On September 29, enjoy Bike Your Park Day, an amazing opportunity to experience Montana’s Basecamp for Art & Adventure. Bring your friends and family, or go solo to discover the bicycling opportunities, whether it’s a national park, state park, monument, historic site, recreation area, wildlife refuge, or parkway. September 29 is also National Public Lands Day, providing free entrance to some parks. Situated between both Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park, Great Falls Montana is your basecamp to fully enjoy Bike Your Park Day. For Bike Your Park Day, Glacier National Park is hosting the North Fork Road ride (56 miles), and Yellowstone is hosting the Old Faithful ride (60 miles).
Great Falls is home to Giant Springs State Park – Montana’s most visited State Park, First People’s Buffalo Jump State Park, Sluice Boxes State Park, and the River’s Edge Trail, giving you an unprecedented opportunity to get outside on your bike on a gorgeous autumn day. On Bike Your Park Day, you can enjoy 3 State Parks and still have time to enjoy great food and live music Saturday and Sunday after your outdoor adventures.
To take advantage of Bike Your Park Day, plan on beginning early Saturday morning. Make sure you have enough water, snacks, and air in your tires.
Sluice Boxes State Park has the famously rugged and pristine beauty Montana is famous for. While on the 7.5 mile trail, you will see the remains of mines, a railroad, and historic cabins lining Belt Creek as it winds through a beautiful canyon carved in limestone. The trail begins at the Riceville Bridge and ends at the Logging Creek Bridge.
First People’s Buffalo Jump State Park sits atop an archaeological site with the largest bison cliff jump in North America. Put your bike on the rack, and head south from Great Falls to Ulm (exit 270). Once you are safely off the highway, unload your bikes and head north on Ulm Vaughn Road. In 2 miles, you will arrive at the First People’s Buffalo Jump Visitor Center. Park your bike outside and enjoy the interpretive exhibits inside. Once you’ve experienced the visitor center, continue on your bike for another 4 miles to the Jump. Once at the top, you’ll enjoy a view of the Rocky Mountain Front where Buffalo once roamed, and every part of the animal was used. Continue west onto Goetz Road until you reach Barker Road, then turn south onto Luebbe Road until you reach 5th Avenue, taking you back to Ulm Vaughn Road. Be sure to have your camera during the 12-mile round-trip adventure.
Giant Springs State Park hosts a variety of cycling options throughout the year, and Bike Your Park Day will be a great opportunity to experience Montana’s most visited state park. Weaving through Giant Springs State Park is the River’s Edge Trail, allowing you to bike as many as 60 miles throughout Great Falls. Beginning at Giant Springs State Park, enjoy the 2.1 mile Giant Springs Loop that takes you past the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. If you’ve never been here, stop inside to enjoy the large displays that perfectly capture the Corps of Discovery. The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center houses North America’s largest collection of artifacts from the famous 1803-05 expedition. Continue west on the trail to experience the breathtaking splendor of Black Eagle Falls. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can continue west on the trail to the 3.5 mile Urban loop that takes you past Gibson Park, past downtown, and across 2 pedestrian-safe bridges.
There are so many ways to celebrate Bike Your Park Day, and we invite you experience the rugged adventure Great Falls offers on this amazing day!