Thursday, August 15, 2013

MONTANA -- Kalispell and Whitefish day rides

I had a chance to visit Whitefish, MT, a real treat.  Taking the train from Portland, OR right in to Whitefish, MT was an overnight trip.  Considering that I didn't book the trip earlier than a few weeks out, I felt that $202 round trip was a decent price.  Each way, you have about 4-5 hours of daylight, so though you don't get to see Idaho or Montana much, since it is dark when traveling through those two states, the views of the Columbia River and the Gorge it runs through are wonderful, coming and going!  

Here are some photographs of Whitefish, MT (train station and scenics from the bike ride I took from Whitefish up and around one side of Whitefish Lake. 





 I highly recommend Glacier Cyclery, in Whitefish.  They can give you ideas for road bike or mountain bike rides in this stunningly scenic area.  

Here is the ride I enjoyed pedaling, described on their website.  (The views of the lake were worth the moderate climbing, and also, my friend and I passed some pristine ranches for the last few miles of the ride before turning around and heading back to Whitefish. Bring water and a snack.  For me, at 62, this was a definite workout, but doable and really gorgeous, as scenery goes.  We passed a few waterfalls, too. )  

"Head of Whitefish via Lakeshore Drive
This 21 mile round trip, out and back ride from town is a great short spin when you don't have a lot of time, but just have to ride. Moderate hills, good road surface and low residential traffic add to the views of Whitefish Lake. Stop by Les Mason Park for a swim on your way back, or head up Big Mountain Road for a fairly steep 5 mile climb to the Whitefish Mountain Resort's base area where you can grab a cold drink and take in some spectacular views. As you sprint along, you may over-take loaded down, trail weary backcountry bike tourers on the Great Divide Route as East Lakeshore Dirve is the route's backdoor entrance into Whitefish."

Also, I had an opportunity to ride the Great Northern Historic Trail from Somers, MT to a point past Kalispell, but not as far as the trail goes to Kila.

Though some of the trail was quite scenic, once I reached the point in the trail where it parallels the highway towards Kalispell, I was a bit disappointed.  The trail itself is nicely paved, and there are benches here and there along the way.  The section paralleling the highway is not as bucolic as I would prefer, however, for a ride in Montana.  That said, it is a valuable route for bicyclists to get from one town to the other, of course, so it is more good infrastructure for cyclists to travel on safely.  Bring WATER.  There is little found in close proximity to the trail itself unless you want to detour from the trail and ride into Kalispell.  There are long stretches with little shade, so in the summer, be advised to wear sunscreen and a good visor, etc.  It can be hot at times if weather inches up in temperature towards 90 degrees.  

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