Montana / Idaho / S. Canada? Trip Planning - what are the "must rides"?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Lobster, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. Lobster

    Lobster Been here awhile

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    Bad News...no Alaska trip this year...:cry

    Good News...my buddy and I are still going to take a 2 weekish trip around Western Montana / Idaho / Wyoming / maybe even southern Canada, and we need some help in planning.:clap

    Here is the VERY general plan. We plan to trailer the bikes from Michigan to somewhere near Billings / Bozeman, Montana. We would like to leave the car and trailer rig at an ADV's members place, then head off north / west on the bikes for a 10ish day loop back to the start point, and then trailer home.

    The bikes are BMW GS and KTM 950 Adv, both with extended fuel range capabilities. Timeframe is somewhere around 4th of July week.

    I foresee a loop something like this...

    Head north through / near the Flathead National Forest, through Glacier National Park, head into Canada to see Banff?, then start heading back south through / near the Clearwater National Forest and Bitterroots, continuing south through the Salmon Challis National Forest, then cruise back through the Gallatin National Forest near Yellowstone, then back to the rig and home.

    So here are the points we need help with?

    1. What are the must see roads? Gravel dirt roads are OK and maybe even preferred.
    2. What are the coolest high mountain passes?
    3. What are the best places to camp?
    4. Would any of the local ADVers from the area be willing to sponsor a couple tents for a night? Might be fun to see how many different ADVers we can contact / camp at during the trip...a six package of your favorite suds is in it for you! :dutch Would make for a cool trip report...
    5. What else are we missing?
    6. Anyone near Billings / Bozeman willing to let us park a car and trailer in their lot for about 12 days?

    Thanks for all the help I know is coming! We appreciate it.
    #1
  2. Flashmo

    Flashmo Whatever...

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    When the Tourist or byways stop in this thread...heed their words. Between the two of them, the are full of more info than most of us can process.

    There is a good thread on this same topic over in the PNW Regionals that may give you some good info as well.
    #2
  3. Lobster

    Lobster Been here awhile

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    Found that thread...nice...looks like The Tourist likes to type when he can't sleep!
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  4. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil

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    If you can manage to fit it in, try to ride on Hiway 12, between Kooskia, Idaho, and Lolo, Montana. Excellent, scenic road!
    #4
  5. Flashmo

    Flashmo Whatever...

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    Did you find this one too?


    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=760515



    edit: BTW, you're welcome to park at our place, it's a day's ride to Bozeman...but we've had people park here to do a similar loop in the past...just different starting point.
    #5
  6. Lobster

    Lobster Been here awhile

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    Nope didn't see that one...thanks.

    Also appreciate the parking offer. Wa shoping for something a little farther eastbound since we are coming from Michigan. But can we camp there as a half way point?
    #6
  7. lewisrangerider

    lewisrangerider n00b

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    I have a lot in Choteau, Mt. that you could use. It is 200 mi north of Bozeman on 89 south of glacier park.
    Douglas Peterson
    406-466-2927
    #7
  8. Flashmo

    Flashmo Whatever...

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    You're welcome any time. We get a few riders every year, usually going to or from Yellowstone.
    #8
  9. Tn. Walrus

    Tn. Walrus Knuckle Dragger

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  10. Flashmo

    Flashmo Whatever...

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  11. Primal Haj

    Primal Haj Looking for Mecca

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    I,m just outside of Bozeman and have space if you need it.

    Lots of good roads depending on what your preference is and as long as your good with some dirt you will be able to avoid the interstates. As far as the best roads go in my opinion everything north of Boise in Idaho was designed for a motorcycle.

    Craig
    #11
  12. slabm7

    slabm7 Been here awhile

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    The Going to the Sun road in Glacier National Park is a must see. Beautiful road.
    When coming into Canada if you want to see Banff I would come up from Kalispell to Fernie, east on highway 3. North on Highway 22 to Longview and then west on highway 40 to Kananaskis country. From Kananaskis you can hop on the Smith Dorien Trail (gravel) and take it into Canmore and into Banff NP on highway 1. And while you are in Banff I would stay a day and ride up the icefields parkway to at least Saskatchewan River crossing. The icefields parkway is one of the most beautiful rides you will ever do. How much time do you plan on spending in Canada? If you are planning on 3-4 days let me know and I can give you a route that goes west of Banff and will bring you back into the states around Bonners Ferrr, ID. Also the ride from Bonners Ferry-Libby-Eureka follows a river and lake. Its a beautiful ride as well.
    #12
  13. RockyDS

    RockyDS Lost in the wilderness

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    I live 2 hours east of North Saskatchewan River Crossing and I'd say go all the way to Jasper if you've got time.

    http://www.icefieldsparkway.ca
    #13
  14. thetourist

    thetourist Just passing thru

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    Mr Lobster, how many miles a day to you average? 2weeks is not a lot of time to see three states and BC.

    I just did a long dissertation here.

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=763942

    There are some ideas you can probably use.

    If you make miles on pavement and catch some small special forest roads you could see a lot of MT and ID. I would skip Banff and catch it on your way to Alaska, next time.

    Beartooth/Yellowstone will take a couple days. Entering south ID catch Bear Lake and the Oregon Trail Museum in Montpelior if you have time. Head north thru Tetonis and Driggs to Henrys Lake area. Small towns and farm lands.

    Ride the Gravely Range. Epic forest roads. I haven't ridden this yet, but it is on my list. I'm going to do Yellowstone right one of these days. Two weeks plus from ID to Yellowstone and back. You might ask in the MT forum for info on the Gravelys.

    So north on the Gravely Road and south on Ruby Creek/Continental Divide. West and North West on Blacktail Rd to Dillon. I really like this high cattle valley. Truly Big Sky Country.

    Wander over to Lemhi Pass. This is a 30 mi dirt road. Really good views coming from the east.

    Here you could do the Grand Loop of Idaho. North on 93 , west on 12, south on 95 to 55, East at Banks to Stanley and Salmon. Three days of super scenery and low traffic.


    Maybe a shortened Loop, From Salmon 93 south/west to 75. South at Stanley over Galena Pass (designed by Disney:lol3) A beautiful place, The headwaters of the Salmon River.

    Thru Sun Valley and Craters of the Moon. North on 93 to Challis. There is a dirt route to Shoup. If you want. Panther Creek is big bike friendly.

    So you are back on pavement, east then north on 93, catch Ebbets Pass and/or go over the hill from Shoup. these are detailed in the other post.

    Other choices are Magruder Corridor and Lolo Motorway to the west. I gave some details in the other post.

    Arco has good food at Pickles and I use KD's or DK's mom and pop motel a block away.

    Darby...I stay at the old motel on the south side of town. Kitchenettes, Silver Spoon in the center of town was delicious a few yrs ago.
    #14
  15. thetourist

    thetourist Just passing thru

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    that's 7/8 days. I would do a bit of Lolo Motorway then hwy 12 to Greer and north to Pierce. Take the 250 road to I-90. You could do this in a long day or a leisurly day and a half.

    i-90 to St Regis and north to Glacier Park. Valleys, ranchlands and small towns if you stay to the west of 93. No traffic.

    Hit Glacier early in the morning to avoid traffic. I think it is most dramatic entering from the west to east. Exiting the Park the road north is very scenic. Not sure if you have time to go thru Canada. At least go thru the gnarly birch forest. then head back south around the bottom of the park, really nice tight road. Re-enter the park and ride the gravel road north, thru serious bear country, to Polebridge. The Huckleberry brownies are to die for. It took me 4-5 hrs to get from Polebridge to Eureka via gravel.

    You could head into Canada from here. Aim for Creston and do a loop around the lake. Google Selkirk Loop. a paveed drive thru here into Idaho

    Just north of Balfour Ferry is Toad Rock, a cycle campground with showers and laundry and a BYOB bar and entertainment kiosk. Nearby Woodbury Resort has great fish and chips. It has a boat for a sign.

    Just west of Kaslo you can take a forest road 10 mi or so into Kokanee Park. Climb up the mountain to some more serious grizz country.

    Continue around the Selkirk Loop. Or some variation of it.

    Border Crossing into US and south to hwy 2 into MT. South on 56 to hwy 200. West at Thompson Falls to Murray for Lunch and a fun museum.

    Due south out of Murray on gravel to Delta and pavement to Wallace. Nice Picturesque mining town. Spend a couple hours. Old bldgs, mines, brothel museum, railroad station museum. Head south and west on town streets till you find King Street. South on gravel to Moon Pass and Avery.

    East over 50 miles of sublime rustic pavement to St Regis on I-90 Motel 6 and a good restaurant in St Regis.

    you'll probably be ready to head back to Yellowstone by now.

    I hope that helps.
    #15
  16. Lobster

    Lobster Been here awhile

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    AWESOME!!!! Thanks!!!
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  17. KHuddy

    KHuddy Big Sky Country

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    There is a fairly new book out called Motorcycling Montana that provides great info on where to ride in the state. As a fairly new resident of Montana we have found it to be of great help. It provides maps, detailed routes and descriptions of sights to see along the way. You can get one at http://motorcyclingmontana.com. I have no affiliation with the the book in any manner.
    #17
  18. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    McGruder Corridor
    Morgan/Panther Creek
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    rt 12

    MT
    loop around lake koocanusa
    #18
  19. bigskyguy

    bigskyguy Adventurer

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    Beartooth for sure. Your welcome to leave the trailer at my place here in Big Sky, MT. I'm about 30 miles from Yellowstones west entrance and 42 miles South of Bozeman. Your welcome to borrow some rods if ya want to hit the river too. I'm always up for a ride if ya want some local show and tell (good ribs in willow creek near Three Forks, MT). Try and stay off the I-90 and I-15. Pretty, but boring unless you keep it above 120. Good luck and safe travels.
    #19
  20. Lobster

    Lobster Been here awhile

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    Thanks to all who piped up with suggestions.

    All long trips look like they are off this year...damn...hopefully this can be a planning thread for something next year.

    Cheers and thanks again.
    #20