The Montana tour is a counterclockwise loop starting and ending in Missoula Montana. The route travels south before turning east and crossing the Continental Divide. From there will continue East and North working our way back across the Divide. Following the rest day we will head West and North on the scenic byways of the region. This 405 mile, 7 day tour has incredible Mountain and river views with spectacular scenery in the high mountain valleys.
Download the route map (PDF)
WHAT TO EXPECT
This tour is rated Moderate. 67-mile daily average, with one 90 mile day, 13,000 total elevation gain. While there are two mountain passes most of the terrain is flat to rolling. The overall base altitude of the tour could increase the difficulty factor for some. The lowest overnight elevation is 3,200 ft and the highest at 6,010 ft. Lodging for four of the seven nights are in towns where the base elevation is above 5,000 ft.
August tends to have dry warm weather however you should also be prepared for both rain and cold temperatures. Also, with the high base altitude of the tour chilly mornings are always a possibility.
This tour will provide both snacks and lunch on riding days. Breakfast and dinners are your responsibility, however our accommodations provide breakfast three of the seven mornings.
The quality of lodging varies from basic to luxurious. We found all venues acceptable
Saturday, August 14
We meet the first night in Missoula. We’ll share route details and perhaps get to know each other over dinner.
Sunday, August 15 (Day 1) 72 miles approximately 2,000 feet
Today, we’ll head south from Missoula up the Bitterroot Valley on a mix of trails, back roads, and highway shoulders. We’ll cross the Bitterroot River several times as we head to Hamilton to spend our first night.
Monday, August 16 (Day 2) 77 miles - approximately 4,200 feet
We'll continue following the Bitterroot River upstream until we climb out of its valley to cross the Continental Divide while cresting both Lost Trail and Chief Joseph passes (elevation 7,264 ft). From there, we'll descend into the Big Hole Valley and onto the little town of Wisdom (elevation 6,010 ft) for the night.
Tuesday, August 17 (Day 3) 70 miles- approximately 1,700 feet
We’ll head north as we follow the Big Hole River while being treated to the views of the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness and the Pioneer Mountains (10,000 foot peaks). We’ll depart the Big Hole Valley by way of a little-traveled Pass and cross back over the Continental Divide, before dropping into the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort (located halfway between the towns of Butte and Anaconda). Here we spend our rest day.
Wednesday, August 18 (Day 4) Rest Day
The day is your own. Fairmont Hot Springs Resort has many activities to choose from soaking in the Hot Springs, massage, swimming, golf, tennis, hiking, etc. or exploring many of the historical sites in the mining towns of Butte and/or Anaconda.
Thursday, August 19 (Day 5) 70 miles - approximately 1,800 feet
After our rest day we’ll leave town by way of the Pintler Scenic Route. This will take us past Georgetown Lake and down a very fast, curvy descent, into the Flint Creek Valley. We’ll stop for lunch in the town of Philipsburg and then continue through the Flint Creek Valley to the little town of Drummond for the night.
Friday, August 20 (Day 6) 90 Miles - approximately 2,700 feet
From Drummond we’ll continue north climbing out of the Flint Creek valley and over the Garnet Range and into the Blackfoot River Valley. Following the Blackfoot river, we’ll have a fast descent down Hellgate Canyon into Bonner. After zipping through the old logging town of Bonner and down Hellgate Canyon, we’ll arrive at our hotel in East Missoula.
Saturday, August 21 (Day 7) 25 miles approximately 600 feet
We’ll leave East Missoula and ride around the University of Montana as we head towards the Bitterroot River. Following the Bitterroot River we’ll enjoy the scenery and our final miles as we complete the loop and arrive back at our hotel in Missoula.