Summit Trail at Whitefish Ski Resort
The Summit Trail at Whitefish Mountain Resort climbs 2,084 ft over 8 miles from the Village area to the Summit. It is the only trail that permits two-way traffic and the only trail that permits uphill riding. Much of the trail is exposed and faces south, so consider this when factoring in temperatures. Uphill traffic is not recommended between 12 PM and 5 PM due to the large number of riders coming downhill.
The trail begins across the road from the Hellroaring Saloon & Eatery at the Whitefish Ski resort village area, wasting no time in beginning the first of many switchbacks (Adaptive Level 7-8) that will be required to reach the summit of the mountain. At approximately 0.9 miles the trail splits with no signage. Take the left-most (straight) fork to continue on the Summit Trail. The right-most trail is trail number 16 (Sidecar) which does not allow uphill riding.
The trail passes through intermittent tree cover as it traverses across ski slopes, gaining elevation steadily. Huckleberries are plentiful along the trail but pay attention for downhill riding cyclists. The tree covered sections of the trail are generally smooth, and the open sections in the ski slopes are littered with baby-heads and other rocks.
The most technically challenging areas of the trail are several locations where other downhill trails cross the Summit Trail, creating short length but extreme off-camber sections (over 30 degrees, Adaptive Level 9). If you are uncomfortable with such sections be sure to have a spotter as a fall here will send a rider tumbling down some very steep advanced mountain biking trails.
At about 4.3 miles the trail reaches the top of chair lift #2 and levels out (Adaptive Level 6) before a short downhill section. The trail then begins climbing again (Adaptive Level 7-8) towards the summit, weaving across increasingly open ski slopes. As you get closer to the top pay increasing attention for downhill riders. The Summit House finally comes into view and several more long switchbacks bring the rider to the summit of Whitefish Ski Resort.
Returning downhill on the Summit Trail is a bone-jarring experience as the baby-heads and rock gardens make it difficult to ride with speed unless you have a full suspension handcycle. As of this writing (July 2017) I have not inquired to the possibility of riding a handcycle down the other, more technical mountain biking trails.
Date ridden: July 22, 2017
Trail Name: Summit Trail at Whitefish Ski Resort
Location: Whitefish, Montana | Map
Type: Narrow trail (< 30"), Wide trail (≥ 30″), Start and end at the same point (Out-and-Back)
Rating: Adaptive Level 08
Steepest Section: Moderate – between 10-30º
Most Off-Camber Section: Moderate – between 10-30º
Terrain: Mostly hardpack, minimal loose sections
Obstacles: Root exposure, Brush and/or other growth, Baby heads and/or rock gardens
Help Needed? Nope
Even more info: Whitefish Ski Resort Mountain Biking
Directions to Trailhead
Across the street from the Hellroaring Eatery & Saloon at Whitefish Ski Resort