By Leslie Kilgore
The Mountain to Meadow trail offers world-class adventure with a night in Big Sky’s lively Town Center
The saying often goes in western ski towns that people come for the winters but stay for the summers. In Big Sky, that certainly reigns true for many reasons, but mostly for the access residents and visitors have to world-class outdoor adventures alongside a lively and vibrant town.
Big Sky was designed with the idea that communities can live and congregate close together while still escaping to the wilderness not far from home. Some of the best hiking, biking, fishing, river rafting and pretty much anything else you can do outdoors in the Rocky Mountains is just minutes from where most locals lay their weary heads at night, after a day in the woods or on the river and nights at live music concerts, theater performances, art auctions, farmers markets and more.
One of the highlights of those summer activities in Big Sky is the mountain biking experience, Mountain to Meadow. The aptly named trail features more than four miles of vistas, wildflowers, perfectly sculpted berms, rollers, and a few optional jumps for some of the best trail riding in Southwest Montana.
Beginning at Big Sky Resort, the trail can be accessed by cross country riders from the resort’s base area parking lot. For those more experienced riders, the adventure begins from the lift-serviced trail Snake Charmer after riding the eight-person Ramcharger 8 lift, which makes the entire experience even more invigorating.
Thousands of feet below the trailhead and at the end of the long bike ride, Big Sky’s Town Center awaits. At the base of the trail, bikers will find bars, restaurants, a brewery, live music most nights of the week and the public and free Skyline bus, which can bring those who don’t want to shuttle two cars back to the base of Big Sky Resort before or after riding.
Mountain to Meadow is a well-maintained, extensive mountain biking experience that ends with a fun après scene in a lively summer mountain town. It really doesn’t get much better. For those new to mountain biking, Big Sky Resort has 50 miles of lift-serviced trails, many suitable for beginners. They also offer lessons, bike and helmet rentals and knee and elbow pads.
When planning your Mountain to Meadow ride, two of the best days to do so are on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Every Wednesday from June through September Big Sky’s Town Center comes alive during the Big Sky Farmers Market that runs between 5 and 8 p.m. Not your typical farmers market, Big Sky’s features live music, local food trucks, several blocks of vendors selling art, clothing, jewelry, local produce and meats, and other Montana-made treasures. When starting out on your mountain bike ride and ending on Mountain to Meadow, be sure to pack your wallet so you can enjoy what Wednesday nights in Big Sky have to offer all summer long.
On Thursday nights, from mid-June to September, the Arts Council of Big Sky hosts Music in the Mountains, one of the best free, outdoor concert series in Montana. Nationally touring bands hit the stage weekly at Len Hill Park in the center of town while the sun sets behind the 11,000- foot Lone Peak. Locals and visitors set up chairs and blankets, picnics, peruse the food trucks surrounding the venue, and dance front and center at the intimate stage all night. When taking the Skyline bus prior to the concert, Mountain to Meadow is the best way to end a day on the bike trails along with stopping at the many bars and restaurants that surround the park in Town Center.
While downhill mountain biking sounds intimidating to some, if you’ve ever had an interest in trying this high-adrenaline sport, Big Sky Resort is a great place to start. And the Mountain to Meadow trail makes the experience that much better.
For more information on bike rentals and lessons, lift tickets, the Big Sky Farmer’s Market and the Music in the Meadow lineup for 2023, you can visit the following resources.
Big Sky Resort Mountain Biking:
Big Sky Farmer’s Market:
Music in the Mountains, Big Sky: