Cycle the Divide - Montana
Sample our heralded Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, fully supported and load free! We’ll travel from the lively resort town of Whitefish, located near Glacier National Park, to the southern end of the spectacular Swan Range, one of Montana’s less-visited geologic gems. Not far away lies Flathead Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake in the West.
Riding mostly on U.S. Forest Service roads and a bit of singletrack, we’ll experience the high country of one of the world’s great wildland complexes. Along the way, we’ll encounter a variety of flora and fauna — the sharp-eyed might even spot wild huckleberries ripe for the picking or the occasional bear on a distant hillside. We’ll skirt the southern boundaries of the Bob Marshall and Scapegoat wilderness areas and crest the Continental Divide on a loop near Lincoln, our ultimate destination.
"All of the leaders on these rides make these tours great. It's obvious they love what they do."
Day 1. Whitefish, Montana, 0 miles
We’ll meet up with the tour leaders and fellow group members for our first map meeting, our first dinner together, and our first night of camping under the big sky of Montana. If time permits before the tour begins — or after it’s over, when you’ll be in even better shape — you may want to tackle the glorious Going-to-the-Sun Road in nearby Glacier National Park, an iconic American ride. Also nearby is Whitefish Mountain Resort, a popular winter ski destination and home to some super-fun mountain bike trails.
Day 2. Whitefish to Bigfork, 48 miles
Today we’ll ease into things along a route that winds through the most civilized countryside we’ll visit during our week-long ride. The network of rural valley byways links the resort town of Whitefish with the small artistic community of Bigfork, nestled at the mouth of the Swan River on the northeastern shores of massive Flathead Lake. Most of the ride is paved and relatively flat, but there are a few gravel sections.
Day 3. Bigfork to Condon, 63 miles
Today we leave the agrarian countryside behind and ascend what the Great Divide is known for: mountains! Riding from Bigfork to Condon, most of the day will be spent on Forest Service dirt roads, with plenty of climbing and descending. The first climb, at six miles, is the longest, but it is followed by an unforgettable downhill. Our path follows a series of rolling, primitive dirt roads squeezed between the base of the stunning Mission Mountains and State Highway 83. We’ll enjoy some fantastic views of the Swan Range to the east before reaching our overnight camping destination.
Day 4. Condon to Seeley Lake, 42 miles
Today’s adventure starts out with seven miles of pavement; after that it’s all dirt roads with a short section of singletrack thrown in for good measure. About halfway into the ride, there’s the option of stashing your bike in the woods and hiking a half mile to hidden Clearwater Lake, a sparkling gem that’s perfect for a bracing dip. From the day’s high point, get ready for a memorable downhill along Morrell Creek, followed by some rolling terrain into lively Seeley Lake.
Day 5. Layover Day in Seeley Lake, 0 miles
This small Montana town tucked into the banks of sparkling Seeley Lake is a perfect place for golfing, canoeing on the Clearwater River or Seeley Lake, hanging out on the beach, walking around town, riding the snow-free paths of the Seeley Creek Nordic Trails, or hiking the Morrell Falls National Historic Trail. Did we mention the outstanding ice cream scooped up at the ever-popular Stage Station?
Day 6. Seeley Lake to Lincoln, 67 miles
Today’s ride takes us along rolling Forest Service roads and includes a lunch stop along the Blackfoot River near the tiny hamlet of Ovando. You’ll skirt Monture Creek, originally named Seaman Creek by William Clark of the Lewis & Clark expedition, after his Newfoundland dog, Seaman. After cresting scenic Huckleberry Pass, we’ll enjoy a great downhill and a nice cruise into the town of Lincoln, named for the President by gold seekers who rushed into the area during the 1860s
Day 7. Lincoln to the Continental Divide and back, 36 miles
Today’s ride will take us up to the Continental Divide via Poorman Creek at 6,376-foot Stemple Pass. After enjoying the incredible views and the accomplishment of the climb, we’ll complete a clockwise loop and descend back to Lincoln along the South Fork of Poorman Creek before rejoining the main Poorman Creek Road. Our Whitefish-bound shuttle will depart at 2:00 PM from Lincoln, arriving at our point of origin at approximately 6:00 PM. Take our word for it: this 256-mile sampler of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route will leave you craving more. And since you've bagged only 10 percent of it, there’s much more to be ridden!
Know before you go
Bike Shop Info:
Glacier Cyclery in Whitefish, Montana, can provide a rental bicycle for your tour. RESERVATIONS ARE RECOMMENDED, especially during the peak rental season of July–August. Glacier Cyclery has a wide variety of bikes for rent, including full suspension and hardtail mountain bikes, touring road bikes, and fat bikes. Touring bikes come equipped with a rear rack. If you request it at the time of reservation, Glacier Cyclery can install a rear rack on one of their hardtail mountain bikes.
Contact Glacier Cyclery for more information:
Glacier Cyclery, 406.862.6446, glaciercyclery.com
This tour will start and end in Whitefish, MT. Group reservations have already been made for the first day of this tour. Whitefish can be a high-demand area. If you are arriving before the first day of the tour or would like to stay on the last day of the tour, we recommend booking reservations early in the Whitefish area.
Information for eBike riders:
Because every rider, eBike, road condition, and elevation profile is different, it is ultimately up to the participant to judge best whether their battery will last through each tour day. We recommend using pedal assist in its lowest setting or off when not needed to maximize battery range. Bringing a second battery is also recommended and can be carried by staff on our fully supported events.