The trails are covered—time to hit the pavement.
Odds are, if you look out your window right now, you'll see snow. That's because a fall snowstorm just dumped a few inches in town and several more in the mountains, putting singletrack out of commission for the foreseeable future. Now a warm spell could spring into southwest Montana as early as the weekend, but it will still take some time to melt out. That's why we're looking to the pavement for our next two-wheeled adventure. We're continuing our Fall Hit List over in Paradise Valley on a road ride that will include hot springs, a brewery, BBQ, and fishing.
Who: Those of us who refuse to believe biking season is over on October 9. Yes, it looks like winter. Yes, it feels like winter. But the forecast is going to improve, and when it does, you'll want to have a plan.
What: An epic journey from Livingston to Emigrant to Chico and back again. The best bike for this adventure is a drop-bar gravel grinder, but really any will do. This ride will require significant road travel, so take the necessary precautions, like wearing high-visibility apparel and mounting bike lights to your frame. You'll travel south out of Livingston, utilizing dirt roads to get to Emigrant. At Emigrant, grab a beer and BBQ if it's lunch time (Fri-Sun) or coffee and a pastry if it's still early. Don't dawdle as you'll need all the daylight you have to get across the river and up to Chico for a soak.
After a soak, head north on East River Rd. until you see a fishing access. Here's where you can make it a multi-sport, if you choose. If fishing isn't your thing, keep on pedaling until crossing back over the river and onto the bike/pedestrian path near Carter's Bridge. If you climb, you can also add in some time at Allenspur, if time allows.
When: Now. Or rather, as soon as the roads dry. While we've had a bit of a snowy early fall, the next ten days look more seasonal. Take advantage before the snow really starts to fly.
Where: Start in Livingston and utilize the bike/pedestrian trail along Hwy. 89 for as far as you can. About a mile past the turn off for East River Rd., hang a right and get on Old Yellowstone Trail Rd. Follow Old Yellowstone Trail Rd. for about 15 miles. You'll take a left and ride along Hwy. 89 for less than a mile before getting to the Emigrant intersection. On your way back, follow East River Rd. until you reach Carter's Bridge. Cross over the Yellowstone River and rejoin the bike path, following that all the way back to Livingston.
Why: Because cycling is awesome and Paradise Valley is truly more valuable than gold. How many times have you driven from Livingston to Gardiner, or Livingston to Chico, without stopping anywhere in between or taking the time to explore some back roads? A bike ride is the perfect way to slow things down and get to know the valley more intimately.