Billings or Missoula??

sierra sleder

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Hi everyone. I am moving to Montana and I have the opportunity to move to either Missoula or to Billings. I wanted to get Montana resident sledder opinions on which of these towns has the best riding, closest sledding, and sled access. Also interested in dirt biking zones and access for moto as well. I already realize and understand the live ability pros and cons of these two areas, and the politics etc.... I am just looking for opinions on sleds and moto (the fun stuff).
Thank you.
 

Scott

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Well this outta be an interesting discussion....

Missoula is more "in the mountains" than Billings.
Missoula is more liberal.
Missoula is smaller.
NAIA football in Billings (maybe several hundred to a couple thousand fans in attendence)
NCAA FBS football in Missoula (U of M Griz games have 25k attendence).
Billings is less of a college town than Missoula.
Riding is closer to town in Missoula. Can ride in many directions and unload within 30 mins.
Billings is 3+ hours from Cooke City.
Missoula is about 5+ hours from Cooke.
Billings probably has wider temp range in winter.
In Missoula, riding goes from late Nov into June on MOST years.

This could go on for hours...
 
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sierra sleder

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Scott, thank you for the info. All good stuff to consider. Any other info on the western Missoula riding areas?
Anyone else please chime in.
Thanks.
 

Wheel House Motorsports

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I hate missoula as a town, I dislike the culture, people etc. Very little I do enjoy about it.

BUT, from a enviromental and location standpoint, let alone the quality of riding within 1-2 hours is not even comporable. Missoula is by far in a leauge of its own.

Billings has the Horns and the beartooth riding areas fairly close but all of that is very high elevation dryer, more alpine terrain. Its fun but IMO riding at 5k elevation in nice trees trumps 10k Alpine. There is a lot of really cool dirtbiking not too far from billings if your into gnarly rocky single track.

Personally I prefer the MT/ID border terrain over just about anything in the US so this makes missoula area a no brainer for me. You have seeley an hour away, Lolo same thing and tons of small local riding areas littered in just about every direction. Your in the mountains and fun is not far away. Missoula area also has plenty of access to Moto not too far away.
 
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Missoula for sure. Much more snowmobiling closer.

Billings is hotter and more in the plains/foothills. There is the BMC (Billings motorcycle club) for riding and south of Big Timber has good dirt biking though.

I'm not an expert on the dirt biking around Missoula, but probably less right around Missoula. However, there is a ton in Idaho around Wallace. There is some near Lost Trail, Pipestone, and Wise River. I'm not familiar with further north and west for single track though.
 

boondocker97

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I haven't spend much time in Missoula, so I can't speak much about what's close to there other than I know sledding is closer.

We've gotten a lot of snow in Billings the past couple years, but generally the winters are milder than other parts of the state. It snows and melts off pretty quickly most times. Gets HOT in the summer. The town is really spread out so you can easily have 1/2 hr commute to work depending on where you live/work.

Cooke City/Top of the World: 2-1/2 to 3 hr drive. Gets a lot of snow but can get tracked up quick with out of state traffic flocking in. You can ride Through May and into June up there though if you want. Terrain is as extreme as you want to get. Frequent snowfall means a lot of socked-in, flat light days. 9000'+

Big Horns: 2 to 2-1/2 hr drive. Get some out of state traffic as well. I usually wait until later in the season to ride there since it is pretty rocky. 9000'+

Some riding south of Big Timber 1-1/2 hr away, but I've never been there.

Buck Ridge and Taylor's Fork South of Big Sky:3 hr drive. Some of my favorite riding and snow quality is good. Unload low at 6500' and ride 5-9 rough trail miles to 9000' where the riding's at.

Little Belt Mtns to the northwest: 3 hr drive. Has the largest groomed trail system in the state I think (300 miles?). Best place IMO to take new riders or the family out. Mild weather and terrain, generally low avy danger, but there are still some holes to get into. 6500-9000'

One thing about always planning to drive is you basically pick wherever has the best snow and go.

For dirt biking there's the BMC club. Runs about $400/year membership with 26 work hr commitment. Right on the south edge of town and has 1400 acres of hills with single track trails, MX track, small SX track, endurocross track, flat track oval, and hill climbs with racing opportunities. BLM South Hills dirt bike area borders BMC, but is smaller. Big BLM single track area known as Elk Basin about an hour southwest by Belfry. This is high desert single track terrain with plenty of rocks mixed in. Wide open hill climbing terrain to the south in Cowley, WY. Mountain single track to the southwest of Absarokee. Pryor Mountains to the south have riding too, but wider ATV/SxS type trails.
 

sierra sleder

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Thank you very much guys. All very good info. I have some decisions to make and some exploring to do this summer. I’ll let you all know where I land this fall and will hopefully meet up with you all over time.
See you in the mountains.
Thanks
Casey.
 

96-ramair

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I live in Missoula, have lived in Billings and would agree with all points made. As a city, Missoula is the bomb. Great brewery and music scene, much less "big industrial city" vibe. Tons of summertime recreation longer fishing and mountain biking. Sledding is literally 30 minutes out of town, with many, many other destinations within 90 minutes. Check out the Missoula Snowgoers at http://www.missoulasnowgoers.org for club and trails information. We are a very active club with sledding events like the 2-day Winterfest that we put on every year.

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