Copper City Trails is a project by the Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association in partnership the Bureau of Land Management. The plan calls for 18+/- miles of bike-optimized trails, open to hikers and trail runners. The project encompasses a wide range of trails including beginner-friendly trails, technical ridge trails, flow trails, and two downhill-only bike-only trails. There will also be a youth-focused skills park with dirt jumps and a pump track catering to all ages and abilities.
Phase 3 Now Under Construction
With the completion of Green Eagle, a green level beginner friendly flow trail winding through the sage brush covered hills of Copper City, SWMMBA and the BLM had an immediate success. Phase One saw nearly four miles of foot and bike optimized cross country trail built in a short four months. Phase One finished in 2017.
With thousands of yearly visitors and hundreds of engaged volunteers, Copper City expanded with the addition of over ten miles of trail in six short months. Between the impressive support of the local communities to the incredible involvement of individuals across southwestern Montana, this project has grown quickly as one of Montana’s favorite places to ride. Phase Two finished in 2018.
Help us complete the third and final phase of Copper City. Over the last 3 years we have built Montana's most successful trail system with your generous support. Now, with your support we can finish more than two miles of brand new sustainable flow trail, complete navigational signage, finish the parking lot, build a shade structure, and install educational kiosks. Phase Three will begin in Spring of 2019.
History You Ride Through
Copper City Trails is located just outside of Three Forks Montana. The history of mining in the area dates back to 1300 BC where the peoples of Pelican Lake mined for chert. By the late 1800’s early settlers to Gallatin County recognized colors in the rock outcroppings and found gold in a massive boulder of copper quartz. After digging directly beneath the boulder, the shaft yielded several mining car loads of high grade ore, causing considerable interest from several mining companies. The newcomers staked out a number of mines and got to work.
Through the 1880’s, mining companies dwindled with little success. In 1889, a number of the claims were purchase by one of the leading capitalists in the area. Local residents speculated that a smelter would be built near Three Forks and the town would be chosen as the state capitol, but when the financial crisis of 1893 hit, a number of the mining companies took a turn for the worse. Nearing the turn of the century, the mining in Copper City continued to decline for various reasons as the town of Three Forks flourished.