The Bangtail Divide Trail is regarded as Bozeman’s most notorious mountain biking trail, not so much for it’s difficulty or distance, but because of its buttery smooth single-track trails and epic scenery.
The Bangtail Divide Loop is around 31 miles total, starting at the Stone Creek trailhead. You can ride this trail as a complete loop, taking Hwy 86 south bound after exiting at the Brackett Creek trailhead. Another option is shuttling with two cars: drop a vehicle off at the Brackett Creek trailhead to begin with and avoid the highway ride back to Stone Creek.
The initial climb on Stone Creek is somewhat technical with rocky climbs and plenty of switchbacks. After an hour climb, you will have reached the cross country portion of the ride, know as Grassy Mountain, which ends with a vertical two-mile climb to the best section of the ride.
At around the 18.4 mile point you’ll enter the highlight of the ride: a smooth pine-forested five-mile downhill that makes you want to ride back up and do it again! You will end the off-road portion of the Bangtail on the Brackett Creek trailhead.
This final downhill does involve some tricky switchbacks (go easy on your speed if you haven’t done this part previously), but all in all it is a very fun downhill to complete the ride.