All distances are miles out and back, starting in Gibson Park. There are ways to loop some of these rides but the loops would have to include sections of gravel road.
Eden, 42 miles. A favorite ride for cyclists who enjoy a good workout and great scenery. Ride starts with 6 miles of flat warm up on busy Lower River Road before heading into some of the toughest hills and least-traveled roads around Great Falls. This ride takes you up to the foot of the Little Belt Mountains before a big drop into Eden, a small ranch community at the end of the asphalt. No food or water on this route so bring your own. Be ready for cooler temps.
Stockett, 43 miles. Head east out of Great Falls on the four-lane to the Stockett turnoff then right up a well-paved, moderately traveled, nearly flat road to Stockett. From Stockett, climb 700 feet to the top of
Stockett Hill, then down to Giffen Coulee and the end of the asphalt. This route winds through a historic and scenic abandoned coal-mining district. Food and water possible at the Centerville Bar.
Highwood Road to Belt, 60 miles. Pick a day with less or easterly wind to enjoy this light to moderately traveled back road to Belt. Be advised, the return trip is very tough when the Chinooks are blowing. The route has a nice mixture of flats, hills, and rollers with a 400-foot hill near midway. Restaurants, groceries, and a busy shortcut home are available in Belt. Pavement is very nice. Nice views of the Highwood Mountains and Belt Creek.
Southwest Great Falls, Distance varies. Lots of variety on these generally smooth, light to moderately traveled rural residential roads. Great place to go if you have limited time or the weather is threatening. Several side roads have tough power climbs that will test the fittest riders. Nice easy cruise to Woodland Estates loop on Flood Road. Brand new asphalt on the south end of Flood Road and Fox Farm Road.
Ulm, 15 miles. Cruise the I-15 frontage road from the airport to Ulm. Heads straight southwest so be ready on windy days. From the park, take Rivers Edge Trail across Central Avenue Bridge, Bay Drive, Sixth Street Northwest, climb Gore Hill on the interstate and then enjoy the lightly traveled, smooth road to Ulm.
Ulm Pishkun Time Trial, 7 miles. From Ulm, head north on a newly paved, very lightly traveled road 3.5 miles to the Ulm-Pishkun visitor center. This road has a nice variety of rolling, twisty, scenic views and makes a great time-trial course.
Smith River, 65+ miles. Another outstanding opportunity to enjoy quiet, smooth roads in beautiful scenery. From Ulm, head south on SH 330 for as far as you care to ride. Slightly sheltered and generally cross wind of the Chinooks. This is a favorite ride for long, steady distance with only a few hills. No food or water except at Ulm so bring your own.
Cascade, 50+ miles. From Ulm, head southwest on the frontage road for a flat, light to moderately traveled ride. Views of the Missouri River and Cascade Butte make an otherwise average ride more interesting. Continue southwest past Cascade for another 25 miles along Recreation Road for outstanding scenery and lots of good fishing.
Vaughn / Stingers, 47 miles. The Stingers are a pair of challenging hills on the frontage road between Vaughn and Power. Improved pavement and a generally cross wind direction makes this a good change of pace ride. Follow Sun River Road west out of town to Manchester Road, etc. Traffic is light to moderate closer to town but there is almost none on the frontage road.
Benton Lake, 28 miles. Rough pavement with moderate traffic. Nice climb and lake views.
Morony Dam, 32 miles. Flat ride along lightly traveled farm roads. Nice drop to Missouri River at the end of the road.