Destinations: Whitefish Bike Retreat

Nov 21, 2013 at 11:03
by Projekt Roam  

It was one of those brilliant and crisp late summer mornings. Bird calls resonated throughout the forest, harmonizing with the hum of bike tires, creating a relaxing background melody. The two of us were exploring the Whitefish Trail system, dodging bears and spying on bushy tailed foxes, when we stumbled upon a small, strategically placed sign and side trail. Whitefish Bike Retreat, the sign read, with an arrow pointing off through the trees in a different direction. Intrigued, we diverted along the smaller path and quickly made our way along more staple, Montana single track.

The Whitefish Bike Retreat

The end of our route deposited us in front of a huge and inviting converted barn, nestled in the heart of the growing Whitefish Trail system. Lofty pines bordered the drive as we made our way up to the bunk house, the main building of the Whitefish Bike Retreat. Peace and serenity radiated from the surroundings. We couldn't believe we had stumbled upon this incredible haven in the middle of the forest, amidst a trail system full of amazing single track.

Our impromptu side trip could not have been more impeccably timed as well. As we rolled to a stop, gaping in wonder at our surroundings, an adorable Heeler dog bounds up, taunting us playfully with a ridiculously large stick and wagging tail. Just mere moments later we were greeted warmly by the smiling proprietor, Cricket Butler, who just so happened to be heading up to the bunk house and was more than happy to give us a tour of the place. Curious to find out what exactly we had stumbled upon, we gladly accepted.

It was love at first sight. As soon as you step into the foyer, you are greeted with a spacious open floor plan, while exposed wooden beams and supports lend solidity to the structure. Upcycled bike parts of mismatched origins tastefully and creatively adorn the interior of the Bike Retreat, providing functionality in many instances as well. Comfy couches and an assortment of movies are tucked away in one corner for evening relaxation and down time. Everything about the place was so well thought out; tasteful accompanied by a touch of Montana rustic, with a flair for modern. It was quickly proving itself to be an amazing place to stay while you were on a bike-cation.

As we conversed with Cricket she inundated us, in a good way, with a list of all the amenities her Retreat provided. The downstairs portion of the main bunk lodge was equipped with a communal kitchen, separate mens' and womens' full baths with showers, and a very roomy indoor common area. Upstairs boasts private rooms, gender specific bunk rooms, and a half bath along with picturesque views of the evergreens outside.

The Whitefish Bike Retreat

Complimentary, secured indoor bicycle storage is available and if you need to tune up your bike in preparation for the radically good biking times your about to have, there is a clean, well stocked bike workshop to get your stuff dialed; all open and available for guests. For a full compilation of all the wonderful things the Bike Retreat has to offer, including shuttle services, take a few minutes to peruse their website Whitefish Bike Retreat.

Tranquil tent sites, tucked away among fragrant pines, are available for guests looking to go au natural and camp outdoors. A bonus of camping here is the communal indoor and outdoor amenities and services are open to camping guests as well.

After taking a moment to wash off the remnants of a stellar day of riding from your bike in the last of the sun's warming rays, the full weight of the relaxing atmosphere sets in. The outdoor rec area, with its toasty fire pit, beckons. The grill awaits. Yet another perfect touch to wrap up a sensational day.

I wasn't surprised to hear that a common theme among guests, ourselves included, is how taken aback everyone is at how much the Whitefish Bike Retreat truly has to offer. From the aromatic scents of freshly brewed, locally roasted coffee and baked goods greeting you in the mornings, to the shuttle services and a growing trail network right out the front door. It's a complete package, a wonderful place to stay and really feel comfortable and at home.

As amazing as that all is, I think it is the genuine hospitality that wholly envelopes you during the entire stay that really stands out. This friendly and welcoming atmosphere that emanates from the cozy hostel permeates the entire town as well; from the populace you bump into on the abundant trails to the locals that greet you with a smile and wave downtown.

It's easy to discern why Cricket decided to permanently call Whitefish home in early 2012. "...Whitefish has always felt like home to me-from my first visit 20 years ago. I am attracted to the remoteness, severity of weather, the wildlife, and boundless wilderness areas here. There is no other place like Montana and I really wanted my sons to grow up with all this!"

And speaking of Cricket's two young sons, she has to be doing something right, for they are quite adept at helping Mom to run the place; proving themselves to be budding business entrepreneurs as well. If you're fortunate enough to spend some time here, you just might encounter them running the on-sight mini general store that provides basic essentials, including maps, snacks, and quick fix bike gear.

Overall, the Whitefish Bike Retreat was one of my favorite places to be when I spent time in Montana this past summer. I knew we would be returning to the Retreat time and again regardlessly, but when Cricket mentioned she would be offering fat bike rentals for biking in the snow, I knew we would be heading back in the snowy season as well. How awesome is that going to be considering the area has a local ski resort, to get a bike and board fix all in one trip?!

Needless to say, the Whitefish Bike Retreat is as delightful and multifaceted as the town and state it resides in. When I asked Cricket what she felt three important things about the Bike Retreat were that she would like people to know and she said, "Come stay, wake up, and ride!" I couldn't have said it more perfectly myself.

If you would like a more in depth look at what the local riding area has to offer, check out our PROJEKT ROAM: Landscapes Vol 3, featuring the Whitefish Trail system, right outside the door of the Whitefish Bike Retreat in Whitefish, MT.

Views: 30,540    Faves: 98    Comments: 18

Projekt Roam was founded by husband and wife, Colt and Jessee Maule in 2010. It has been their mission to travel North America in search of places that celebrate the unparalleled beauty and freedom of not only the bike, but the terrain we ride as well. Plan your own trip to Whitefish, MT and check out more photos and info about Whitefish, Montana here.

If you're interested in being featured on Destinations, we would like to hear from you:

Words: Jessee Maule
Photos/Film: Colt & Jessee Maule (August 2013)
Riders: Colt & Jessee Maule

For more work by Projekt Roam:


  • 6 0
 I would agree about the bike park two years ago.....However, last year they put in a serious amount of labor and effort and have new trails....Freebird and Kashmir are sweet runs.....It is much, much better.
  • 1 0
 I was out there a couple of days after opening day and man was it a blast!
  • 1 0
 This is still a sweet place to go for a vacation. I may have to make plans to go out there maybe
  • 8 0
 Montana represent!
  • 2 0
 I've been going to Whitefish in the winter since 2008, but this year was the first time I went in summer to bike. I spent a day at the bike park and it was fun - only a few trails, but they're buff, flowy and have some decent vert, and the lift passes are cheap. And the apres is always good - Whitefish is a happening little town and there's always something going on. If you're heading out that way, it's well worth a stop. That second trail looked like a blast - I shall be looking for that one next summer for sure,
  • 2 0
 The ski hill added a few big hit trails last year by the end of the season. I have ridden all over BC including Whistler, Sun Peaks, Silver Star, Fernie, Panorama, and Kicking Horse and Whitefish Mountain Resort is finally stepping up. Their two jump trails are Whistler quality and they are high quality. The trails were not quite finished until late season, so if you visited early season you missed out. Check out the vid. iframe width="560" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>/iframe>
  • 6 0
 Must visit
  • 1 0
 I went here last summer, and It was a great experience. Sadly, I didn't get to do any of the good trails because I only had my Schwinn (my parents didn't want to rent me a bike), but as I went up the lift, there was only like 7 guys up there, and they were ripping down these really awesome trail. Hopefully next summer I can come back up....with a better bike!
  • 2 0
 Nice work Projekt Roam... Been living in Whitefish for 20 years and it's cool to see the local riding getting the respect it deserves. Our other little secret is hundreds of miles of epic backcountry trails!
  • 1 0
 Glad you liked our work, thx!
  • 2 2
 i visited the lift access bike park two years ago, and was a bit disappointed. There was only a few trails, and they were not in the best condition, not to mentioin there where no real dh worthy trails. The lift was brutally slow... the bike retreat however looks phenomenal! defiantly a new place to visit on ever growing list haha
  • 4 1
 There are way more trails around Whitefish, MT than just the ski resort, and this article if focusing on this rad retreat. Its disappointing to hear that you did not have a good time at the resort, we have heard the resort has been improved since your visit. Sounds like you missed out on some incredible riding...... Maybe next time stay at the Whitefish Bike Retreat and discover what this article is all about Smile
  • 1 0
 Also, if you enjoy skiing/snowboarding, whitefish is an amazing place for that. Beat the crowds of fernie/banff and drive a couple extra hours to whitefish. It's well worth it!
  • 1 0
 article is BS there is nothing about the whitefish area that is worth your time. stay home and ride your own trails. leave these alone... i like them the way they are... empty. lol
  • 4 1
 See! No slow motion. That's the way it should be. Great vid.
  • 1 0
 Glad you enjoyed, thx for watching!
  • 3 4
 Went there this sure with my 6 year old on out way home from whistler. We were super bummed that there were no green trails off the main chair. We had planned on riding there that day and our only option was to ride front the mid mountain parking lot to the lower lot on the green trail. The chair that connects the two doesn't allow bikes so we had to run our own shuttle. The only plus was that the lift ride back to the truck was free, but seriously bikes on the lift for the beginner trails?!? You are already running the lift for tourists and the alpine slide, figure out a bike rack and we would gladly pay! If my son can't ride there I'm not either.
  • 5 1
 Cool story bro...this article you are commenting on has nothing to do with the Whitefish Bike Resort...
  • 2 6
flag backyardrails (Nov 29, 2013 at 14:26) (Below Threshold)
 "Bro," just commenting on an experience at whitefish resort, not many articles or stories on pb reference whitefish so I chimed in. Sorry if it offended your "experience" stumbling upon a bike retreat in the woods...sounded much more like a sponsored story than a real life happening.
  • 3 0
 Thanks for sharing...
  • 3 0
 @backyardrails What are you trying to say? or more to the point, WTF? Jessee and Colt do an awesome job messaging mountain biking wherever they find it. If it sounds like a commercial, read between the lines. A business like Whitefish Bike Retreat deserves our attention as they too are promoting and facilitating a lifestyle that we can all enjoy and relate to. I would love to experience Whitefish riding with the Resort as a basecamp. So cool!
  • 1 2
 Nice Photos, Awesome Video and Write Up about the Whitefish area in MT, been to the area there a few times myself over the years. MT is a nice place to visit for a lot of outdoor actives. (((BUT, Cricket Bulter is joke of a mtb rider, just dirt roadie from the drag queen city.))) Time to watch another awesome video from Projekt Roam!
  • 2 1
 Excuse me... Are you talking about Cricket Butler, The Cricket Butler that won the Tour Divide, the race known as the hardest mountain-bike race on the planet. A race from Canada to Mexico following the Continental Divide. Well I have taken that Cricket Butler on some of the most technical trails anywhere and she rode them like the champion she is. I think if your going to be calling anyone a Joke, you should be looking in the mirror!
  • 1 0
 The "Tour Ride" is not a real race, it is a amazing tour ride to do with a lot of challenges that go across beautiful landscapes of the America's. Glad you get to ride with the Cricket, maybe you will learn something from her. I am looking forward to be in MT this coming summer and to visit the Bike Retreat. Enjoy the Ride.
  • 1 0
 "not a real race"? lol
  • 1 0
 Glad to hear the parks been revamped, and like I said I would love to go back there and check more stuff out!
  • 2 0
 Its a good park. Definitely reccomend going!
  • 1 0
 Sweet. The family goes down to Koocanusa every summer. Time to bring a bike with me!
  • 1 0
 Way to go Pinkbike crowd....crash their site. Probably never had so many visitors.
  • 2 0
 going there next summer
  • 2 0
 love whitefish!
  • 1 0
 I really enjoy these destination articles. They give me hopes and dreams.
  • 2 0
  • 1 0
 Toilet roll holder envy haha !
  • 1 0
 Another to place added to bucket list
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