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Thread: Day Rides Around Glacier National Park

  1. #1
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    Day Rides Around Glacier National Park

    I'm leading a club ride from Denver to Glacier in late June 2012. We'll be coming up from Salmon ID the fourth day and spending two nights in Whitefish MT and two nights in Waterton AL. Wondering if anyone could recommend a day trip from the Whitefish area and a day trip from the Waterton area. We'll be doing the Follow the Sun route in between. Just looking for around a hundred miles for each of the day trips, most will be two-up on RTs and we will have done quite a few miles to get up to that area. Any ideas? Thanks!! Steve

  2. #2
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Not a local by any means, but my niece is a Park Ranger at Glacier.

    We were up that way summer 2010. Usually, the Going to the Sun road is open by late June. It was mid June when we were there and was still closed near the Logan Pass summit. Depends on how much snow they get up there.

    A truly great road recommended to us by Jim Shaw is MT 37 from Libby to Eureka called the Lake Koocanusa Scenic Byway. It's a bit east of Whitefish and can be reached from the Libby side by US 2 or to the Eureka end on US 93. Great scenery along the way. We had it to ourselves most of it's length and the pavement was new. We did it north to south and had the lake on our right along the route... beautiful road.

    We did a loop to Waterton for lunch from West Glacier headed east on 2 crossing on 17 at Chief Mtn and came back thru Roosville/Eureka back to Whitefish...however it was near a 300 mile loop and neither my sister who rode with me nor my sister in law on back with my brother were happy with my long day.The route was changed at lunch due to a huge line of storms w/lightning from where we came from. I took us west to re-enter the US to avoid the light show...caught us as we entered Whitefish.

    The huge lodge above Waterton is worth stopping and looking down at the town and Waterton Lake glacier carved views. My brother was on a mega large Victory Vision, I was on a GSA and Helen on her 1150R...no issues with roads.

    I am sure more local info will be headed your way...makes me want to go back just talking about it. You going to catch Chief Joseph Hwy, Beartooth Pass or Lolo Pass while in the general area?
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
    It's not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away-D.Dillon/G. Strait

  3. #3
    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
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    We were out in Glacier at the end of June, 2011. Going to the Sun was not open, and in fact did not open until well after we got home. It was some time in mid-July I think. It would be a great road to ride, but we had plenty of riding without it. Route 2 that runs from East to West Glacier is actually very picturesque, as is the road along the east side of park and up into Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.
    Dan

  4. #4
    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
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    Steve:

    From Waterton, take #6 north to 507 (just south of Pincher Creek), then west to 774, and south to Castle Ski Area. When you run out of pavement, backtrack north to #3 and go east to Lundbreck. Follow the signs to the falls. Continue east to #6 and go south to Pincher Creek, where you can have lunch.

    From Whitefish, the best run is probably the Koocanusa, as mentioned above. Another one would be 40 east to 206 and 35 south, around Flathead Lake, and returning north up 93.

    I just did a trip report on the Rennlist, that covers part of your route:

    http://forums.rennlist.com/rennforum...ip-report.html

    Finally: plan your trip on the assumption that the Going to the Sun will be closed in late June. However, there is new asphalt between Kiowa junction and St. Mary, on 89, and it is now a glorious ride.

    ...route 2... is actually very picturesque...dancogan
    For the riding, or driving, I actually prefer the Marias Pass route over Going to the Sun.
    Last edited by Rinty; 10-29-2011 at 05:37 PM.
    Rinty

    "When you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."

  5. #5
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    Goint to the Sun Route

    Sounds like not assuming that the Going to the Sun highway will be open on June 28th would be the prudent thing to do. These suggestions are very helpful, guess I'll dig my maps out and try to get a little more specific. Steve

  6. #6
    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMorleyW View Post
    Sounds like not assuming that the Going to the Sun highway will be open on June 28th would be the prudent thing to do. These suggestions are very helpful, guess I'll dig my maps out and try to get a little more specific. Steve
    You never know. But 2011 was the second latest opening ever for Going to the Sun Road. The only later one was the year it first opened. There is plenty of riding around there even if it's closed.
    Dan

  7. #7
    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
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    Steve:

    You can check the status of the Going to the Sun Road at this site, just before you go. I keep it bookmarked:

    http://home.nps.gov/applications/gla...roadstatus.cfm

    Also, there's another ride near Waterton Townsite that I didn't mention: the Akamina Parkway to Cameron Lake. The junction is on the east side of the town, and it's 9 1/2 miles to the top. Well worth doing.
    Last edited by Rinty; 11-06-2011 at 04:15 PM.
    Rinty

    "When you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."

  8. #8
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    my 2 cents

    I am going to take slack over this advice, being Canadain, but I would spend three Days in Whitefish and only one in Waterton, or stop in Waterton for lunch, head to Pincher Creek than head up to Kananaskis on hi-way 22 and 40, if time permits

  9. #9
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    In 2011 the Road to the Sun opened on Jul 13, 2011. I know because my wife & I went that way on trip from Lethbridge Alberta to Kalsipell, Sandpoint Idaho. There was a record amount of snow in the mountains and there was still 20ft drifts at the top on July 17th when we went through.

    The Road to the Sun is still under construction and it will probably be another couple of years before they get it done. Its still passable but you may have to stop once & awhile for road construction. I see somebody has sent you the link to that page for info, so that will help you out.

    A couple of trip suggestions.

    You could make a loop from Kalsipell, to Babb ( via the Road to the Son ) take #17 hwy, to the Chief Mountain Border Crossing ( only open in Summer ), to Waterton Park, # 6 to Pincher Creek, # 3 Hwy through the CrowsNest Pass into BC, take # 93 Hwy back via Eureka to Kalispell. Looks like it would be about 340 miles.

    Another good short day trip is around Flathead Lake. # 93 Hwy south to #35 Hwy and a stop in Big Fork for Lunch. Very pretty, Big Fork is a real neat little town with artsy shops etc. Its about 100 miles. Its worth a visit.

    #2 West of Kalsipell over to Bonners Ferry then to Sandpoint Idaho and back on
    # 200 Hwy & #28 Hwy to # 93 Hwy and back into Kalispell. That's about 370 miles.

    The above are a couple of suggestions for what they are worth. I've done all 3 over the years on bikes ranging from an old Suziki GS 550, to a Gold Wing, to a Harley Softail. So just about any bike will have no problem. Very pretty country and the temps can vary from the mid 90s to 40's, so your choice of riding gear has to be flexible. You can also run into lots of wind being so close to the mountains. Not to scare anybody but gusts to 40-50 mph are possible, so you may have to remain a bit flexible on your day rides.

    Have a safe trip.
    1971 R50/5 SWB with R75/6 drivetrain
    2013 DL650

  10. #10
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    Our Trip is Getting Closer

    Thanks to all who posted. We have 16 people and 12 bikes coming on our trip from Denver, (leaving June 23). As the Ride Captain I've decided the Whitefish day will be "on your own" but Susan and I will most likely ride around Flathead Lake. The Waterton day, I think we'll take the boat and stay off the bike, but again, some in our group will ride. We've had the smallest snow year here in the Colorado Rockies in 30 years, don't know about the Canadian Rockies, but we're going to be all melted here in late May early June, and that includes Independence Pass and Trail Ridge Road, our two highest.

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