Author Topic: Great Divide Mtn Bike Route suggestions  (Read 1910 times)

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Offline Bclayden

Great Divide Mtn Bike Route suggestions
« on: October 21, 2019, 04:53:41 pm »
Hello.

I've toured for years on a road bike, Coast to Coast included, and want to try something new next summer.  I bought a Specialized Diverge Gravel Bike which is suitable for fire roads with moderately rough conditions. Planning to ride the Great Divide Mtn Bike Route but I only have 7-8 riding days available.  Which section is recommended as the best?  I spent 4 days crossing Southern WY W-E and I don't need to go back there again. Thinking Steamboat, CO - Platoro/Pagosa Springs, CO might be a nice stretch.  I will need to rent a car when done to get back to the start so Pagosa suits.  Anyone with experience of this or any other section of the GDMBR please share your thoughts.

Thanks.
-Ben

Offline jamawani

Re: Great Divide Mtn Bike Route suggestions
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2019, 05:24:29 pm »
The stretch you are talking about doesn't melt out until late June - even early July.
If it's a heavy snow year - which this one might be - even later.
Heavy snow years also tend to have more rain once they melt out.
Quite often - it stays muddy throughout.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Great Divide Mtn Bike Route suggestions
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2019, 03:18:27 pm »
Cannot comment on the mileage or scenery, but from a purely logistical perspective, perhaps Eureka/Roosville, MT, to Missoula? You could fly into FCA (or whatever they are calling it these days).

The Whitefish Bike Retreat appears to offer shuttle service to, among other places, Roosville:

https://www.adventurecycling.org/sites/default/assets/FileRoutes_Maps/GD_shuttle.pdf

Whitefish Lake State Park in Whitefish and Wayfarers State Park in Bigfork have really nice hiker-biker sites. Lots of nice amenities (e.g., bear lockers, pea gravel tent pads, shade, covered picnic tables, repair clamps and electricity).  No turn-away policy according to employees I spoke with at both.  Bigfork also has a large grocery store for re-supply. Two other state parks a bit south of Seeley Lake (Salmon Lake and Placid Lake) have similar sites.

Don't know if the Missoula Spur is on-road or not. If it is, Seeley Lake to Missoula is doable in one day. IIRC, it's about 55 miles. Just rode it again in June.

Once you make it to Missoula, Avis has one-way rentals to Whitefish. Maybe others do as well.

Offline mathieu

Re: Great Divide Mtn Bike Route suggestions
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2019, 09:40:01 am »
I cycled the Great Divide route twice, SN and NS. The section you identified, from Steamboat to Platoro, is in my view the best choice, both in scenery and in road quality. New Mexico's roads are definitely worse. We cycled from Platoro to Steamboat from June 11 to June 16, 2010, with a shortcut between Del Norte and Salida that saved us probably 1-2 days.  All snow was cleared at that time. We might have been a bit lucky, but the history of the Tour Divide race, that starts about June 8 in Banff and roughly extends to July 1, over almost a decade shows that this section is snow-free in late June.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2019, 01:39:21 pm by mathieu »