Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: best ride from Glacier Nat'l Park to Missoula

  1. #1
    Grant Grant63rt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Bellevue, NE
    Posts
    234

    Question best ride from Glacier Nat'l Park to Missoula

    Hopefully one of you folks out west can help me out. On the way to Spokane I hope to hit Glacier Park and Lolo Pass. My riding partner and I can't seem to agree on the best route from Columbia Falls to Missoula. I'd like to ride rt 93 along Flathead Lake right into Missoula. It's marked scenic on my atlas but not my friends. He thinks we should take rt 83 which would swing us out to the east befor hitting rt 200 into Missoula. That road is marked scenic on his atlas. It's obviously a longer ride but seems to avoid a lot of small towns (and allow some higher speeds ). 83 seems to be in a valley all the way while 93 appears to wind around a bit more. We've also considered rt 35 that goes along the east shore of Flathead lake before rejoing rt 93. Has anyone riden any (or all) of these roads? Would you choose one over the other? I'd love to hear your opinion as well as any desciptions you'd care to share. If anyone has any pictures from these roads that would be great too!

    Grant
    Rochester, NY
    Last edited by grant; 02-23-2004 at 03:51 AM.

  2. #2
    Blocking the slow lane
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Elburn, IL
    Posts
    1,843
    The west side of Flathead Lake sucks. Lotsa recreational areas with a limited speed limit, and even once you clear the lake its not particularly quick down to Missoula. The east side of the lake is supposed to be beautiful road.
    Jon Diaz
    BMW K75/K12GT
    BMWMOA Ambassador

  3. #3
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Calgary
    Posts
    1,765
    I've never had the chance to ride down #83 but I've heard its good. As I recall the ride south down #93 from Kalispell to Missoula is nice, but nothing special.

    Another (much longer) option is to head north up #93 from Kalispell to Eureka, then take #36 over to Libby, then west on #2 to #56 and south on it to #200 and then back down to #93 and into Missoula. It's about a 330 mile trip, but on some great roads.

    I assume that you are planning to cross Logans Pass in Glacier Park on the Going To The Sun road. I'd reccomend getting going on it early in the morning before all the slooooooow RVs and buses plug it up. Not that you want to go too fast on it anyway, but its nice not to be caught in the traffic jams.
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2009 F800GS
    I can't wait to retire and have a fixed income. The one I have now is always broke.

  4. #4
    Grant Grant63rt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Bellevue, NE
    Posts
    234

    Thanks Jon & Ed

    Originally posted by MCMXCIV-RS


    ... west on #2 to #56 and south on it to #200 and then back down to #93 and into Missoula....

    ... Logans Pass in Glacier Park on the Going To The Sun road. I'd reccomend getting going on it early in the morning before all the slooooooow RVs and buses plug it up...
    Thanks for the advice guys. Ed, thats the second time I've had someone suggest the 2, 56, 200 loop. I'll have to give it some serious thought. As for Logans Pass, I'm not sure if we'll get there in time to avoid the rush but we'll give it our best shot.

    Grant
    Rochester, NY
    Last edited by grant; 02-24-2004 at 03:13 AM.

  5. #5
    MT State of mind
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    856

    Know it very well

    I worked in Columbia Falls for 15 years and have been living in Missoula for 8 years, so maybe I can help.

    The route from GNP to Spokane via Lolo Pass is a little "S" and going from Columbia Falls to Eureka/Troy to Missoula to Lolo to Spokane is a backwards capital "Z". Depends on how much time you want to take from GNP to Spokane - two days, a week? One day is GNP to Columbia Falls to Kalispell, then Hwys 93 to 28 to 200 to 135 to I-90 at St Regis. Hwy 28 is lots of fun, you climb a moraine.

    To Missoula on Hwy 93 - We use this route when we need to make time and get there quick. It's a commuter route. Long, fast sweepers, lots of passing lanes, otherwise two lanes, goes through Kalispell and a few other cities so lots of local and truck traffic, 45mph through the reservation, overall speed limit 65mph day and night by legislative fiat. Runs along Flathead Lake and through the middle of a wide valley (approx 30 miles or more across, lots of hay and mint fields) surrounded by mountains. Can be hot, sunny. Photos from last Fall's ride:
    Hwy 93 S of Flathead Lake

    Flathead Lake near Polson


    East side of Flathead Lake Hwy 35 is nice but a very small part of the whole trip you will be taking, so I'd skip it unless you have time to go around the lake entirely. That's cool. It's worth a stop in Bigfork if you're near there. Be careful going over the wooden decked one-lane bridge that spans the Swan River at the edge of town.

    Best option balancing time, scenic beauty, pavement: From Columbia Falls go down Hwy 206, take Swan Hwy 83 (turn at Little Brown Church which is currently painted white but the sign still says "Brown"). This is one of the local riders' favorite routes and similar travel time to Missoula as Hwy 93. Narrow slot canyon between two mountain ranges (roughly 5 miles or less aross), heavily wooded, lots of wildlife (known locally as Deer Alley but I've seen turkey, turtles, bear, heron, etc as well as deer on the road), overall speed limit 70mph days, 65mph night but in some areas you will go off the road at those speeds, narrow two lane and lots of twisties, few sweepers. Can be cool, shady. Goes past lots of lakes, through a few villages or wide spots with bars. Fuel in Seeley Lake. Photo from last Fall's ride:
    Swan Lake, Hwy 83


    Then you hit Hwy 200 and into Missoula is along the Blackfoot River to its confluence with the Clark Fork, the last 5 miles is Interstate or old hwy frontage road.

    (Instead of turning at the Little Brown Church, you can go into Bigfork, then leave on a cut-across 209 and catch 83. There is fuel in Bigfork on the lakeside of town.)

    This may help - here are the hwys you're considering: This photo is looking to the East from a pullout on Hwy 93, looking across Wild Horse Island in Flathead Lake. The Mission Mountains in the background create the far shore. Hwy 35 runs at their base along the east shore of the lake. Hwy 83 runs at their base but on the other side, in the Swan Valley, between the Mission and Swan ranges.

    Last edited by Montana; 02-24-2004 at 01:18 AM.

  6. #6
    Grant Grant63rt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Bellevue, NE
    Posts
    234

    Thanks again Montana!

    Montana..You've been a great help. The advice you've given me here and on a previous thread ("route 2 to Spokane") has been terrific. The photos are fantastic! I can hardly wait for july.

    Grant
    Rochester, NY

  7. #7
    99052
    Guest
    We rode from Missoula around flathead lake and back to Missoula last summer and both sides of the lake were exceptional. i think you will find there simply is not enough time to ride it all. East side of Flathead was really cool lake homes and cherry orchards. The road was 2 lane and narrow in places. Kind of closed in with tress and the lake. The west side was more open with bigger views of the lake and valley. West side seemed faster because of the wider highway and openess. Either side of the lake, I think you will find enjoyable.
    Dormer

  8. #8
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    SW Iowa
    Posts
    1,524
    I was out there last year and I agree with Ed Miller. Routes 2, 56, and 200 will make a great ride if you have time. If not, I liked the east side of Flathead better than the west. Once you get to Polson the fun is over as 93 is very busy the rest of the way to Missoula.
    When you cross Lolo Pass there is a Lodge a little west of the pass that has good food and desserts. Sorry I can't remember the name, but it's on the south side of the road back in the trees. It has fuel, so there should be a sign for that.

  9. #9
    MT State of mind
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    856
    Lochsa (pronounced Lock-saw) Lodge, the turn off is near the fire truck sign, the Powell ID ranger station and the campground.

  10. #10
    Grant Grant63rt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Bellevue, NE
    Posts
    234
    Thanks all!...Adding Lochsa Lodge to my "to do" list

    Grant
    Rochester, NY

  11. #11
    BMWRich58
    Guest
    In 2002 I rode Rt93 from GNP all the way to "Lost Wages" Neveda. Excellant route! Right along the Salmon river.
    Some area's that you drive thru, you can witness "nature's" regrowth after some bad forest fires just a few years ago
    Just south of the Lolo Pass turnoff on Rt93 was a little Harley kinda shop where the owner provided a place for me to do maintenence on my bike. His name was Brian Roberts. He works on all kinds of bikes. He was a "cool dude"!
    Just south of him a few miles was an RV park I camped at that night. It is called the "Black Rabbit RV Park".
    This place is loaded with "1/2 wild/domesticated" if that's such a word rabbits. They "litterally" are all over the place,sitting on picnic tables,hanging outside the bathrooms,ontop of parked cars,I mean everywhere!. They will even try to get into your tent. The owner told me of the story on how they became so populated with rabbits. I did manage to on "accident" at night,catch one with the front tire at night. They will run right out in front of you as you drive thru the park.
    Still, it was a neat "oddity place" to camp for the night.
    Of course Rt93 in Idaho, now that was the best!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •