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 the small town of Lincoln before a return shuttle to Whitefish.
"The staff was OUTSTANDING! Each had such a vast amount of knowledge about cycling in general and about Adventure Cycling trips in particular."
Day 1. Whitefish, Montana
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 start our adventure in the morning.
Day 2. Whitefish to Polebridge, 50 miles
We'll start our journey south by first heading north. We'll make our way from the wonderful Whitefish Bike Retreat into the mountains and quieter dirt roads. Along the way, we'll pass by Upper Whitefish Lake, a great spot to stop and explore, and then follow Red Meadow Creek to Polebridge, located on the North Fork Flathead River. Be sure to check out the Polebridge Mercantile & Bakery for some delicious goodies.
Day 3. Polebridge to Columbia Falls, 42 miles
We'll spend a good amount of today's ride following the North Fork Flathead River, skirting the boundaries of Glacier National Park. You'll consider stopping frequently to check out a new sight just around the next corner. Our ride will take us to Columbia Falls, where we'll have a rustic overnight at a local bike campground.
Day 4. Columbia Falls to Big Fork, 43 miles
Leaving the mountains behind (just for a bit, of course) we'll head of of Columbia Falls and make our way to Big Fork, located on the Northern Shores of Flathead Lake. Along the way, we'll pass through farmlands that provide a varied scenery of the past few days and what is to come. We'll spend the night just off the shore of the 27 mile long Flathead Lake.
Day 5. Big Fork to Swan Lake, 31 miles
With a slightly shorter ride today, there is plenty of time to get off the bike and explore. Well 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 6. Swan Lake to Condon, 41 miles
Continuing south in the Seeley-Swan valley, 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 fantastic views of the Swan Range as well, rising up in the east, before reaching our overnight camping destination.
Day 7. 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 Morell Creek, followed by some rolling terrain into lively Seeley Lake.
Day 8. Seeley Lake Layover Day, 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 9. Seeley Lake to Ovando, 28 miles
While today may be a short riding day, we wanted to provide plenty of opportunity to explore Seeley Lake and the other off-bike activities in the area. As time might allow, you could do one more thing before leaving town. Rolling Forest Service roads will take us to our overnight in the small hamlet of Ovando. While a small town, Ovando has made great opportunities for traveling cyclists, who they welcome with open arms.
Day 10. Ovando to Lincoln, 39 miles
Our ride to Lincoln skirts 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. We'll celebrate our last night together as we prepare for one final ride and shuttle.
Day 11. 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 Montana sampler of the world's longest off-pavement cycling route will leave you craving more!
Know before you go
Bike Shop Info:
Glacier Cyclery in Whitefish, Montana, can provide a rental bicycle and equipment 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. Given advance notice, Glacier Cyclery can install a rear rack on their hardtail mountain bike. B.O.B. trailers are also available and can be installed on hardtail bikes if desired.
Contact Glacier Cyclery for more information:
Glacier Cyclery, 406.862.6446, glaciercyclery.com