Off the beaten path Idaho, Montana, Wyoming
I've started this bad habit of spending massive amounts of time on google maps, scouting riding and planning out trips. Mind you I have a handful of these trips mapped out and on the list to complete. I made one recently and completed the trip over labor day weekend. It was better than I had ever anticipated.
I believe anyone that wants to see what Idaho and Montana are really like rather than busting through on the interstate and getting to the going to the sun road or lolo pass should check this out. I've done Lolo Pass before and was mildly impressed with the 99 miles of curves mostly repetitive but still a blast. I've also done the Going to the Sun road. Let me tell you, my backyard has Beartooth pass in it so it is hard to beat the quality of the scenery and the technical riding you experience on the pass. So naturally I was slightly disappointed with the Going to the Sun road in a technical sense but awed in the scenery sense. Anyhow enough of the ranting and hearing how tough it is to live in this part of the country.
The tour begins in Dubois, WY close to where I'm based out of. The tour takes you over Togwotee Pass; which we were fortunate enough to see a sow grizzly bear and her two cubs far enough from the road that we weren't in any serious danger, down through the stunning Teton Park, Jackson, over Teton Pass. We stayed at a forest service campground just outside Victor, ID called the Mike Harris Campground cost about $12 for a tent site. The next day we continued on and crossed over the pass to Swan Valley, ID and then traversed a boring portion of Idaho until we reached Arco, ID. Here the heading veered North into the mountainous country with towering mountains to the east and west of us. After filling up in Mackay, ID we continued north then turned towards the west before arriving in Challis, ID. From here the riding is spectacular, it is a winding road until you reach Stantley, ID. Making a right hand turn and continuing west from Stanley the scenery is worth a million as you have the Sawtooth Mountains to the South. From Stanley, you continue westward towards Garden Valley/ Banks area. Again nothing but mountain and canyon riding. Making the turn North near Banks, ID the riding continues it windy and curvy path until you break out to some flatter country around Cascade, ID. It's rather flat but beautiful country from there until you reach New Meadows, ID. Continuing North towards Kamaih, ID the riding desends back into the canyon/river bottom for sometime. It's important to note that this part of the trip passes through a place they call the Hell's Canyon Recreation Area and it is very aptly named. The temps soared into the triple digits so note to self stop a few times and remain hydrated. Upon reaching Grangeville, ID you'll want to follow the signs leading you to Kooksia. The road going this way is an absolute blast and continuing the trend of the mountains and winding roads. We stayed the second night in the KOA in Kamiah, great place. From Kamiah, ID we turned back to the east following the Clearwater River till we were up and over Lolo Pass. We took a short stint of I-90 from Missoula, MT to Drummond, MT where we turned south and took the scenic route to Anaconda via Phippsburg, MT. From Anaconda, MT, we turned south again taking the Montana Route #569 to Wisdom. It is important to note that the road is rough and they had about 7 miles of it tore down to gravel but the view was 100% worth it. From Wisdom, you ride through some of the most magnificent wide open spaces with nothing but mountains in all directions. We rode Widsom -Dillon - Twin Bridges - Ennis - Grayling - Big Sky. There are some streches on this path where you just set the cruise at 80 and enjoy the scenery and others where you will ride over small passes. Spent the night in the Red Cliff Campground near Big Sky the third night. Starting out the next morning was a real treat with the mercury sitting at 34 degrees and dipping down to 32 making for nothing short of a chilly ride down into Bozeman. I recommend by-passing Bozeman and continuing North to Belgrade then jumping on the 90 until you reach Columbus, MT. From Columbus, MT, we were back in more familiar country going through Absarokee, MT then into Red Lodge, MT. We then we went over Beartooth Pass then turned onto Chief Joseph Highway and back into Cody.
Moreover, we didn't need to do it in 3 days but we did. I really do recommend this trip. I'd never heard of the amazing riding in Central Idaho before and wanted to write this so that more people would have the opportunity to enjoy it!
I have attached a map of the route, and several pictures from our trip. Hope it was an interesting read and peaked some interest for riding this route!
2006 FLTRI 95 Cu in., CNC, 257 cams, S&S flywheel, V&H 2 into 1 Pro Pipe, SE Super Tuner, Jim's 6 speed trans, custom paint, radio delete, enclosed belt drive primary, 18 in apes
2017 FLTRX Bassani Road Rage 2 into 1, SE Tuner, 18 in apes
Last edited by hawk06Glide; 09-17-2019 at 04:04 PM.