Route

The Adventure Cyclist Association developed in 1998 world's longest off-pavement cycling route and named it “Great Divide Mountain Bike Route”. The original route starts in Banff, Canada and finishes in Antelope Wells at the Mexican Border. The route of 2.808 miles follows the Continental Divide as closely as practicable and crossing it in total 30 times. Out of organisation reasons we have chosen to start in Canmore which is 17 miles south east of Banff.

The Adventure Cycling Association has never envisioned The Great Divide to be a hard-core mountain bike trail full of single tracks. The route has been designed to provide a riding experience primarily on very low trafficked roads through mostly undeveloped areas of the Rocky Mountains.

 
Roughly 70 per cent of the route is composed of county, Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management ( BLM ) dirt and gravel roads. The remainder is made of unpaved four-wheel drive tracks and single tracks ( 5% ), and paved roads ( 25% ).

The full route has
over 200.000 feet of elevation gain and loss for the rider. While most of the route is unpaved, the route does not require highly technical mountain bike riding skills. However you can expect every now and then a section that will challenge you or where walking is necessary.

We have split the total distance into
43 stages and 6 rest days, which results in an average stage length of 65 miles. A handful of stages end up into longer stages due to the distance between suitable and officially authorized accommodations. You can expect 4 stages between 85-95 and one stage of 98 miles. These long stages on off road trails make The Great Divide to an extremely tough expedition with some days many hours on the bike.

The cycling days have mostly the same schedule : after an early start, you cycle the distance at own speed to the next place. The rest days give the possibility to recover or to do site trips to one of the National Parks along the route.

You receive a full set of highly detailed maps of the Adventure Cycling Association at the start in Banff. A GPS which has the option to upload tracks is essential and will be your most important route finder in the remoteness of the American wilderness.



The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route was created and is maintained by the Adventure Cycling Association, a national non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle. For more information, please visit the Adventure Cycling Association Website.