25 pm

I was looking into doing Curly Lake Highline over by Whitehall, Montana and was wondering what it was like. The ride has 5000 feet of elevation gain which seems a little intimidating. How hard is the ride and is it enjoyable?
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Re: Curly Lake Highline Questions

Postby John Fisch » Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:49 pm

I'm heading to Montana later this month and this is first on my wish list. I've talked to a number of folks who say this is by far, the most excellent ride they've ever done--this includes people who have ridden the likes of Porcupine Rim, Monarch Crest and other of the country's best epic rides.

I have ridden the Lost Cabin Lake and Louise Lake trails which lie directly across the valley from the Curly Trail. I can vouch that the scenery there is as good as any I've ever seen (I've ridden throughout CO, UT, WY, NM, AZ, Canadian Rockies, Tahoe, etc--so that's saying something)

So, I think the "enjoyable" part is a given -- provided you've got the fitness level for it (which remains in doubt for me at this point). I understand it is highly taxing. It's an all day, bring extra sandwiches and be prepared to push your bike once in a while kind of ride. Bear in mind also that the 5K ft of climbing tops out around 10K feet, so if you're not from altitude, add that to the difficulty factor.

The link below provides a good writeup and lots of pics:

http://mountainbiketrailsusa.com/trails ... e-montana/

Hope ya' get to do it.

Heck with you--I hope I get to do it!
Last edited by John Fisch on Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Curly Lake Highline Questions

Postby Jeffy434 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:29 am

Thank You!! I have mountain biked a lot but have never done a climb with such a steady steep grade. I am convinced to do it!! That is what everyone I have talked to has said.
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Re: Curly Lake Highline Questions

Postby Greg Heil » Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:29 am

skibum wrote:I'm heading to Montana later this month and this is first on my wish list. I've talked to a number of folks who say this is by far, the most excellent ride they've ever done--this includes people who have ridden the likes of Porcupine Rim, Monarch Crest and other of the country's best epic rides.

I have ridden the Lost Cabin Lake and Louise Lake trails which lie directly across the valley from the Curly Trail. I can vouch that the scenery there is as good as any I've ever seen (I've ridden throughout CO, UT, WY, NM, AZ, Canadian Rockies, Tahoe, etc--so that's saying something)

So, I think the "enjoyable" part is a given -- provided you've got the fitness level for it (which remains in doubt for me at this point). I understand it is highly taxing. It's an all day, bring extra sandwiches and be prepared to push your bike once in a while kind of ride. Bear in mind also that the 5K ft of climbing tops out around 10K feet, so if you're not from altitude, add that to the difficulty factor.

The link below provides a good writeup and lots of pics:

http://mountainbiketrailsusa.com/trails ... e-montana/

Hope ya' get to do it.

Heck with you--I hope I get to do it!


Wow that sounds awesome! I've been through Whitehall before but never knew the riding there was so good. I would love to get back to Montana next summer!
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Re: Curly Lake Highline Questions

Postby Jared13 » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:38 pm

@skibum
Thanks for the link! I'm moving to Great Falls in October. Hopefully that site will help me narrow down which trails I want to ride first come spring!
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Re: Curly Lake Highline Questions

Postby Greg Heil » Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:26 am

Jared13 wrote:@skibum
Thanks for the link! I'm moving to Great Falls in October. Hopefully that site will help me narrow down which trails I want to ride first come spring!


Wow moving to Montana for the first time in October... are in for a long, cold winter my friend!
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Re: Curly Lake Highline Questions

Postby John Fisch » Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:13 am

Winter in Great Falls ain't too bad. You actually get some 50 degree days from time to time--of course that's because a warm chinook wind blows through -- at 50 mph! So, when it's not cold, it's windy (verrrry windy). The good news is that those chinooks really dry things out and you will have periods of bare ground throughout the year which means year round riding! Very surprising for that far north. You just have to be able to put up with the wind--If you don't ride in the wind, you don't ride. Once you make peace with the wind, it's all good. The River's Edge trail is okay and the North Shore trail is actually a pretty good ride.
http://www.singletracks.com/bike-trails ... -edge.html
http://www.singletracks.com/bike-trails ... falls.html

The nearby mountains have tons of trails, but no chinooks up there--the season is short--but the skiing's pretty good!. You'll be less than an hour (close enough to get in some after work mini-epics during the long summer days) from a great trail network in the Highwoods Mountains.
http://www.singletracks.com/bike-trails ... -loop.html
http://www.singletracks.com/bike-trails ... ridge.html

The Little Belt Mountains, about an hour's drive, have some great, epic rides and tons of singletrack/doubletrack that remains largely unexplored.
http://www.singletracks.com/bike-trails ... creek.html
http://www.singletracks.com/bike-trails ... ridge.html

Then you're only 90 minutes from Helena with yet another great batch of rides.

The Bozeman/Big Sky area has an astonishing concentration of outstanding singletrack and absolutely world class scenery. You'll be about 3 hrs from Bozeman and 4 hrs from Big Sky.

Then there's Missoula (3hrs), Whitefish (4 hrs), the aforementioned Whitehall (4 hrs) and tons more near even smaller towns or not near any town at all--the opportunites to explore are truly enldless!

Enjoy--I loved my time up there!
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Re: Curly Lake Highline Questions

Postby Jared13 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:05 pm

@Greg
I know, I wish I was moving now to get some early riding in!

@skibum
You, sir, are AWESOME. I knew about the wind, but I didn't know about the possible year-round riding. I also didn't realize so many ranges were so close. I was figuring everything outside of Great Falls was about 3-4 hours away. It seems every larger city is about that distance :lol:
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