A locals guide to September in Whitefish
The morning light is coming later, and the temps are staying cool. I wake up my friends that have come to Whitefish to mountain bike and enjoy the area for a long weekend.
Our day will be spent riding the lifts and trails at Whitefish Mountain Resort’s bike park. The bike park resembles the culture of the winter months at the ski resort. Meeting up with friends, taking the chair lift up, riding your favorite trails, and celebrating the day’s adventures.
First stop on the way is the Alpine Village Market north of the viaduct in Whitefish. I can get everything I need for a day in the mountains and top off the gas tank in one stop. With a fresh coffee and bacon jalapeno burrito in hand, it’s off to the mountain! We’ll head to Village Rentals to grab tickets and downhill bikes and armor for my friends for the day. My friends brought their trail bikes, but are excited to try to full squish and stability of a downhill bike. I’m excited to try out a fresh pair of gloves I picked up from Great Northern Cycle & Ski the day before. Everyone loves new gear!
Time to ride and take a couple runs on the Badrock chair. This new zone of shorter, intermediate flow trails is a great place to warm up, and for my friends to get the ride dialed in on their bikes. Money turns out to be my group’s favorite run in the Badrock zone. After a few runs, we’re ready to head up Chair 1 to the Summit. The views are amazing in September! Larch needles are starting to turn gold, and snow is present on the not so distant peaks of Glacier National Park. Taking the lift up makes for a full day of enjoying the flowing downhills and not worrying about tiring out on the climbs. We head straight to Kashmir, the bread and butter flow of the mountain. Later on, we’ll hit Runaway Train, my personal favorite. This trail has it all! Rocks, technical steeps, fast corners, singletrack, and photo ops. We venture to one of my favorite late season huckleberry stashes in between runs for a quick burst of berry energy. Keep an eye on elevation and aspect, and you’ll find hucks well into September. We’ll finish up the day with another run on Kashmir. Once you find your flow on a bike, it feels like skiing or riding powder in the trees.
A full day of riding the bike park with friends certainly works up an appetite and a thirst. We’ll make a post ride stop at Last Chair Kitchen and Bar for one of my favorite apps in the valley - Totchos! We order a couple Montana brews to wash down the salty, cheesy goodness. I’m starting to think about the not so distant winter seeing the vintage skis along the walls. On the way to my house, we make a quick stop at Bonsai Brewing Project to fill a growler.
The day will continue for my friends and I with a casual Friday evening bike ride from my house to downtown Whitefish. We put in a solid full day of riding and are craving burgers, street tacos, sandwiches, and live music. The Craggy Range is my go to place for a variety of food and entertaining visiting friends. We share a few stories of the day, trade bites of our meals, catch up on friends, and enjoy some live music from a local favorite. With full stomachs, we ride around through the railway district taking the long way back to the house. We talk of hiking or fly fishing tomorrow. Perhaps we’ll have another day in the bike park. The fall air is cool, and the stars have a warm glow to them. Maybe I’m not ready for winter. Maybe fall can stay with us, and the lifts can keep the bike carriers flying.
- As told by Kate A, Bike Patrol and Trail Crew Lead at Whitefish Mountain Resort
Gateway to Natural Lands Surrounding Whitefish
The Whitefish Trail is a user supported, community-driven asset providing 36 miles of natural surface trails and 10 trailheads/connectors located in a forested, rural environment. The diverse trail system is appropriate for outdoor enthusiasts and families including hikers, dog walkers, mountain bikers, horseback riders and runners of all abilities.
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