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This place needs an enema
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As in, I'm looking for ideas on one.

Myself and a few friends have been doing multi-day self-supported singletrack tours the last few summers. We start by finding a good, long, singletrack loop, trace the route as best we can using TopoFusion, upload the tracks to our GPS's, then we load up the bikes and packs and head out. In this fashion we've ridden the Colorado Trail (and many, many derivatives/alternates from the main clapped-out CT) as well as hundreds and hundreds of miles of high-alpine track in Colorado, Arizona, Alaska, and Utah.

We camp out almost every night, typically just stopping and dropping wherever we are after the sun is down. Typical leave-no-trace fashion--no fire rings, nothing more than some matted down grass (at worst) when we pack up in the AM.

We're a long ways from exhausting the supply of rideable trail near our homes, but we're also very interested in seeing some totally new country. That's where y'all come in.

We're looking for some route ideas.

Our ideal tour would include:
*~300-500+ miles total distance, with as much singletrack as possible. We consider ourselves expert level XC riders both fitness and skills-wise.
*We're not looking to huck ourselves off mondo drops, nor do we want to hike-a-bike if it can be avoided. Just looking for some fun, fast, techy trail. In the modern lexicon, we're looking for something ranging from techy XC to light-AM. Dude. Our packs and kits are light enough that if most riders can clean a steep climb or a gnarly descent on a day ride, we can clean it while touring.
*Pavement sucks. We accept that it's necessary to ride it into and out of towns, but are willing to go to great lengths to avoid it if at all possible. "Great lengths" includes throwing our bikes on our backs and hiking through Wilderness if need be...
*Dirt road doesn't suck as much as pavement, but it is still pretty low on the list of desirable places to ride. Singletrack is what we want, the higher quality (funner) the better.
*Ideally, we'd hit a town every third or fourth day to check in with the spousal units, restock on grub, and maybe even have a meal or get a shower, depending.

If you've got an idea for a big loop, please chime in here. Would love for it to include mucho high alpine, some hot springs, and we're considering adding a few folding fly rods to the kit to supplement our meager trail fare. But that's getting a bit ahead of itself.

We speak .gpx, .tpo, .kml, etc... and would LOVE to see tracks if possible.

Any help appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

MC

P.S. A few pics below to give you an idea of the kit/setups we're using, and the kind of terrain we're looking for.
 

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I'd try to ride the trails on, and around the Continental Divide Trail before they make it all inaccessible by designating it wilderness. Start up by Missoula and end near Jackson.

I've been pondering a Boise, Idaho City, Lowman, Stanley, Sun Valley, Fairfield (Soldier Mountain) to Idaho City and return to Boise loop. It would be July before all the high elevation snow cleared some of the areas. There would be some pavement and dirt roads, but the scenery on the singletrack would be worth it.
 

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That's Jackson, Montana

I second that. Even though it's a point to point route. But if you are game for a point to point, I would suggest that you try the CDT from West Yellowstone to Chief Joseph Pass. Only 2 miles of it is off limits to bikes, and since thats not wilderness, I wouldn't tell on you if you carried your bike on those 2 miles. You're a Great Divide ace, but try the singletrack version now. We are working our tails off up here to save it from several wilderness area designations, and this summer could be the last.

I would also have to suggest riding the Gallatins from Bozeman (elevation, exposure), then through the southern Madisons(clay mud), then trace a route back north through the Gravellys(wolves and solitude) and Tobacco Roots(rocks and cirques). Pick a creative route and it would take a week. Nobody's done it. More gnarl? Add on the Bridger Ridge for a starter leg(views and pucker). There is a kid up here who could guide you. It's a day ride by itself. Lot's of humbling gnarl there. The whole thing is a 3/4 loop.
 

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This place needs an enema
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Visicypher said:
I'd try to ride the trails on, and around the Continental Divide Trail before they make it all inaccessible by designating it wilderness. Start up by Missoula and end near Jackson.

I've been pondering a Boise, Idaho City, Lowman, Stanley, Sun Valley, Fairfield (Soldier Mountain) to Idaho City and return to Boise loop. It would be July before all the high elevation snow cleared some of the areas. There would be some pavement and dirt roads, but the scenery on the singletrack would be worth it.
Thanks for the ideas. So far two separate tours look promising--the first is something circumnavigating the Boise/Sun Valley/Stanley region, and the second is farther north and encompassing (sounds like) a significant chunk of the Montana CDT.

And both of those are great--I'd love to plan one in ~July and another in August. But none of the small town names mean anything to me. I checked the CDT site just now and they recommend 117 different topos for ID/MT on-trail navigation, plus another ~9 for the drive/approach.:skep:

Can anyone clue me in to a way to learn more about the local loops/spurs that we'd be using? USFS or BLM office to call to get their on-the-ground use maps? Website? Or (pipe dream) some GPS tracks to peruse and splice?

GregB406 said:
I second that. Even though it's a point to point route. But if you are game for a point to point, I would suggest that you try the CDT from West Yellowstone to Chief Joseph Pass. Only 2 miles of it is off limits to bikes, and since thats not wilderness, I wouldn't tell on you if you carried your bike on those 2 miles.
Now we're talking! Point to point is not ideal but if that's the best option then we're game.

You're a Great Divide ace, but try the singletrack version now. We are working our tails off up here to save it from several wilderness area designations, and this summer could be the last.
Err, retired GDR geek, thankyouverymuch. And the point of this tour is pretty much the opposite of the GDMBR: They route you *around* every cool trail in each region, all to placate the loaded-heavy crowd that wouldn't enjoy singletrack. We want very much to hit as much of the local singletrack as we can, and your ideas below have me all atwitter.

GregB406 said:
I would also have to suggest riding the Gallatins from Bozeman (elevation, exposure), then through the southern Madisons(clay mud), then trace a route back north through the Gravellys(wolves and solitude) and Tobacco Roots(rocks and cirques). Pick a creative route and it would take a week. Nobody's done it. More gnarl? Add on the Bridger Ridge for a starter leg(views and pucker). There is a kid up here who could guide you. It's a day ride by itself. Lot's of humbling gnarl there. The whole thing is a 3/4 loop.
Yes, yes YES! That's the idea! And a week to ten days is perfect. I understand that you're pointing out regional characteristics, but are you confident that there are singletrack trails to be ridden through/connecting these places? And (starting to sound redundant) where can I learn more about them? Local BLM/USFS? Know any GPS savvy hikers/bikers that could help to piece it together?

PLEASE keep the info coming!

Best,

MC
 

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This place needs an enema
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

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the Gallatin Crest

Is not part of the CDT. But near the southern end down by the park it would be a natural route to jump on part of the CDT for 20 miles or so before heading back north. The loop through the Gallatins and back north through the Gravellys and Tobacco Roots is not a continuous trail, but would require some study to link up the many forest service and blm trails. (90%+ singletrack) easily 200+ very rugged miles) Look up Bridger Ridge Run, Curly Creek, Gravelly Range, Tobacco Root Mountains, Gallatin Crest, Lionshead Mountain.

The CDT however is continuous for about 300 miles from Yellowstone to the Anaconda-Pintlar Wilderness. (90%+ singletrack,10% jeep trail). You would cross paved roads in 4 places. Thats about 200 feet of asphalt. We are trying hard to keep it open. Any article or pictures or blog would help our efforts on this endevour. Much of it is marked with signposts and a portion in the West Big Hole is not yet completed (about 10 miles). Get a copy of Montana & Idaho's Continental Divide trail, the official guide, by Lynna and Leland Howard. Contact Teresa Martinez at the Continental Divide Trail Alliance for more specifics. Montanans have ridden large amounts of it in pieces, but I am unaware of anyone knocking off this section entirely by bike.
 

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High Plains Drifter
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From various long day ride that I've done (11 hrs). A good tour could leave from Driggs, ID and climb into the Big Hole Mtns. Head South from S. Fork Horseshoe to Elk Flats. Go down the S. Fork Canyon Creek Trail to Blacktail and head S. Again. Generally follow Big Hole Crest Trail To Pine Creek Pass and into the Palisade Range. Head toward Wilson Wy, via 4th of July Peak and Mosquito Pass. Hit Lithium or Blacks Canyon on the way into Wilson. Climb out of Wilson back to the top of Teton Pass and head S. to connect to Alpine, Wy following the ridege of the Snake River Range.
IM for better info if you can't google earth or map it.
Pete
 

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Salad Days
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mikesee said:
Know any GPS savvy hikers/bikers that could help to piece it together?

PLEASE keep the info coming!

Best,

MC
I've got a lot of the Bozeman area stuff mapped and could help piece together the missing parts. I am also said kid who would love to take you over the bridger ridge. http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=338416 which is scenic and involves a bit of bike hiking. You could start on that and then cruise through Bozeman and head over to the Gallatin Crest http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=327081 as Greg described and on from there. I haven't ridden much in the southern Madison or at all in the Gravelly range but could recommend some riding in the Tobacco roots too. http://picasaweb.google.com/Parkerjohn/CurlyLake

I have GPS tracks for the 3 I linked to and a bunch of other stuff around here.
 

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Scott in Tucson
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jparker164 said:
I have GPS tracks for the 3 I linked to and a bunch of other stuff around here.
[wiping drool from keyboard]

That's some amazing stuff. Nice photography and GPS'ing to boot. Looks like precisely what we're lookin' for.

How can we get our hands on this GPS data? If possible, reach me at: [email protected]

If you don't already own a copy of TopoFusion, I will gladly give you one for the tracks / route advice.
 

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help us out

To Mike and others who are planning a Montana ride in the future. The forest planning going on in Montana is going to fragment the long tours, and even remove whole mountain ranges in the future from our riding options.

I hate to stand up here and plead, but there is less than one week remaining for comments to the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. Deadline is April 30. All the information to comment is on the montanamountainbikealliance.com website. Basically we need you to tell them that you are planning to ride on long distance high mountain tours in Montana in the future, and that forest planners need to keep these routes such as the Continental Divide Trail bicycle friendly to ensure this dimension of the tourist trade remains possible.

The tours discussed in this thread are in the Gallatin N.F. and the Beaverhead-Deerlodge N.F. Please realize that your letters are needed and will make a difference. Thanks, Greg
 

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Scott in Tucson
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Done. (below)

Thanks for the notice. Negotiating wilderness areas is a pain as a bike tourist.


Hello,

I am writing in regard to the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest Plan.

As a mountain biker who enjoys touring through remote backcountry areas I
implore you consider long distance cyclists in your decision.

Bike-packing long distance trails, such at the Continental Divide Trail,
is becoming an increasingly popular activity. I feel this low impact
recreation (it is very similar to backpacking) should be allowed in
Recommended Wilderness Areas.

As a bike-packer follows a long distance trail they are plagued by having
to detour around wilderness areas, often on paved highways. Besides
detracting from the intended wilderness experience, it is also a huge
safety concern. Many of the detours end up being on narrow and busy roads
where traffic is not used to seeing bicyclists.

The self-supported bike-packer has no other option in this case but to
ride the highways to detour around wilderness areas.

I am planning a bike-packing trip this summer, traversing sections of the
Continental Divide Trail on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge NF and other trails
in the Gallatian NF. My trip would become far less enjoyable and far more
dangerous should additional wilderness areas need to be negotiated.

Please consider other designations that would allow continued mountain
bike access in your national forest plan.

Thank you for your time.

Scott Morris
 

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check out page 20

Of the new issue of BIKE. This is the entrance to the Bridger Ridge. One of the rides I suggested. Probably mid to late July by the patch of snow. Further up hiking on a little snow is mandatory until almost August.

Thank goodness, this burly ride is not endangered at the moment, unless you consider the NREPA realistic.
 

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Salad Days
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GregB406 said:
The CDT however is continuous for about 300 miles from Yellowstone to the Anaconda-Pintlar Wilderness. (90%+ singletrack,10% jeep trail). You would cross paved roads in 4 places. Thats about 200 feet of asphalt. Montanans have ridden large amounts of it in pieces, but I am unaware of anyone knocking off this section entirely by bike.
Sounds like a good project to me. . . .
 

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thanks for lending a hand

Especially Scott,
What you wrote is right on with some of our concerns. You had a quick grasp of the issue. Thank you.
 

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Scott in Tucson
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GregB406 said:
Especially Scott,
What you wrote is right on with some of our concerns. You had a quick grasp of the issue. Thank you.
Not so much a quick grasp -- just an issue I have faced before.

We are ramping up for our trip, and so far the plan is to ride as much of the CDT between ~Yellowstone and ~Anaconda Pintlar as we can. Though we are likely going to start near Lima and do it in a "figure 8" style so we can avoid the shuttle. The "other" divide route (GDMBR) will take us back, faster, but without the views and adventurous singletrack.

That's the plan anyway. I'm still doing the map work and learning about the trail. I sure don't find much about people cycling it. :)

GregB406 said:
The CDT however is continuous for about 300 miles from Yellowstone to the Anaconda-Pintlar Wilderness. (90%+ singletrack,10% jeep trail). You would cross paved roads in 4 places. Thats about 200 feet of asphalt. Montanans have ridden large amounts of it in pieces, but I am unaware of anyone knocking off this section entirely by bike.
I'm not sure I'd say the trail is continuous. I find many reports of long sections of no trail, especially right along the divide. I don't mean disappearing trail in meadows, but sections where truly no trail has been built for miles and it's XC. Depending on the terrain this can be OK for a bike, but usually not. We'll see how it goes.

Definitely very little pavement, that's for sure!

I'm sure we will have a writeup or two from the trip, and I plan on writing an article for our regional mag. Suggestions on where else such at article might be published would be welcome. It would be a shame to lose opportunities like these, even if it turns out to be more hike-a-bike than not!
 
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