PHOTOS COURTESY SWMMBA
There aren’t many trails that are suitable for young mountain bikers around southwest Montana, but that’s changed thanks to Copper City trails, a project of the Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association (SWMMBA). While the trails at Copper City are great for riders of all abilities, several of the loops are optimized for beginners, and the system was JEFF WHITNEY developed with young riders in mind. Green Eagle, Copper City’s designated beginner loop, includes several “freestyle” trail features geared toward skills development. All features include “ride-arounds,” or ways to avoid a feature if it appears to be too intimidating, and the loop itself has a mellow grade and long lines of sight, meaning you can always see what’s coming. In 2019, SWMMBA completed phase three of the Copper City project, which includes other youth- and family-focused amenities like a skills park, pump track, a shaded picnic area, informational kiosks and a vault toilet. If your summer plans include exploring new trails, put Copper City on your list. To get there, head west on I-90 to the Highway 287 exit. Before continuing north on Highway 287, grab breakfast and a coffee at Wheat Montana—you’ll need the calories! Once you’re back on the highway, look for Copper City Road, just past the herd of horse sculptures on the west side of the road. To learn more about Copper City, to donate, or volunteer, visit southwestmontanamba.org.