BLUE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL RECREATION TRAIL
Elevation gain: 2,460 feet (from 4,000 feet to 6,460 feet)
Blue Mountain is one of the few places near Missoula that has off-road motorcycle and four-wheeled ATV trails. The motorcycle/ATV trailhead is three miles up Forest Road No. 365 on the left (south) side of the road.
An extensive network of trails originates at this trailhead, providing access to the southern portion of the Recreation Area. Like other Blue Mountain trails, those in this network are classified to accommodate different trail uses. ATV-ers can use four miles of trail here. Motorcyclists can use the ATV trails as well as another eight miles of trails. (See map.)
Bicyclists, equestrians and hikers can use all of the trails in this network, but many prefer other Blue Mountain routes where motorized vehicles are not allowed. One such trail begins at the motorcycle-ATV trailhead and continues east for about two miles to the National Recreation Trail trailhead at the base of Blue Mountain.
Several of the motor-vehicle trails pass over or near Hayes Creek, where you'll find stands of western red cedar. Hayes Point is a popular destination in this part of the Recreation Area, and it can be accessed by both motorcycle and ATV.
Deadman Ridge Trail to Blue Mountain lookout is another favorite, but because of its difficulty, it should be used only be expert motorcyclists. ATVs are not permitted on this trail.
If you're planning to try these trails, pick up a Blue Mountain Recreation Area brochure from a Forest Service or Chamber of Commerce visitor center. The brochure provides more detailed information on what uses are permitted on different trails in this network.
There's ample parking and a loading ramp at the trailhead. Remember that if your vehicle isn't licensed for street use, you must transport it to the trailhead with a licensed vehicle. During fire season, off-road motor vehicles must be equipped with spark arresters and riders must have a bucket and shovel. Helmets suffice for buckets and many people carry small folding shovels.
CLICK ON THE MAP FOR A LARGER IMAGE