Alpine #7 Trail

Offering some of the most stunning ridge crest riding in the northern Rockies, the Alpine #7 experience is a particularly rewarding (and technical) one. This trail is most often ridden as a series of day rides, but it can also be enjoyed as a bikepack over a few days, as a longer loop combined with part of the Great Divide MTB Route, or an absolutely massive one-day effort.

Swan Lake, MT

Ktunaxa Nation

14,000'

ELEVATION GAIN

Mid-summer/ early Fall

riding season

3+

days out

8

PHYSICAL challenge (1-10*)

-

women's FKT

76

miles

8

TECHNICAL challenge (1-10*)

-

men's FKT

Stewarded by the Flathead Area Mountain Bikers

Managed by Flathead National Forest

* Following the bikepacking Roots rating scale

route map and download

Disclaimer: This route and associated information is just a starting point for your preparation, and your safety is your own responsibility. Although this route, its GPS track and waypoints, route data, and the route guide were prepared after extensive research, their accuracy and reliability are not guaranteed. Check for current conditions, route updates, detours, use common sense, obey local laws and regulations, and travel with alternative means of navigation. The Backcountry Bike Challenge and its creators and contributors will in no way be responsible for personal injury or damage to personal property arising in conjunction with following this route or utilizing any of the route resources provided on this website or via RWGPS.

General route description

The Alpine #7 Trail traverses along the crest of the north-south running Swan Range. The trail offers stunning views into the Bob Marshall Wilderness to the east and across Swan Lake to the Mission Mountains and Flathead Valley to the west. The trail offers absolutely incredible mountain riding, often traversing bench-cut singletrack along steep mountain slopes, crossing passes from the west to east and back, all while ascending and descending steep, rocky slopes. Much of the route is at or above treeline. When among the vegetation, huckleberries abound. This is a physically and technically demanding trail, so anticipate relatively slow progress!

The route does drop all the way off the range crest and to the valley floor at one point, bypassing the section of the Alpine #7 Trail that crosses the Jewel Lake Hiking Area (which prohibits bike access).

Photos by Kurt Refsnider

additional route information

  • Natural water sources are somewhat regular along the Alpine #7 trail, although there are several high and dry sections of ridge riding.
  • Treat all water.
  • There are no additional services along the trail.
  • The route is entirely on public lands aside from the short section where the route drops all the way down to the edge of the Flathead Valley
  • Camping opportunities along the trail are abundant.
  • If riding the full loop with the Great Divide MTB Route, public lands and camping options along the latter are relatively limited.
  • Follow the bike route provided here. The Jewel Lake section of the Alpine #7 Trail is closed to bikes.

  • This is grizzly bear habitat. Carry bear spray, make noise, and secure your food properly when camping (bear hang or canister 100yds downwind from camp). 
  • There are sections of the route with steep, alpine exposure. Ride within your limits.
  • This route traverses sensitive alpine landscapes. Please stay on the trail, and when hiking your bike, push your bike within the bounds of the trail tread. 

  • Attempts to complete this route in a single day have traditionally been done in a northbound direction.

your rides on this route

Click here for the Ride with GPS FKT Leaderboard