Bicycle Travel > Routes

Alternative to Interstate-- Great Divide


We just got back from finishing up a segment of the Great Divide in Montana which was closed for fires when we rode it the first time.  We were dismayed to see that from Basin To Butte, the route takes the Interstate(the only piece of interstate on the entire route).  We did some research on Google Earth and the topo maps and found a wonderful alternative, all on public roads which must not have been available when the route was originally put together. 

The route is only a few miles longer, and is on smooth, quiet gravel roads.  There is an easy divide crossing, shared with the Continental Divide Hiking Trail., and a nice forest service campground.  While the existing route enters Butte via big-box land, this one comes into the historic district.

I wrote the mapping department that this would be a worthwhile upgrade.  The route and GPS data can be found here:

Thanks. we'll seriously consider for the next update of the route.

I want to make a correction to what the initiator of this topic stated. The route from Basin to Butte is about 28 miles long. About 13 miles from these are dirt roads, close to the Interstate, mainly a rail-trail with many more ups and downs than the Interstate. About 10 miles is on a quiet, level paved road parallel to the Interstate. Only the last 5 miles to Butte are on the Interstate. These final miles are an exhilarating finish, an 800 ft descent, for southbound riders who have struggled and mostly pushed their bike over the gnarly Lava Mountain Trail earlier the day. I liked the philosophy of exertions and rewards that the GD route designer certainly had in mind for the stage.     


--- Quote from: mathieu on October 29, 2012, 04:49:53 pm --- I liked the philosophy of exertions and rewards that the GD route designer certainly had in mind for the stage.     

--- End quote ---

I'll be more precise.  The existing route is virtually pinned to the interstate for 18.3 miles.  Of that, 5.8 miles are physically on the interstate, including negotiating the exit-entry ramps  from I-15 to I-90.  We didn't see Lava Mountain as a struggle would not see riding the freeway on a mountain bike a reward. Mac McCoy, the original route designer doesn't seem to think that way either and is amenable to moving the route off the interstate.

Here's what they look like side by side-the freeway will always be there for those who prefer it. Heck, if you like that freeway, it goes all the way to Mexico....


[0] Message Index

Go to full version