Great Divide Wind River
Celebrate more than 20 years of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route with a ride through the unforgettable high plains of Wyoming. This 11-day trip in the shadow of the Wind River and Gros Ventre (grow-vaunt) mountains may not look like a high-altitude route with the sky reaching out to distant horizons, but you’ll top 9,600 feet as you ride through the beginnings of the Wind, Green, and Snake river drainages, which eventually feed the mighty Missouri, Columbia, and Colorado rivers.
Along the way you’ll visit small towns that could pass for spaghetti western sets and soak in history that includes the Astor Expedition, the Oregon Trail, and Native American tribes that lived in and traveled around the region. And all the while you’ll be pedaling along the Great Divide — you might just be inspired to keep going all the way to the Mexican border!
"It makes me sad I waited so long to do something like this. The bar has been set ridiculously high for future rides!"
Day 1. Jackson, Wyoming, 0 miles
We’ll meet up in the iconic Western town of Jackson, Wyoming. As a gateway to Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, this resort community is renowned for its scenery, skiing, and magnetic pull on the rich and famous and dirtbag dreamers alike. Arrive early and enjoy the charming downtown area (don’t miss the famous antler arches!) before our first meeting.
Day 2. Jackson to Falls Campground, 41 miles
We’ll start the day with a short shuttle up to Moran Junction and then hop on our bikes and head for Turpin Meadows, where pavement turns to dirt before briefly rejoining the highway to crest Togwotee Pass. From there it’s Forest Service roads all the way to our camp at Falls Campground in the Shoshone National Forest.
Day 3. Falls Campground to Mosquito Lake, 51 miles
Get ready for a true Great Divide Challenge as we head out of Falls Campground and deeper into the mountains as we make our way toward Mosquito Lake. Prepare to be wowed by incredible alpine views in this tucked-away corner of the West — you’ll also want to prepare for the lake’s namesake pests. Bring repellant, and sleep tight under the stars!
Day 4. Mosquito Lake to Green River Lakes, 28 miles
You might wake up with frost on your tents this morning, but things might get hot before the day is over! More high alpine scenery is the order of the day as you head directly into the Wind River Range. By the time you pull into Green River Lake Campground, you might think you’ve ridden into an uncrowded version of Glacier or Yosemite as the towering peaks of the Winds enter into view. Keep an eye out for the free-range cattle — a real throwback to the Old West!
Day 5. Green River Lakes to Pinedale, 51 miles
With the Wind Rivers to the east and the Gros Ventres to the west, you’ll pedal into Pinedale, the jumping-off point for many who explore the vast southern sections of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem that you’re just emerging from.
Day 6. Layover day in Pinedale, 0 miles
Enjoy a layover day in Pinedale with the spectacular Wind Rivers looming over this quaint Western town of 2,000. The Green River Valley Museum or the Museum of the Mountain Man may call out to history buffs, or take a load off at the Pinedale Aquatic Center’s pools. This is also your chance to clean your bike and pop into a bike shop if need be. Enjoy a big group dinner and rest up for your last few days of riding.
Day 7. Pinedale to Lander Cutoff, 45 miles
Leaving Pinedale in your rearview mirror means grizzly country is also behind you as the town marks the accepted southern terminus of the big bears’ range. Be sure to fill up on water as you pass through Boulder, or filter your own from Big Sandy Creek en route to tonight’s camp at Lander Cutoff.
Day 8. Lander Cutoff to Atlantic City, 44 miles
There aren’t any boardwalks on today’s ride! You’ll pass through South Pass City, a well-known outpost along the Oregon Trail in the 1850s, en route to tiny Atlantic City — population 37 in the 2010 census — where you can grab a cold beer at one of the town’s two bars before hitting the hay in a primitive campground.
Day 9. Atlantic City to Diagnus Well, 24 miles
Into the Great Divide Basin we go! Rain falling here never makes it to an ocean as this part of Wyoming is a “closed basin,” meaning water only flows in, never out. Don’t worry though, this high plains ocean of sagebrush will let us leave soon enough, but not before we enjoy some of the most expansive views and endless skies in the West.
Day 10. Diagnus Well to Jeffrey City, 53 miles
Our final day of riding will offer more million-mile views across the Wyoming high plains before we catch a shuttle off-route at day’s end to Jeffrey City. A former uranium-mining boomtown, this “city” saw 95 percent of its residents skip town once the mine closed in the 1980s. Our last night will indeed feature a glowing, but only from the Milky Way blazing above our heads.
Day 11. Shuttle from Jeffrey City to Jackson
Our journey ends with a shuttle back to our starting point in Jackson. But not before we hoist a celebratory fork full of pie at the Cowboy Café in DuBois, a well-earned treat at the end of an unforgettable week.