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Week 2 : Whitefish - Butte

Start : Whtiefish, Montana, USA
Finish : Butte, Montana, USA
Dates : August 21st - 28th, 2017
Riding days : 6
Distance : 355 miles

After your visit to Glacier National Park, it’s time to continue the Great Divide. You depart Whitefish via a series of right-angled paved roads which cross the flats between Flathead River and the Swan Mountains. It’s worth taking a break in Columbia Falls at Montana’s Coffee Traders before you continue over the relatively flat farm country. The agrarian flats and straight roads end when you return into the
Flathead National Forest with its winding gravel roads through groves of western larch trees some up to 200 feet tall. This stage out of Whitefish finishes at the placid Swan Lake surrounded by the Swan Mountains with peaks of 8,000 to 9,000 feet.
 
   
More forests and wilderness follow until you reach
Seeley Lake. Gravel roads are alternated with sections of single tracks along the steep cliffs of the Mission and Swan Mountain ranges. Cycling is more technical and sometimes even walking might be necessary. This area is the “Grizzly Basin” and although it is unlikely that a bear will cross your path, you should keep a watchful eye and let the bears know that you are visiting by singing a song and making noise. The locals like to sing “Yo bear” as they pass to avoid surprising the residents!

Leaving the forest, the surroundings now open as you approach
Ovando, a little community with only 50 residents and a few century old buildings. Thousands of acres of open ranch country surround you. Stroll the few streets of Ovando and you walk into the past – an almost forgotten piece of Montana’s history and culture.
The Great Divide now leads you towards the City of Helena, the Capital of the State of Montana with some tricky river crossings and sometimes very steep climbs through the Helena National Forest. But as you will see, it’s not always pristine nature in these high woods; you will also see some intensive logging and the remains of now defunct mines.

A rapid descent on a paved highway brings you into the city which owes its existence to the gold discoveries in the Last Chance Gulch by four prospectors in the summer of 1864. The discovery of placer gold, quartz gold and silver, as well as lead, created the overnight boom town. Helena is nowadays one of United States smallest state capitals with a population of just 28,000 and other than
Butte one of the two “big” cities along The Great Divide. Butte is a tough day’s cycling from Helena and is slightly bigger with 34,000 inhabitants.

Read more in the BROCHURE..