If you find yourself with a bike in northwest Montana, get ready for specular rides, your biggest problem will be deciding which trail to take! The following are my favorites including several little know trails I recommend.
But first some history:
Highway 2, US 2 is a vital northern corridor for Montana. The road passes from Seattle Washington thru Idaho and into Montana. This scenic highway has more of its mileage within Montana than in any other state. It passes through three Indian reservations, comes very close to two others, and skirts the southern border of Glacier National Park. Most of the Montana segment of US 2 runs close to the northern BNSF Railway main line, and this is important because the railway can give you access to more trails. This is a big land with large distances between towns, and hopping on and off the rail with you bike will allow you to cherry pick the best roads and trails.
US 2 passes into Montana 10 miles from Troy, a s
mall town. It is also near the lowest point in Montana, where the Kootenai River leaves the state. The first large town the highway comes to is Libby. (the home office of RideOut Technologies). After this it meanders south and east towards Kalispell, a city of about 20,000 residents north of Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River. From there the highway passes through the southern end of Glacier National Park and follows the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. After crossing the continental divide at Marias Pass west of East Glacier, the highway exits the Rocky Mountains and begins its trek through the northern plains. Just before entering East Glacier, it crosses the boundary of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation of northern Montana.
Hwy 2 was the very first paved road to reach Glacier National Park, built by hand in the late 1920’s for cars, (Model T’s) and buggies. Today, sections of the highway have been preserved in as an historic trail around the area of the Kootenai Falls. Much of the road was single lane when it was built and now a fantastic single track! You ride up 400 feet above the falls with sheer rock drop-offs, tall timber covered “tunnels” of Cedar and Fir, mossy water-filled gullies. It is hard to keep your eyes on the trails for the amazing scenery yet stay attentive to the trail as going off would mean certain death!
There are two entrances to these two preserved sections, yet they are poorly marked as hiking trails at the side of the road. Call the office, 208/866-5313 and we’ll give you specifics on how find the entrances.
This is the first of several posts about biking Montana.