Great Divide Route Montana suggestions

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by byways, Aug 26, 2009.

  1. byways

    byways byways

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    I've been reading the Great Divide book for bicyclists, and have been following several threads on riding it on ADV. Living in eastern Idaho just down the road from the SW Montana, Centennial Valley, Red Rock Pass Road, etc., I've been exploring that area this summer to prepare for a major ride next summer with a group.

    I have some alternates to the official GDR route that folks are following that are far more scenic and rewarding (though not convenient) than the road along Lima Reservoir. They're worth detours they entail.

    Blacktail Road goes northwest/southeast to link Centennial Valley and Dillon (on I-15).

    Also, Centennial Divide Road (No. 100), which runs north-south from Centennial Valley, is another far more scenic road, but a major detour from the official GDR route. But it provides for a spectacular loop up onto the awesome 9,500-foot crest of the Gravelly Range, via Gravelly Range Road (most scenic going south, in my view, but great either way). The Gravelly Range loop consists of roads 347 at the southern end (closed Aprl 1-July 1), through gorgeous Eureka Basin to road 290 (Gravelly Range Road) to Warm Springs Road (163) which connects to Centennial Divide Road (100).

    There is outstanding camping along Centennial Divide Road and Gravelly Range Road, though the latter, being so high, gets cold.

    The downside to Blacktail Road is that it doesn't not connect logically with Big Sheep Creek National Back Country Byway; it requires some time on I-15 to make that connection. The Centennial Divide Road/Gravelly Range Road loop would be a detour as well. But these are definitely worth the effort to work them in to any ride that includes Centennial Valley.

    Benchmark Maps' Montana Road & Recreation Atlas is the best reference for all of this. See pp. 120-121 for details.

    Also, the official GDR misses a picturesque alternate connector to go from Red Rock Pass Road to North Valley/Blacktail Roads. It is at Brundage Bridge, a funky old span across the Red Rock River east of Lima Reservoir.

    I have photos of all of these recommendations, if anyone would like to see what I'm referring to. Here is one of Blacktail Road.

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  2. mklebel

    mklebel Adventurer

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    gps tracks would be awesome! oh and more pics please.
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  3. byways

    byways byways

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    Don't have GPS info. Sorry.

    Here is Black Butte, along Gravelly Range Road, a spectacular detour off the Great Divide route north of Centennial Valley, Montana.

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  4. byways

    byways byways

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    And Eureka Basin, on the road (347) that connects Centennial Divide Road with Gravelly Range Road. Again, part of the detour i would recommend for anyone taking the Great Divide ride.

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  5. Owlseye

    Owlseye Been here awhile

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    Thanks very much; hope to do this in 2010, so I'll dial this in to my maps.
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  6. byways

    byways byways

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    Gravelly Range Road climbs to over 9,500 feet on the crest of its namesake.

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  7. byways

    byways byways

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    Blacktail Road is an awesome link between Dillon, Mt. (on I-15), and Centennial Valley and the official GDR.

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  8. byways

    byways byways

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    Brundage Bridge in Centennial Valley connects a small road to Red Rock Pass Road, part of the Great Divide route.

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  9. byways

    byways byways

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    Send me a note before you go and I'll brief you.
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  10. SuperCape

    SuperCape "There's No Cure For It"

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    I am interested in doing the GDR next summer and would appreciate any info you have.
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  11. byways

    byways byways

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    Well, I've just been doing some scouting in SW Montana, and reading the GDR book. The official route -- done with pedalers in mind, not motorcycles -- connects Big Sheep Creek (terrific route) with Red Rock Pass Road (terrific once again) via Lima Dam Road (if that's what it's called).

    While beautiful Blacktail Road from Dillon would be inconvenient and involve a detour on I-15 to or from Dillon (depending on your direction), once you're in Centennial Valley on Red Rock Pass Road, the side trip looper up Centennial Divide Road to Warm Springs Road, then south on the crest of the Gravelly Range on Gravelly Range Road, then down through Eureka Basin and back to Centennial Divide Road can logically be fit in. After all, you're on a motorcycle, and can cover a lot more territory. The GDR was developed for bicyclists.

    Gravelly Range Road is just perfect.
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  12. byways

    byways byways

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    Another view of Blacktail Road, between Dillon, Mt, to Centennial Valley.

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  13. byways

    byways byways

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    View looking northwest from the road to Eureka Basin and Gravelly Range Road.

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  14. byways

    byways byways

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    Warm Springs Road, at the north end of what I see as a great loop, connects Centennial Divide Road (along the Ruby River, in the green valley in the distance) with Gravelly Range Road (behind me).

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  15. byways

    byways byways

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    Terrific! Remember, the route was put together for folks on bicycles. No reason at all that a DS rider can't expand on it.
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  16. DockingPilot

    DockingPilot Hooked Up and Hard Over

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    :clap
    When this guy tells you to go a certain way on your ds bike..........do it. He knows the best of the western back country.
    "And he's my friend" :ksteve
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  17. SuperCape

    SuperCape "There's No Cure For It"

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    I loved your TAT video, including my favorite music and movies.

    Thanks
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  18. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    Thanks Tony!
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  19. Holaday

    Holaday Man of Leisure

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    Hi Tony

    Gonna PM you for some detailed instructions, will be going through here in August.

    Thanks Blair
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  20. byways

    byways byways

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    Since I'm getting multiple requests, I'll post a couple of recommendations here:

    Best references are Benchmark Road & Recreation atlases (Montana and Wyoming in this case) ...

    After Dillon, Montana, disregard Lima Reservoir Road. It's an uninteresting gravelled road. Instead, from Dillon take Blacktail Road into Centennial Valley. Connect with Centennial Divide Road (100) and follow it north to Warm Springs Road (163). Follow 163 up to Gravelly Range Road, 290 (beware of possible lingering snow this year; it climbs to 9500 ft) and follow 290 south along the crest of the Gravelly Range to a three-way junction where there is an old, weathered picnic table (marked in Benchmark Montana as a Forest Service facility.)

    Turn right (west) downhill. This is road 347 through Eureka Basin; it reconnects with Centennial Divide Road 100. Backtrack on Cent. Divide Road south (great scenery going in the opposite direction, like a new route) to North Valley Road; ride east on N.V. Road to picturesque little Brundage Bridge, on the right. Cross Red Rock River on Brundage Bridge and continue south to connect with Red Rock Pass Road. This is the official GDR route. Ride east on Red Rock Pass Road.

    In Wyoming, on South Pass at the southerly tip of the Wind River Range, just south of Buckskin Crossing ... instead of continuing on Lander Cutoff Road 132 to South Pass City/Atlantic City (a gorgeous ride), you can if you want to fuel up pass Lander Cutoff Road (which goes southeast toward Hwy. 28 and Atlantic City/South Pass City) and continue south on very appealing Elkhorn Cutoff Road 4108, across a badland landscape.

    Make your way to true Parting of the Ways, an important emigrant trail site, then continue on the trail's tracks to the quaint little bridge at Little Sandy Crossing (very important point on the Emigrant Trail as well; see photo of world-champion enduro racer and four-time Dakar completer Eddy Hau on a scouting trip for Magic Adventures in May 2011, in front of course) to the hamlet of Farson, where you can fuel up and grab drinks and food. From there, it's approx. 50 miles on hway 28 northeast to Atlantic City/South Pass City. You also can turn off the highway onto South Pass City Road and go to A.C. that way, very scenic way to go.

    Good luck, all!

    Tony

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