Author Topic: GDMBR - Missoula Spur?  (Read 3039 times)

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Offline xairforcepj

GDMBR - Missoula Spur?
« on: May 12, 2021, 11:21:45 am »
I'm planning a 4 or 5 day trip in mid August on the GDMBR from Missoula to Helena. Primary goal is to ride hard in daylight hrs. and have fun with plenty of time to setup camp, eat, sleep, etc.  Initial plan is to take the Missoula spur from MSO to Seeley Lake the first day.  The elevation profile is showing ~7,000 feet of gain so thinking this will be a tough day of cycling.  I'm looking for intel on the road conditions on this spur part of the route, and specifically how it compares to other sections of the route from Roosville to Helena which I rode in late July of 2019. ?  Thanks in advance for any advice/input.

Offline Iowagriz

Re: GDMBR - Missoula Spur?
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2021, 12:24:11 pm »
I haven't ridden it, but planning on it later this year as well.

First 8 miles up the Rattlesnake Wilderness is reasonable road and double track.  Then big climbing on singletrack, which I expect to be pushing (north side of Sheep Mtn). Middle section,  I expect to be similar to normal TDR gravel.  Same for the end as you get closer to Placid Lake.

I do read of route finding problems in that last third.  Overgrown roads,  hard to find trail.  I plan on buying and using the ACA GPS track for that section.

Offline ntaylor

Re: GDMBR - Missoula Spur?
« Reply #2 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

Offline xairforcepj

Re: GDMBR - Missoula Spur?
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2021, 03:17:21 pm »

Thanks a bunch for this detail.  Just what I was looking for...if we decide to give it a go in August, I'll snap some picks and let you know how it was.