Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Best of Montana 1000 - 2014

Starting Saturday July 26, 2014.            Latest update date: 7/05/2014 (listed below)

Disclaimer: This is an informal ride designed to support larger adventure motorcycles. It will be conducted on dirt/gravel vehicle roads as much as possible. Pavement is kept to a minimum and mainly to connect dirt stretches which makes it very appropriate to smaller motorcycles. The ride is self directed and self supported which means riders should be prepared to manage themselves including navigating the route, feeding yourself, camping capability (we are shooting for official designated USFS campgrounds every night. 

Occasionally (very rarely) we may be near commercial lodging. Be prepared to manage your motorcycle's mechanical needs and any possible breakdowns including tire repair. Some areas are very remote and may be 50 miles or further from any form of support.  Cell phone coverage will be virtually non-existent other than when traveling near or through any major towns. No guarantees with the routes that will be provided. Remember, you travel these routes and schedules at your own risk. 

As in previous years, with a larger group off riders, sub-groups will naturally form given rider abilities.  There will be no active monitoring of attendees.  Generally accepted safe-motoring is expected as is good motorcycle and support gear preparation. Ride to your ability.  It will be an excellent event to meet other adventure riders and learn from the experience. Routes, tracks, and key waypoints will be provided in GPX files.  If you are not familiar or do not use a routing capable GPS, we will make general route text available and you will be encouraged to ride with other riders who do have GPS capability.

Other than the Pioneer Scenic Byway, this is an entirely new route from previous years. The route runs north to south in MT then West through new country over to the general vicinity of McCall, ID. It includes remote dirt roads near and in Glacier plus the Going to the Sun Road.
Daily mileages will fall between 160 to 195 miles per day. The full formal route will  be close to 1200 miles (Saturday through Friday).

Sat - Day 1 Starting near Troy, MT, we head up to the Yaak country, over to Lake Kocanusa, Eureka, and up through very remote country to Pole Bridge just across the Flathead River from Glacier National Park where we will enter the Park continuing on a dirt route to our first camp at McDonald Lake near West Glacier.

Sun - Day 2 We head over the world famous Going-to-the-Sun Highway and down to East Glacier. After Glacier National Park we head down through East Glacier and on down the Eastern Front with a run up to a remote USFS campground near the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

Mon - Day 3 We head on south through Augusta and Lincoln, up past Granite Butte Lookout and on down to US 12 on Dog Creek near Elliston.  Crossing US 12, we head on up Telegraph Ck across to Remini then over to Park Lake Campground for the night.

Tue - Day 4 We travel to Clancy then back south to Comet and Basin - with a possible side excursion for the adventurous through the Wickes Tunnel (one mile long abandoned railroad tunnel). We need verification of access from locals. From Basin, we go west to the Bernice exit on I-15 then a dirt route to Butte. Through Butte (side trip to Berkley Pit?) then south of Butte cross country dirt to I-15 then Melrose and dirt west to State 43 near Wise River. From Wise River down through the Pioneer Scenic Byway - paved, but one of the best motorcycle runs you can find.  We will stop at the ghost town of Coolidge, then end up at Grasshopper Campground which is very close to Grasshopper Lodge (dinner lodging) and Elkhorn Hot springs.

Wed - Day 5 We proceed on to the historic First Territorial Capitol of Montana - Bannack a preserved ghost town and State Park. From there we head south again on gravel to State 324 for a stretch then overland to Idaho via Lemhi Pass (Sacagawea Memorial) and Sharkey Hot Springs. We pass through Salmon then back to dirt and a remote USFS campground for the night. 

Thu - Day 6 We work our way down to Challis via the Custer Motorway and the ghost town of Custer, back to dirt to Stanley then more dirt towards McCall and another USFS campground (supposedly very near another primitive hot springs.)

Fri - Day 7 The last formal day of the ride, we work our way up through Yellowpine and finally, Burgdorf Hot Springs. There are a bunch of destination waypoints that can be added in this last day.  At this time Burgdorf will be the end of the formal route. There are cabins, a hot springs spa and USFS campground in the vicinity.
Incidental Routes
Burgdorf is fairly remote for ending a ride, but everyone will have to head home some time. This provides an opportunity for more adventure as you leave the ride.  We have routes that continue on over to Elk City, the Magruder Cooridor, up to US 12 along the Selway from Elk City, routes that connect Lowell, ID on the Selway to Powell (Lochsa Lodge) either by US 12 (slab) or via the Lolo Motorway.  More adventure? Connect from the Lolo Motorway north to I-90 near Superior and ride more cross country back roads to Troy for those that left transportation (trailering?) however, the full dirt route back to Troy from Burgdorf adds more than 500 extra miles to the formal route (already sitting at 1200 miles).

For those living around the Missoula area or Bitterroot, I have set a cross country  two day route (much dirt) to get you back to Troy (leaving Lolo on previous Thursday) 248 mi.  Return from Burgdorf to Stevensville via Magruder Corridor 249 mi. See incidental routes below.

 Note on camping in Glacier National Park:

Campsites at Fish Creek and St. Mary are reservable no more than 6 months in advance. Group campsites at St. Mary and Apgar Campgrounds are reservable no more than 12 months in advance. Reservations through must be made 3 days in advance.
Camping fees vary between $10-$23 dollars per night during the summer season. For prices of each individual campground, visit our

These camp sites can be reserved in advance.

Apgar Group Site Reservations

First come, first served - between Polebridge and Apgar
Quartz Ck
Logging Ck
First come, first served - near MacDonald Lake Lodge

Glacier Park Campground Map w/links
Regular sites: Campsite capacity is limited to eight people and two vehicles, where space is available. A maximum of two tents per site is permitted. $20 per site
Group sites: $54 (+over 9 people), 4-7 vehicles per site3-4 tent pads (may be able to place multiple tents per pad) - depending on site.

Park Entry Fee Link  A national Senior Pass can get you discounts , entry and campgrounds (there is also a military pass).

North Fork Hostel- Polebridge

Glacier Campground - Private RV/Tent/Cabins/Backpackers etc. 10 miles out of West Glacier.

Miscellaneous information and links
(Note: we will be updating links and specific information as we move towards July.)
Start 7/26
D1 - Saturday
- Troy via Yaak and Eureka via Tuchuck Rd to Polebridge then Fish Ck CG. To Fish Creek Campground on Lake McDonald172 mi. Gas/food in Yaak, Eureka, food in Pole Bridge. Major rally points - Yaak, Eureka, Pole Bridge. Just out of Troy private campground and several USFS CGs near Yaak Rd turn on US 2.

Truck-in parking: see Robert_W offer here. ADV thread post  #111
The ride will officially begin at the Yaak River Campground approximately 7 miles north-west of Troy on US 2.  There are two separate campgrounds, each on opposite sides of the Yaak River, both on the Kootenai River. Departure time: 9:00.

D2 - Sunday - West Glacier area to Cave Mtn CG
Fish Ck CG In Park to West Glacier over Going-to-the-Sun to East Glacier down East Front to Cave Mtn USFS CG $6 fee. 175 mi.- 342 mi.
Gas & food in West Glacier & East Glacier. Major rally points - West Glacier, Logan Pass, East Glacier.

D3 - Monday - Cave Mtn CG to Augusta to Lincoln Stemple Pass, Granite Lookout, Elliston, to Park Lake CG $8 fee (south of Helena) to Park Lake 195 mi – 537 mi.
Gas/food Augusta, Lincoln, Elliston. Major rally points - Augusta, Lincoln, Granite Lookout, Elliston.

D4 - Tuesday – Park Lake to Basin (no gas, but 7 miles east one way to Boulder) Bernice (Interstate 15 exit 151) cross country to Butte then Anaconda and terminus Grasshopper USFS CG undetermined fee - We reserved the group site.
Gas Boulder (7 miles out & 7 miles back to route if needed), Butte, Wise River. Food - Basin, Butte, Wise River. Major Rally points - Clancy, Basin, Bernice (Exit to dirt on I-15), Butte, Wise River. Allows late day visit to Coolidge, Elk Horne HS, and Grasshopper Lodge.

2/27 update - add dirt segment from Melrose to Wise River adds 25 miles, more dirt , less pavement, more to see, charcoal kilns - thanks 81husky. 186 mi. - 723 mi.

D5 - Wednesday – Grasshopper CG, Bannack, Lemhi Pass, Sharkey Hot Springs, Salmon, Little West Fork CG no fee. 170 mi. - 993 mi.
Gas/food in Wise River, Grasshopper Lodge, Salmon. Major rally points - Bannack, Lemhi Pass, Sharkey Hot Springs, Salmon.

D6 - Thursday - Little West Fork CG via Challis, Stanley to Twin Bridges CG
New route - Stanley to Twin Bridges CG 
Food and Gas in Challis and Stanley, Warm Lake Lodge. Major rally points - Challis, Stanley.

D7 - FridayTwin Bridges CG to Burgdorf HS
Gas at Warm Lake Lodge, and possibly gas in Yellowpine. Major rally points - Yellowpine, Edwardsburg, Warren. Burgdorf CG USFS campground $10 fee.

Updated mileage 2/27/2014
Added fees for USFS campgrounds (vary from $6 to $10) 6/28/2014
Change route D6 (PM) and D7 route. 7/4/2014
Add AM portion back into D6 route.  7/5/2010

Getting there and back.

Incidental routing suggestions:

To Troy from Missoula/Lolo area. 7/24 Thursday Friday Lolo to Troy by slab 211 mi. Fast-n-easy 
More dirt  (162/83MI 2 days)

More-more dirt 247 mi. (163/84mi 2 days) Updated 5/31/2014

Depart routes back t
o Troy Burgdorf to Elk City (123 mi. - 1383 mi.)to US 12/Lowell (171 MI. - 1388 mi) to Powell/Lochasa Lodge (241 mi. - 1453 mi) to Troy 497 mi. - 1709 mi.
Elk City back to Missoula/Lolo area via Magruder Corridor 166 mi. - 1797 mi. 93/71M
Riding from and returning to Lolo will add up to approximately 1900 mi. and add 4 days, 2 on each end.

GPX Tracks/Routes
Tracks/routes of these incidental routes will be included in the final GPX file.
Early planning GPX files will not include routes - tracks and waypoints only. Final versions will include routes. Tracks and routes will be broken down into two per day for size and detail purposes.

Until further notice, these routes are not finalized.  We actively seek input and comment on these routes from local riders or others who have passed these ways. Please feel free to leave comments here or on the ADVRider 2014 Best of Montana 1000 planning thread.
GPX file:
BOM 2014-07-04rh.gpx 7/04/2014 (previous GPX planning files removed)

Updates List:
2/27/2014 - add dirt segment from Melrose to Wise River adds 25 miles, more dirt , less pavement, more to see, charcoal kilns - thanks 81husky. Move camp location to West Glacier area (start for day 2).
3/12/2014 - add Custer Ghost Town to Day 6.
3/19/2014 - add some links/info on Glacier camping.
5/21/2014 - Add update Google Maps route from Lolo to Troy.
6/17/2014 - Update Day 1, Day 3, Day 4 Google Maps route and GPX tracks.
6/28/2014 - Updated USFS campground fees ($6-$10). Revised GPX file.
7/01/2014 - Updated Day 6 and D7 Tracks and Routes GPX and Google Map files.
7/05/2014 - Add D6 AM to Google Maps route link.


  1. I will be there. I will probably leave Texas about the 19 of July. I will be there!

    Brad Collins

  2. Your on the list. Offer still stands to ride out of the homestead here. Looking forward to riding together.