The best road trips often involve the least planning. Start with a loose idea—in this case bikes—and go from there. Know basically where you’re headed and what you’ll do once you get there, but be flexible and take what comes. That’s the kind of thinking that has us sleeping on the roof of a Jeep at the top of a ski area along the Montana-Idaho border in October.
It all started, as these things often do, around a shared six-pack. Ryan and I wanted to send off the trail season with one last hoorah—an ending worthy of a riding-filled summer. We had the time; we needed the reason—we chose the Continental Divide.
One side drains to the Pacific, the other to the Atlantic—and we decided to ride along its length, as closely as we could, where the divide straddles the border between Montana and Idaho.
Much has been made of the Great Divide race, during which entrants pedal their way from Canada to Mexico near and around the Continental Divide. But what about the cherry singletrack that weaves its way much closer to the literal divide between west and east? Rumors rattle around the web about epic backcountry trail nestled between small towns like West Yellowstone and Salmon, but how does it ride? What are the views like? How are the climbs? And what about the descents? Only one way to find out…