Author Topic: Easy Montana Touring Route & Checklist  (Read 546 times)

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Offline ste

Easy Montana Touring Route & Checklist
« on: June 30, 2020, 06:26:36 pm »
It's been 40 years since I've done bicycle touring. (Yes, I'm in my early 70s) I would greatly appreciate a recommendation for a touring route in Southwestern Montana (include Glacier or Yellowstone) of about 3 - 4 days for my first tour. I am set up for tent camping as long as water is available. (stream/potable)
Also, if anyone has a checklist for what to bring, that would be great.
Thanks, Stephen Peart (stephenleep@aol.com)

Offline jamawani

Re: Easy Montana Touring Route & Checklist
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2020, 07:16:49 pm »
Hi Stephen -

Glad to hear you are back on the bicycle.
Yes, there are plenty of places to tour in southwest Montana,
but this year may not be the best year to start back.
Especially around Yellowstone & Glacier.
And maybe not, if you're 70+.

You can make a wonderful circle around the Pioneer Mountains starting in Dillon.
Half of the route is part of the ACA TransAm route - so you'd see other cyclists.
Not a lot of big climbs, paved roads, low traffic, frequent services.
But you would be at high elevation throughout - in case you are coming from the coast.

I suggest heading counter-clockwise for a more gradual start:
Dillon to Divide Bridge - Old Highway 91 - 41 miles
Divide Bridge to Wisdom - Hwy 43 - 51 miles
Wisdom to Bannack - Hwy 278 & Bannack Rd - 48 miles
Bannack to Dillon - Bannack Rd, Hwy 278, Old Hwy 91 - 25 miles

Mileage of 45-50 per day. Leave your vehicle in Dillon.
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/33202924


Offline John Nettles

Re: Easy Montana Touring Route & Checklist
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2020, 10:33:30 pm »
Stephen,
Just a friendly suggestion not to show your email as the "bots" scan for these and then you start getting a bunch of spam emails.  I think you can modify your message to delete it.

Tailwinds and welcome back!  John

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Easy Montana Touring Route & Checklist
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2020, 07:56:09 am »
The above-described route would be fairly easy. If you want to make it harder and add a day you could go from Bannack over the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway through Wise River and back to Divide Bridge then on to Dillon on the final day. The Byway starts out gentle through the beautiful Grasshopper Valley. A bit after you pass the inn there is a short, steep climb, then a short descent. Then you hit a stretch of about 5 miles of steady climbing, but nothing super steep. From the summit it's a 26 mile net elevation loss to Wise River that features, among other things, a pretty alpine meadow. There is at least one restaurant in Wise River and a small mercantile that has always had enough to cobble together dinner. The well water at the Divide Bridge Campground is good, and you can rinse of in the river at the boat ramp. When I was there last (2016), a site was only $6 or $7/night.

Bannack S.P., mentioned above, has hiker-biker sites ($12 for non-residents) with amenities like bear lockers, a covered picnic table and electrical power for charging. The place itself is a restored ghost town. I was supposed to stay there last month, but my trip got cancelled. I was really looking forward to it.

Offline hikerjer

Re: Easy Montana Touring Route & Checklist
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2020, 03:11:03 pm »
I'd very  much agree with BikeliciousBabe.  The Pioneer Scenic route is beautiful with very little traffic and several nice FS campgrounds along the way. Don't miss the Lodge and Hot Springs at Elkhorn/Polaris. Pretty rustic and a real throwback in time but well worth the stop. Just don't expect four star accommodations. Do expect a laid back and friendly atmosphere and reasonable prices.  Bannack State park is one of the best preserved ghost towns in the west and well worth the stop.  It has an absolutely fascinating history complete with gold strikes, outlaws/road agents and Vigilantes.  Little known to many outside of Montana, it, along with Virginia City/Alder Gulch (70 miles east)/ was one of the richest gold strikes in the west.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Easy Montana Touring Route & Checklist
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2020, 10:06:36 am »
Don't miss the Lodge and Hot Springs at Elkhorn/Polaris. Pretty rustic and a real throwback in time but well worth the stop. Just don't expect four star accommodations. Do expect a laid back and friendly atmosphere and reasonable prices.
Stayed in the lodge the first time I rode the Byway. The floor of our room was so off kilter that the mattress tended to slide off part of the way. Still had fun though. We actually met an employee of ACA while there. You can also pitch a tent. Food wasn't half bad. What was bad in early July were the mosquitoes. Even when in the outdoor hot springs pool you had to keep dunking your head under for a break.

OP: Another option returning to Dillon from Divide Bridge is to take Melrose-Twin Bridges Country Road (a/k/a Melrose Bench Rd.) between those two towns and then the highway up to Dillon. But Melrose Bench is unpaved, hilly and rough in many places. The trade off is that it's really neat, and you will probably encounter far more free range cattle than cars. I have ridden the 20+ mile stretch three times. I think the greatest number of vehicles I encountered was 4.

Offline hikerjer

Re: Easy Montana Touring Route & Checklist
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2020, 03:02:24 pm »
"Stayed in the lodge the first time I rode the Byway. The floor of our room was so off kilter that the mattress tended to slide off part of the way."

Well, I did say it was  rustic and not  four star accommodations. ;D Still a great place to stay and have fun The naturally heated pool is worth the stop by itself.