406dad: Mountain Biking in Missoula with Kids
Most kids around the country learn to ride bicycles at an early age, but very few progress to the joy and rewards of mountain biking. Trail riding in the mountains, desert and forests offer an experience that unfortunately few children (and adults) get to experience.
Montana offers many programs for kids to learn mountain bike skills as well as trail etiquette, mountain stewardship and race lessons. Missoula offers two of the best programs in the state – Zootown Derailleurs and Missoula Mammoths.
Zootown Derailleurs is affiliated with Missoula Parks & Recreation and offers classes and programs from ages 2 to 18. Missoula Mammoths is a National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) team and targets middle school and high school kids grades 6th-12th and has a focus on racing.
The Rattlesnake National Recreational Area known for its challenging climbs and technical downhills actually offers a variety of mild and intermediate trails perfect for youngsters learning to progress on the trails. The main corridor is a road with a very mild grade that offers spectacular scenery and great viewpoints of Rattlesnake Creek. There’s often a chance of a distant bear sighting to add excitement to the ride.
Blue Mountain Recreation Area covers 4,900 acres and provides a vast trail system for bikers and hikers. Although most of the trails can be advanced and meant for intermediate to advanced riders, there are plenty of beginner options at lower elevations.
The Montana weather of course provides all types of riding conditions and it’s not unusual to see kids riding the trails or around the neighborhood in heavy jackets.
As always with kids who are just learning new sports, make it an enjoyable experience, don’t push too hard at first, and always, always wear your helmet!
For more information on Zootown Derailleurs on Missoula Mammoths, go to their websites.
Download the Trailforks app to get detailed trail and riding information for the Rattlesnake and Blue Mountain recreational areas.
For more information on mountain biking and trail advocacy in the Missoula area, visit MTB Missoula.