Author Topic: GDMBR change in Thompson Park (MT)  (Read 4940 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline BillBekay

GDMBR change in Thompson Park (MT)
« on: July 25, 2023, 08:26:01 am »
I recently learned that the GDMBR in Thompson Park (MT) follows a different route from about Sagebrush Flats to Highland Trailhead than before along Blacktail Creek. Where can I find more information about that?

Offline Iowagriz

Re: GDMBR change in Thompson Park (MT)
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2023, 08:33:15 am »
For others looking, that is south of Butte, MT.

I don't see any changes published. I've seen lost riders ride the road towards Thompson Park/Eagle's Nest/Sagebrush Flats. But that's because they turned to early heading south on the route.

Sent from my SM-S908U using Tapatalk


Offline CMajernik

Re: GDMBR change in Thompson Park (MT)
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2023, 10:32:08 am »
I'm not sure what you're talking about. Here's the route detail. This appears on the GD section 2 map that was updated in July 2021.
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 BillBekay

Re: GDMBR change in Thompson Park (MT)
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2023, 05:12:18 pm »
Hi Carla, that is indeed exact what I mean. Thank you!

I wondered if the rest of the Milwaukee Trail (towards Butte) could also become part of the GDMBR. After leaving the Milwaukee Trail, you enter Janney Road  (northbound reference). It is a pity that there is no connection between Albany Avenue and Zella Drive (see red marker) because then you could have driven to the city via the very quiet Blacktail Loop. Cycling via Hwy 2 and MT-375 does not seem pleasant to me because both have no shoulder.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2023, 10:47:23 am by BillBekay »

Offline Iowagriz

Re: GDMBR change in Thompson Park (MT)
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2023, 06:04:48 pm »
My apologies, that is a tough, but cool section to route through. I just did the Butte 50, which routed from Sagebrush to the Chimney. Nice to see some more singletrack added.

Sent from my SM-S908U using Tapatalk


Offline Jeebs

Re: GDMBR change in Thompson Park (MT)
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2023, 10:51:05 am »

I wondered if the rest of the Milwaukee Trail (towards Butte) could also become part of the GDMBR. After leaving the Milwaukee Trail, you enter Janney Road  (northbound reference). It is a pity that there is no connection between Albany Avenue and Zella Drive (see red marker) because then you could have driven to the city via the very quiet Blacktail Loop. Cycling via Hwy 2 and MT-375 does not seem pleasant to me because both have no shoulder.
The Milwaukee railroad trail becomes private just beyond the Jon Gulch trailhead (north of Sagebrush Flats), so there's no public way to connect to Janney Road and you have to use Highway 2 below Sagebrush Flats.

A much better route (IMO) through Thompson Park southbound is to ride the railroad trail from Sagebrush Flats through both tunnels all the way to the Blacktail trestle (just for the view), then backtrack ~100m and ride Scout Ridge up to the Roosevelt Drive trailhead. Northbound, you'd ride to Roosevelt Trailhead, descend Scout Ridge, check out the trestle, then ride the railroad to Sagebrush Flats and join Hwy 2. I host a lot of GDMBR riders (100+ this year) and the Grading Camp trail receives a lot of complaints from people on loaded bikes. If you ride the rail trail and Scout Ridge you get to ride through 2 tunnels, visit the Blacktail trestle, and you get a gentler climb to the top. If you take Grading Camp you miss both tunnels and the trestle in exchange for a tougher climb and the chimney ruins, which aren't very remarkable compared to the other sites.

Offline BillBekay

Re: GDMBR change in Thompson Park (MT)
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2023, 03:28:34 pm »
The Milwaukee railroad trail becomes private just beyond the Jon Gulch trailhead (north of Sagebrush Flats), so there's no public way to connect to Janney Road and you have to use Highway 2 below Sagebrush Flats.
Thank you for the information! It is a pity the Milwaukee Railroad Trail is not accessible after the Jon Gulch trailhead.

A much better route (IMO) through Thompson Park southbound is to ride the railroad trail from Sagebrush Flats through both tunnels all the way to the Blacktail trestle (just for the view), then backtrack ~100m and ride Scout Ridge up to the Roosevelt Drive trailhead. Northbound, you'd ride to Roosevelt Trailhead, descend Scout Ridge, check out the trestle, then ride the railroad to Sagebrush Flats and join Hwy 2. I host a lot of GDMBR riders (100+ this year) and the Grading Camp trail receives a lot of complaints from people on loaded bikes. If you ride the rail trail and Scout Ridge you get to ride through 2 tunnels, visit the Blacktail trestle, and you get a gentler climb to the top. If you take Grading Camp you miss both tunnels and the trestle in exchange for a tougher climb and the chimney ruins, which aren't very remarkable compared to the other sites.

Thanks for the detailed explanation. I plan to ride the GDMBR northbound. I hope a descent via the Chimney Trail (Upper Grading Camp) #4812 would be not that bad. Indeed I would like to visit the Blacktail trestle. The advantage of the Scout Ridge seems to me to be that you immediately end up near the Blacktail trestle.

« Last Edit: August 31, 2023, 05:49:09 am by BillBekay »

Offline ntaylor

Re: GDMBR change in Thompson Park (MT)
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2023, 05:44:40 pm »
Bill-
Chimney Trail/Grading Camp has eroded out rather substantially the last couple years. Surface is composed of crumbly granite that characterizes the Pipestone area and weathers at a good rate. The NB descent has some sharp curves and sharp edges you'll want to keep an eye on, but the distance is short (~1 mi) and the grade isn't especially steep. You'll want to go slow especially through the boulder field where it comes out onto Milwaukee Road Tr.

The local Friends of Thompson Park group recently reached out to ACA and suggested Crook Camp Tr. as an alternative. This trail is twice as long and sports more climb (SB) than Chimney Trail, though they claim the surface is smoother and easier to negotiate fully loaded. This option may have appeal for you. You'll still miss the trestle bridge and two tunnels (the longer of the two tunnels can have ice even in summer so be cautious for anything resembling a watery surface). The bridge is a cool sight, but for now it will require an out-and-back. Getting down to Roosevelt Drive from the bridge is not something we can recommend since the terrain is so steep and rugged at that point.

Milwaukee Road Tr. is a fantastic riding experience and I wish more miles could be added to GDMBR. There's access issues on north end where the road leaves county maintenance and the landowner has gated and posted signs. And on the south end, from Pipestone Pass TH riders can either take to the highway or hop on the CDT. Maybe for future ACA can discuss linking Pipestone Pass TH with Highland Rd. via CDT and Lime Kiln Rd., but currently that equates to lots of singletrack, not necessarily the first choice for fully loaded GDMBR bikepackers.

Nathan
ACA

Offline BillBekay

Re: GDMBR change in Thompson Park (MT)
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2023, 05:37:48 am »
Thank you Nathan for the extra information. I have update the map in my previous post with the Crook Camp Trail you mentioned.

Offline Jeebs

Re: GDMBR change in Thompson Park (MT)
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2023, 08:34:45 am »
You'll still miss the trestle bridge and two tunnels
The tunnels and trestle are the 3 most interesting attractions of Thompson Park... why any suggested route would skip them is beyond me.
 

Offline BillBekay

Re: GDMBR change in Thompson Park (MT)
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2023, 04:07:13 pm »
When I reach the Milwaukee Road Trail, I go out-and-back to check out the tunnels and trestle. Indeed, I don't want to miss those.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: GDMBR change in Thompson Park (MT)
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2023, 08:25:01 am »
This has been an interesting read.  I have climbed Pipestone 3 times from west to east via MT 2 on the way to Butte and had no idea there was a rideable trail at the top. 

Offline BillBekay

Re: GDMBR change in Thompson Park (MT)
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2023, 04:43:32 pm »
no idea there was a rideable trail at the top.

Standing on Pipestone Pass, streetview shows a trail. I believe it connects to the Milwaukee Road Trail.


Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: GDMBR change in Thompson Park (MT)
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2023, 09:17:48 am »
no idea there was a rideable trail at the top.

Standing on Pipestone Pass, streetview shows a trail. I believe it connects to the Milwaukee Road Trail.

I remember seeing the Ped-Xing signs at the top.  On the way down one year I stopped to look down on the old ROW.  (I am in the freight rail biz and sort of a rail geek.  Riding the Route of the Hiawatha trail a few years ago was really exciting.)  IIRC, that was in 2014.  It looked pretty trashy down there.  I am guessing it has been improved since then.  Was last there in 2016 but didn't stop ay the pass or on the way down.

BTW..Have they erected a pass sign yet?  The first year I rode it I didn't know I had made it to the top until I started heding down.

Offline BillBekay

Re: GDMBR change in Thompson Park (MT)
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2023, 10:44:39 am »
I am in the freight rail biz and sort of a rail geek.
I also like industrial heritage but, however, the great advantage of biking old rail lines is the lack of car traffic. In that regard, I would like to ride the Great American Rail-Trail someday (east to west) although in Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska there are substantial sections missing. There are good alternatives to that in Montana and Wyoming but hardly any in Nebraska.

BTW..Have they erected a pass sign yet?  The first year I rode it I didn't know I had made it to the top until I started heding down.
I wouldn't know, I've never been there.