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Bikers praise new Mountain to Meadow bike trail  

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Terraflow Trail Systems rerouted Mountain to Meadow in Fall 2022. COURTESY OF TERRAFLOW

BSCO and LMLC team up with Terraflow to give the public trail a touch-up—and a permanent easement 


Big Sky’s Mountain to Meadow single-track biking trail has been rerouted to include a public access easement for permanent community use—and some new features.  

The Big Sky Community Organization and Lone Mountain Land Company collaborated to relocate two sections of trail and place the entire route under permanent easement, according to a joint press release. LMLC originally built the trail in 2015, and it has remained open to the public during summer months and does not require a lift ticket for access. BSCO will take over maintenance on the upgraded trail, which “offers an enhanced experience for trail enthusiasts, providing an opportunity to explore the beautiful scenery in the area,” according to the release. 

BSCO and LMLC contracted Terraflow Trail Systems to reroute the trail, bringing Terraflow’s well-established local reputation—with a public portfolio including Otter Way, Otter Slide, Mountain to Meadow, Ralph’s Pass, Michener Creek and most recently, Coldsmoke—to the popular public trail which they built eight years ago.

Terraflow owner Pete Costain spoke with EBS about the new route.  

“You know, we didn’t realize when we built the original Mountain to Meadow what a big thing that was going to be for mountain bikers,” Costain said. “I really thought it was going to get some hiking traffic, we were expecting more multi-use. It quickly morphed into a 100% bike trail.”   

This new trail, he said, is aimed at being 99% optimized for biking, a little wider and accessible to all ability levels, but with optional jump features for those inclined.

“I think it’s a really different trail. I was just happy to mix it up,” Costain said.

Completed in fall 2022, the new trail is broken into two diversions from the original route: the first begins near the top of the traditional Mountain to Meadow Climb, dropping down to the north and traversing beneath the Lone Moose chairlift before connecting with the original Mountain to Meadow route. Shortly after, the trail cuts left into another new section.  

New route shown in red, old route shown in yellow (trail runs left to right). COURTESY OF BSCO

The original trail is no longer open, closed permanently due to development, according to BSCO. Costain advised that it won’t be safe to ride the old trail, due to construction and tree removal.

Regardless, bikers might say they prefer the new trail. 

Mac Bertelson, a young local ripper who’s been riding the old route for five or six years, said the new Mountain to Meadow is an awesome upgrade, complete with great berms and some well-built jumps.  

“It’s sweet,” he told EBS. “It’s definitely more of a flow-oriented trail than the old one was. It’s a wider, less single-track oriented trail… I like it a lot more. Terraflow did a great job building it.” 

Section of new Mountain to Meadow trail. COURTESY OF TERRAFLOW

He said the second part of the new route is “super awesome.” 

“It flows off that old section, definitely rides awesome as well.” Bertelson said. “There are some great berms, a little more pedally, but it’s a super fun trail. Especially compared to the old one, I like it a lot more.” 

Local rider John Cain expressed similar optimism in an email to EBS.  

“While the old trail will be missed by those wishing to roll down to the Brothel [bar] in a full-face helmet from the top of Andesite Mountain, the new trail will soon be a local favorite especially for those willing to put a little power to the pedals on the way down,” Cain wrote.  

Max Erpenbach has been riding in Big Sky for ten years. He helped create Big Sky’s chapter of the Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association, seeing an opportunity to improve public access and trail maintenance. Volunteers from the Big Sky chapter helped maintain the original Mountain to Meadow trail, and Erpenbach said it was designed for two-way traffic including hikers.  

But with the ballooning popularity of Big Sky’s bike community, he added, the new trail is more biker friendly.  

Berms constructed on the new Mountain to Meadow trail. COURTESY OF TERRAFLOW

“Biggest difference I saw is it has a little more downhill feel to it,” he said. “It’s still got some pedally sections, some flow. But I think Terraflow focused on getting some jumps in it.” 

He said there’s a few scary, exposed sections in the new route. But there always have been, he noted, especially around the hairpin switchbacks toward the latter half of the original trail.  

“I would say it’s probably just as friendly as the old one, when it comes to the family outing,” Erpenbach said.  

He gave credit to Lone Mountain Land Company for prioritizing this trail.  

“It’s cool that we have land developers that are willing to help build these bike trails as change happens… These trails could be getting bulldozed and closed and going away forever. [Developers] seem to want to keep these trails which is great,” Erpenbach said. 

The Mountain to Meadow trail has always crossed Spanish Peaks Mountain Club property. That’s still the case, but it’s now protected by a permanent easement.

Jon Olsen, vice president of development for Spanish Peaks, stated in the press release: “We know the importance of the trail in the community and though it runs through Spanish Peaks property, LMLC wanted to ensure Big Sky’s entire community can continue to use it.” 

Ashley Wilson, BSCO director of finance and administration stated: “We are delighted to partner with LMLC and be awarded a permanent public access easement for the Mountain to Meadow trail. This partnership signifies our commitment to preserving and maintaining outdoor spaces for the benefit of the community.” 

Costain added his props to Lone Mountain Land Company for prioritizing public access.  

“They are bullish on trails right now,” Costain said. “They could have just said, ‘well, Mountain to Meadow is gone—new housing development.’”  

He expects to see more trail connectivity throughout Big Sky in the near future, some made possible through partnerships with private landowners. 

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