Montana ATV Trails
The Best Montana ATV Trails
When it comes to ATV trail riding, Montana is ideal because it offers only breathtaking landscapes and a grand diversity of terrain, but it also boasts one of the lowest population densities of any state (six people per square mile and the fourth largest in size) and so offers you mile after mile of ATV riding adventures without anyone getting in your way. The wildlife indigenous to the state can up the fun factor too, as you keep an eye peeled for grizzly bears, wolves, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, bison, and mountain goats. So, perhaps you’re wondering where to ride ATVs when you’re in Montana? Or which are the best OHV trails Montana offers? Or you might be asking yourself, “where can I find ATV trails near me if I live in the Montana?” Below is a list of just a few of the most popular Montana ATV trails, compiled by the experts at Treadworld, with location information and websites where available.
Location: In the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, less than an hour from West Yellowstone, MT
Located in the largest of the national forests in Montana, the 3.35 million-acre Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, this ATV riding trail is a favorite with local 4-wheeler riders because it’s suitable for riders of all skill levels, and because the scenery is inspiringly awesome as the trail climbs over the mountains, crosses valleys, and passes a couple of small lakes and streams.
Blacktail Wild Bill
Location: West of Lakeside, MT, Flathead County in northwestern Montana
Currently this area offers around 15 miles for ATV trail riding, and there are plans for future expansion. How this area came to be an ATV-riders paradise, through hard work and teamwork, makes a good Blacktail Wild Bill story. Here you’ll find a mixture of gravel roads, hardpack, and soft soil with occasional chunk rock, while you enjoy light to moderate elevation changes. Scattered obstacles have been added throughout the trail system by local club members to make the trail fun for those looking for an additional challenge, though bypass segments have also been added for novice ATV riders.
Blue Mountain ATV Trail
Location: Two miles southwest of Missoula, MT, Missoula County in midwestern middle of the state
One of the most popular ATV riding trails around Missoula, MT, the Blue Mountain Recreation Area spans 5,550 acres of wilderness including more than 20 miles of outdoor trails, many of which are ATV-friendly, marked by spectacular views of Missoula Valley along with the Sapphire and Rattlesnake Mountains, with a forest fire lookout station at the end.
Location: South of Helena, MT, Lewis and Clark County in central western Montana
In this 5,800-acre area you’ll find a wonderful, wooded experience for 4-wheeler riding, with 11 miles of professionally designed, constructed and signed trails, mostly hardpack and some sand. The trails have multiple loops, and you should expect some mud, some rocky terrain, and a few steep hills and water crossings.
Glendive Short Pine OHV Area
Location: Six miles south of Glendive on Marsh Road, MT, Dawson County central eastern Montana
This 2,800-acre area adjacent to Makoshika State Park is crisscrossed by an array of ATV and UTV riding trails offering both easy rides and steep challenges. The trails are mostly hardpack through scattered juniper trees and scrub brush, with some loose dirt and sand, lots of dust and enough mudding trails to satisfy most riders. Expect steep hills with great views at the top, some small jumps, a few large jumps and a few gravel pits.
Koocanusa Sand Dunes and Trail System
Location: Between Lake Koocanusa and Sophie Lake, just north of Eureka, MT, south of the Canadian border
Near the Canadian border and serving as a gateway to British Columbia’s trail system, this 3,000-acre area offers sand dunes up to 40 feet tall and play pits, along with 20 miles of trails running through wooded forest surrounding the reservoir. The 4-wheeler trails here are well-suited for riders of all skill levels. Most of the area is open riding with the exception of some marked Native American burial grounds. The original site of the City of Rexford is under the water here, and when the water recedes, portions of old concrete foundations are visible.
Magruder Corridor OHV Trail
Location: 18 miles southwest of Darby, MT, Ravalli County central western Montana
The Magruder Corridor offers some of the best Montana off-road trails while connecting Idaho and Montana. The sometimes paved, sometimes moderately rocky trail starts from Elk City in Idaho, winds through a vast undeveloped area, offering ATV and UTV riders peace and pristine beauty, as well as towering pines and expansive mountain views—before it ends in Darby, Montana. The corridor was named for Lloyd Magruder, a successful merchant in the 1860s who was robbed and thrown off a cliff by four outlaws – who were later rounded up, brought back to trial and hung, in 1864.
Ringing Rocks Trail
Location: 18 miles east of Butte and north of I90, Silver Bow County southcentral western Montana
The 12-mile Ringing Rocks Trail is aptly named because the trail is often rocky, with some large boulders, and because the rocks often ring like bells when struck with a hammer. The scientific reasoning explaining why differing pitches and timbres emanate from thousands of rocks in the formation is a little vague, and some Montanans prefer a more mystical explanation, especially since legend has it that rocks taken out of the formation no longer ring. It is believed that the ringing is a combination of the composition of the rock and the way the joining patterns have developed as the rocks have eroded away. This is a spectacular forest setting, and the ATV and UTV riding is rated as requiring moderate or less experience.
Shepherd Ah Nei Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA)
Location: C A Rd, Shepherd, MT
This SRMA is essentially broken into two halves, with over 50 miles of Montana OHV trails through large expanses of grasslands surrounded by ponderosa pines and junipers on 1,062 acres to the south, and around 4,000 acres more suited to hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, picnicking, and birdwatching to the north. Mostly hardpack trails are marked, and form multiple loops. Expect some loose dirt, a few mud bogs when weather permits, some sand, some rocks, several steep hills and small jumps, and a few large jumps and berms.