Great Divide Montana
For more than two decades, the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route has fulfilled the dreams of cyclists looking for the ultimate off-road adventure on the longest mountain bike route in the world.
You’ll tackle over 300 beautiful miles along the entire 3,000-mile route, which traces the spine of the Rocky Mountains from Jasper, Alberta, to Antelope Wells, New Mexico. Beautiful Whitefish is your starting point, but your ride through the deep woods of northwest Montana with stunning views will take you to Helena, Montana’s capital city, before an optional return shuttle to Whitefish.
"This was my first organized biking trip as well as my first camping experience, and all round it was a very good experience. You must be doing a lot right!"
Day 1. Whitefish, Montana, 0 miles
We'll meet in the late afternoon for our orientation meeting before eating dinner together. You'll find this a great opportunity to prepare your gear, meet your fellow riders, and share the excitement of the journey ahead. We will head to bed under the starry sky, ready to head out early in the morning for our Montana Great Divide adventure. If you arrive early, there are great trails located in Whitefish at our start location.
Day 2. Whitefish to Big Fork, 45 miles
We'll ease into our great adventure, following roads winding through a civilized countryside that will become a rarity on our tour. We'll venture our way to the small, artistic community of Bigfork, nestled at the mouth of the Swan River on the northeastern shores of massive Flathead Lake. The mostly paved day will help us get our legs under us as we get ready for the climbing and dirt roads ahead.
Day 3. Bigfork to Swan Lake, 31 miles
With a slightly shorter ride today, there is plenty of time to get off the bike and explore. We'll make our way from Flathead Lake and head up, over, and down to Swan Lake. Our first climb is the longest, but it is followed by an unforgettable downhill. Much smaller than Flathead Lake, Swan Lake provides opportunities for solitude. Not far from the lake are opportunities to get out on foot and explore some hiking trails.
Day 4. Swan Lake to Condon, 41 miles
Most of our day will be spent on Forest Service dirt roads full of great climbs and thrilling descents. These rolling and primitive dirt roads are squeezed majestically between the base of the stunning Mission Mountains and State Highway 83, with fantastic views all around. We'll end our day in Condon, and if you're feeling up for it, opportunities to ride or hike to the Holland Lake Falls.
Day 5. Condon to Seeley Lake, 35 miles
Today features some spectacular climbing and a thrilling descent as we work our way to the high point of our tour just over 6,600 feet. We'll also get the opportunity today to ride some fun singletrack, a great change of pace. 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, it's almost all downhill to our overnight in Seeley Lake, which is a great place for our layover day tomorrow!
Day 6. Seeley Lake, 0 miles. Layover day
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? With so much to do here, you may not have time to do it all!
Day 7. Seeley Lake to Coopers Lake, 48 miles
Today will be a great day on the bike as we wind and climb Forest Service roads, then get some spectacular descents. We'll pass through the hamlet of Ovando just past our halfway point of the day, and have the opportunity to stop and explore the small town which welcomes traveling cyclists with open arms.
Day 8. Coopers Lake to Lincoln, 24 miles
A relatively short ride today, we'll start the day by cresting scenic Huckleberry Pass, then 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 9. Lincoln to Marysville, 24 miles
While today's ride is again on the shorter side, we have a fair amount of climbing to tackle today as we make our way up and over the Continental Divide, just over 6,800 feet above sea level! A quick side trip at the top brings you to the Granite Butte Lookout Tower for fantastic views of the surrounding area. From the top, we'll work our way downhill to fantastic cyclist-only overnight with people who support many riders each year as they cycle the Great Divide.
Day 10.Marysville to Helena, 39 miles
Our last day of the tour brings us into Helena, the capital city of Montana. Helena is a great town to explore and our biggest glimpse of civilization since we left Whitefish 10 days ago. We'll celebrate together tonight with a meal out on the town, reminiscing about the great adventure we had together. Tomorrow, there will be an optional shuttle back to Whitefish.
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 is designed as a point-to-point tour, and you'll be able to arrive in Whitefish and depart in Helena. An optional shuttle will be available the day after the tour ends for those who are interested in returning to Whitefish for an additional fee of $45/person.