Author Topic: Kalispell > Missoula route suggestions please  (Read 1782 times)

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Offline prudy

Kalispell > Missoula route suggestions please
« on: August 16, 2017, 04:01:58 pm »
Any suggestions on a route from Kalispell to Missoula?
I would like it to be direct but safe.
I have heard 93 is pretty tough with traffic and no shoulder but more direct.
Thank you.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Kalispell > Missoula route suggestions please
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2017, 05:30:31 pm »
Just take the ACA route.  A little longer but much quieter.  Avoid US-93

Offline CMajernik

Re: Kalispell > Missoula route suggestions please
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2017, 06:01:16 pm »
Even ACA office staff have differing opinions about this. There is less traffic on Hwy. 83 so that's why we use it on our maps. But it has a 10 mi. stretch south of Seeley Lake which has no shoulders and about 6 miles of that is winding with short sight lines. Some staff won't ride it. Otherwise the road north of Seeley Lake has long sight lines and minimal shoulders.

In recent years, shoulders have been added to US 93, with the exception of 5 miles south of Lakeside. But it is a very busy highway, and recent traffic counts that I can find shows it has 4 times the amount of traffic compared to Hwy. 83. All the trucks use US 93 because it is the shortest distance to go between Kalispell and Missoula. It has a lot more hills, several of them steep, especially around the lake, than Hwy. 83.
Carla Majernik
Routes and Mapping Program Director

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x218, 406/721-8754 fax
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Kalispell > Missoula route suggestions please
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2017, 01:33:20 pm »
What's your overall plan? Back in June I rode from C-Falls to Wayfarers State Park in Big Fork after leaving Glacier National Park. Took some back roads that incorporated some dirt. Extremely nice back there. If you plan to come that way do not take Rte. 206. Lots of traffic and no shoulder.

From Big Fork I rode to Seeley Lake via Rte. 209 and 83. I will add that there is a section with minimal to no shoulder that starts somewhere south of the junction of 209 and 83. It's not all that long, and the shoulder returns. I left early a.m. on the Friday before July 1st. Traffic wasn't bad at all. MTDOT was also finishing up paving of a section of 83 a bit north of Seeley Lake, so that should be a nice ride.

Between Seeley Lake and the junction with Rte. 200 there is minimal to no shoulder and some bad sight lines, as Carla mentioned. Again, I left early and didn't feel unsafe. Rte. 200 had a lot of traffic Saturday morning, but there is a wide shoulder.

Here is what the typical shoulder looked like on Rte. 83 north of Seeley Lake:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/105349603@N05/34995128704/in/album-72157682904463522/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/105349603@N05/35666393552/in/album-72157682904463522/

As noted, some good sight lines.

In case you are not aware, Wayfarers State Park has new hiker/biker sights with a covered picnic table, bike repair stand, water, electrical outlets, bike racks, bear lockers and tent pads. $12/night for out of state residents (plus $3 for a shower). You cannot reserve a spot, but the park will not turn you away if they are full. (If you will be in Whitefish, Whitefish Lake State Park has the same deal.) If you do take Rte. 83, the Hungry Bear serves up a good lunch. About four miles before you reach it there is a ranger station. They will happily give you water and possibly even a granola bar. Because the holiday was coming up, all the U.S.F.S. campgrounds around the town of Seeley Lake were full. When you hit the business section of town you will see the Seeley Lake Motor Lodge on the left. You can camp behind the motel. Further down 83 towards Rte. 200 is Salmon Lake State Park. It also has the same new hiker/biker sights.

It you end up taking Rte. 83, the Hungry Bear serves up a nice lunch. About 4 miles before you get there you will find a ranger station/visitor center on the right that will happily give you water and maybe even a granola bar.

Offline CMajernik

Re: Kalispell > Missoula route suggestions please
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2017, 03:46:17 pm »
You did not say when you are riding this. Are you going soon? Presently, the Rice Ridge wildfire smoke is impacting Seeley Lake and air quality is incredibly bad. Until we get some much needed rain to put the fires out US 93 is the better option even with all the traffic.

https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/5414/38284/
Carla Majernik
Routes and Mapping Program Director

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x218, 406/721-8754 fax
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline prudy

Re: Kalispell > Missoula route suggestions please
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2017, 12:55:16 am »
thanks everybody and esp. Indyfabz, for those photos.  That shoulder looks good.  I would gladly start breathing heavy wildlife smoke over a dangerous road, the first option at least puts death off a bit longer.

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Kalispell > Missoula route suggestions please
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2017, 07:37:06 am »
thanks everybody and esp. Indyfabz, for those photos.  That shoulder looks good.  I would gladly start breathing heavy wildlife smoke over a dangerous road, the first option at least puts death off a bit longer.
Reading that fire report, you might want to stay inside if you stay at Seeley Lake. The motel I mentioned may not look like much from the outside, but my room was nice. I got a room because it was very hot the day I was there.

Here is most of the route I took from Big Fork and the profile:

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/17976567

I ended up not taking the trail in Big Fork but rather stuck to Rte. 209. And as noted, I continued another 10 or so miles to Seeley Lake itself.

Offline prudy

Re: Kalispell > Missoula route suggestions please
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2017, 01:20:36 pm »
Great, thank you very much for all the tips and taking time to reply.  I sure hope this area gets some badly needed rain!  This weather pattern is nuts.

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Kalispell > Missoula route suggestions please
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2017, 03:13:47 pm »
Great, thank you very much for all the tips and taking time to reply.  I sure hope this area gets some badly needed rain!  This weather pattern is nuts.

It was unexpectedly hot nearly every day of my two-week tour that started June 18. I did a big loop from/to Missoula that went west to Wallace, ID then back into Thompson Fall, MT and then to Troy, Yaak, Rexford, Whitefish, Glacier, Big Fork, Seeley Lake.

What's going to land you in Kalispell?

Offline prudy

Re: Kalispell > Missoula route suggestions please
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2017, 03:24:17 pm »
Thanks, folks, for your suggestions on routes.  I ended up going on 93, using multiple means necessary to get to Missoula (walking, stopping for heavy traffic, going up the outside of guardrails that were right next to white line). 

Montana is such a paradox, so beautiful and so many outdoor attractions.  But from what I saw, the roads are bad for biking (18,000 miles of touring experience gives one a trained eye).   This includes a lot of gravel in the shoulder, rumble strips right in the middle of the shoulder, guardrails that narrow the shoulder and in places where they are not necessary, a bewildering number of changes to the road conditions on any one highway, and narrow 2-laned roads signed for 70 mph (usually 45 mph in most other states except for the biking purgatory known as east Texas).  The Hamilton-Missoula bike path is an aberration, unfortunately.   The government in Montana appears to have little interest in making roads acceptable for biking, relative to other Rocky Mountain states.

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Kalispell > Missoula route suggestions please
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2017, 04:48:43 pm »
Rte. 93 is a U.S. Highway. Not sure if that's totally the responsibility of the U.S. government or whether the state shares some of the cost of repairs and improvement.


As for state funds, the gas tax was recently raised:

http://www.ktvh.com/2017/07/gas-tax-increase-takes-effect-in-montana