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Messages - ntaylor

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Routes / Re: GDMBR - Missoula Spur?
« on: May 12, 2021, 02:28:32 pm »
The Missoula Spur route is more challenging climb-wise from MSO to Seeley. It can be done in a long day by a fit, fully loaded cyclist, but be prepared to camp if you get off route or are moving slower than anticipated. The 8.4 miles on Rattlesnake Tr. is an old road, basically flat except for couple small localized hills. After crossing Franklin Bridge, the climb up singletrack E. Fork Rattlesnake Tr. 514 is a gut punch, especially if loaded down. Hike-a-bike lasts for roughly 3 miles to Sheep Mtn Tr. 513, which is mostly rideable to the Mineral Pk Lookout Rd. Next 19 miles are unpaved, USFS dirt much like other GDMBR surfaces. It's after the 2nd crossing of Belmont Cr. (on bridge, at NB mi. 37.4) that things get spicy navigation-wise. From the creek up to Game Ridge, expect a 8.8 mi. climb through a spiderweb of old, mostly decommissioned logging roads- not like most GDMBR surfaces. If you're there in the latter part of the summer, the knapweed can be thigh-high (The Nature Conservancy in partnership with local MTB group sprayed back for a couple years, but I haven't heard that this is becoming regular practice, and now covid...). For this segment, grab our GPX track, load up your device with good topos, and stop to inspect anywhere you encounter a road junction to ensure you're not going off route. If you go too far off, you could spend hours getting back on route. It's wild country back there without many other human visitors at all. Pack some bear spray. At the top of Game Ridge, FR 4337 should be marked with a gate, but I heard the sign came down recently. This road flies down to Placid Lake CG on good dirt. Have fun! This kind of route is where the "Adventure" in our name comes from! Feel free to shoot me any more questions.

Attached is a weed-covered road junction in mid July, typical of the stretch above Belmont Cr.

ACA Cartographer/Spur researcher

This from Escanaba local/ACA member Daniel Vader:

There is a road construction project planned on the North Lakes affecting the route in Delta County Michigan. The resurfacing project will affect SR 69 in Michigan from Schaefer to the turn East. A good detour is available by turning East onto 17th Road to G Road to I Road to original route. I live near here and this detour is a nice ride.

Here is Daniel's proposed detour:

According to the project website,,4669,7-192-29907-558358--,00.html, the project will begin May 17 and last through July 2021. It is recommended to check the status before touring the route this summer.

ACA Cartographer

A working link to the RWGPS map is here:


There has been a landslide on White Rock Mtn. Rd. and the USFS has been slow to respond.
Attached is the map area in question.

And here is a detour on Shores Lake Rd. suggested by Chuck Campbell, the ARHC route designer:

Nathan Taylor
ACA Cartographer

Routes / Re: Missoula Spur
« on: August 19, 2020, 06:14:03 pm »
That sounds rough. Do you mind sending me an email off the forum? I'd like to figure out if some of the navigational "keys" we use in the narrative descriptions have changed. The fact that you couldn't find the FR 4337 road and gate makes me wonder if some signs or other features have been removed/vandalized/etc. There are so few signs in this neck of the woods. If I can change the descriptions to avoid more folks getting lost I certainly will.


Routes / Re: Missoula Spur
« on: August 19, 2020, 04:31:31 pm »
Hi Alden-
Sorry that you had a hard time route-finding on the Missoula Spur. It is a challenging route for most riders, but especially northbound from Missoula. Can you tell me how you were navigating? Print map? GPX data or mobile app? During mapping, we realized the detail limitation of our print map scale to help with winding through that web of old logging roads. Therefore we made sure to add a recommendation to use our digital data on a device as a supplement to print maps-- the ability to zoom into the route line to figure out which direction to bear at a Y, for instance, is invaluable. Attached you'll find this recommendation as it is stated on maps.

As for the overgrown grasses and weeds, many of the lands that the Missoula Spur brings riders through are in a long-term process of ownership transition. The Nature Conservancy, US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management jointly manage these lands, but some swapping between the agencies is occurring. Weed mitigation has happened along the route, but this is not an annual practice, and not enough to weather the land exchanges and current economic climate. This year, for instance, I am fairly certain the weeds were not knocked back with spray so were quite high, as you note. We realized these factors when deciding to map the route but still felt that it offered quite a lot as a bikepacking route in terms of adventure, physical challenge, historic/cultural significance, and potential for future development.

I'm happy to talk more with you about the Spur if you like. Please contact me at ntaylor(at) if you are interested!

ACA Cartographer

More info on the Williams Fork Fire can be found here:

As of 8/18, it is closing GD Sec04 main route from near the Horseshoe CG (SB mi. 92.1) south to East Branch Reservoir (SB mi. 96.4) on the north side of Ute Pass. The detour is at turn J, SB mi. 66.4, continue straight on SR 9. As Patbikes noted, CR 30 provides a respite from the highway around Green Mountain Reservoir. South of the reservoir, SR 9 will be rejoined into Silverthorne. Attached is a map for reference. And here is a RWGPS map of the detour:

ACA Cartographer

From Lolo NF: Cottonwood Lakes Road NFSR #477 will be closed starting on July 20 - August 8 from its junction with Dunham Creek Road #4388 at milepost 19.1 and west to its junction with Dunham Ditch Road #17512 at milepost 18.7. The closure will be in place through August 8 for crews to replace the Dunham Bridge.

This is at the same location of another closure posted Sep 2019. The suggested detour from that closure also applies here. See

Here's the closure post from Lolo NF:


Sorry, the distance between passes was off in my above post:

"the climb up Couch Summit (about 1000 ft in 4 mi.) is followed by the climb up Dollarhide Summit (2500 ft in 9 mi) just 4.5 mi. further to the east"

should say

"the climb up Couch Summit (about 1000 ft in 4 mi.) is followed by the climb up Dollarhide Summit (2500 ft in 9 mi) 18 mi. further to the east"


It sounds like the FR 227 detour that the Smoke and Fire event ( will use will take participants (CCW) through Pine, Soldier, and over Couch Summit back to the main route. This has been suggested by a local sprocketgizmo in a previous post. Here is a link to the route:

As others have stated, this includes less hot desert sagebrush riding than ACA's official detour and will return a rider to the main route faster than going all the way east to Hailey. As for challenges, the climb up Couch Summit (about 1000 ft in 4 mi.) is followed by the climb up Dollarhide Summit (2500 ft in 9 mi) just 4.5 mi. further to the east.

Additionally, this detour rejoins the main route directly at the intersection of FR 094 and FR 227, where the road closure west of Worswick Hot Springs due to hauling rock for construction is slated to occur starting July 8. To avoid this closure, a rider can stick to the official ACA detour. Here is the USFS statement on this closure:

Beginning as early as July 8, the contractors will start hauling rock from along Forest Road 227 west of Worswick Hotsprings to the Bowns Project Area.  Full daytime closures on the 227 road between Five Points (intersection of FR 094 and FR 227) through the “narrows” to Worswick Hotsprings will occur at that time on weekdays only.  Travel over Couch Summit to Smoky Bar will not be affected, nor will travel to Little Smoky Creek (or Ketchum) from Wells Summit.


Here is a mash-up of andrewh's route (at least, how I interpreted it. Please let me know if accurate!) and the washout locations according to the USFS. I will confirm with them if this detour is acceptable, but it does look viable. The 1 mi. hike-a-bike (is any of the pack trail rideable?) seems MUCH more preferable to a combined ~4000 ft climb to the south and then riding hot sagebrush foothills all the way east to Hailey. This pack trail has a couple steep grades but overall is only about a 250 ft gain to the nondescript track leading NE to Fleck Summit.

This detour won't address the July traffic stoppages to the east near Worswick Hot Springs.

I welcome any other comments!


Thanks andrewh. Do you (or sprocketgizmo) know: Is the clearing work located west of the junction of FR 12 and 227? Meaning, does following FR 12 down from Fleck Summit (as you recommend) put cyclists out of the way of this work site so as to continue east on 227?

If so, I'd say that your detour sounds reasonable.


From Lolo National Forest: A segment of Cottonwood Lakes Road NFSR 477 at mile marker 19 over Dunham Creek will be closed Sept 16– Oct 12. for a bridge replacement.  Cottonwood Lakes Road will be closed to the southeast from the intersection with Dunham Creek Road NFSR 4388 for approximately a quarter of a mile.

The USFS recommended detour is to leave route at SB mi. 9.6, ride 3.3 mi. S. on Lower Cottonwood Rd./FR 9976 to Kozy Corner, then 8.5 mi. east and south on Woodworth Rd. to SR 200, then 6.7 mi. E. to main route intersection at SR 200 and Monture Creek Rd.

Here is a visual of the area in question. Purple is the closure area, green is the recommended detour.

And here is a Ride With GPS map link to the detour:

Nathan Taylor
Routes and Mapping

Update to Beeskove Fire closures on GD Missoula Spur: the main Rattlesnake Trail, East Fork Rattlesnake Tr. #514 and Sheep Mtn. Tr. #513 all reopened on 8/17. However, East Fork Rattlesnake Road/FR 2112 and Mineral Peak Lookout Road/FR 2120 are now closed until further notice as firefighting efforts continue. The above detour is still necessary to avoid the closed roads.

Nathan from ACA

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