by Mr. Wonka
Brooklyn, New York
April 24, 2005
The Bangtail Divide runs about 23 miles total, with the difficulty ranging from beginner to advanced. We tackled the Grassy Mountain section of the divide, which ended up being about 3 miles uphill and 5 miles down—buy a map from Bangtail Bikes to find your way out to Olsen Creek Road, or better yet, hunt down Mason for assistance.
The trail is relatively new, having been built about 3 years ago to replace an older trail that raised private property issues. With amazing panoramic views of the Shields River Valley surrounding us every time we came out of the woods, this was probably my favorite ride during my visit. The going was a bit tough at times, with narrow paths often covered in rubble that force you to closely watch where you’re going, but that’s little bother for the payoff we received once our ascent was complete. At our highest elevation, we could see the Crazy Mountains, the Absorka Mountain Range, the Gallatin Range, Spanish Peaks, Tobacco Root Mountains, and Bridger Mountains all unfolding around us.
After soaking up the scenery, we mounted our steeds once again for the best part of the ride—the 5-mile cruise down. We barely had to pedal for most of the way, and once we hit a stretch of treacherous switchbacks, heavily riding our brakes became requisite. The Bangtail Divide actually has 72 switchbacks over the course of its 23 miles, and I can’t recommend that anyone except advanced riders even try to conquer them while still riding at a normal pace. In case you were wondering, switchbacks are defined as "a structure that the trail leads into, makes a flat turn, then leaves in another direction." One false move around any of these sharp bends, and you just might find yourself tumbling downhill for a while. Play it safe and take your time.
From journal Yellowstone Country: Biking