Day 11: West Yellowstone to Big Sky
We witnessed our first accident today, somebody backed into a camper and sent it back within feet of our campsite. Luckily there was a fence in the way or the trailer would have smashed right into us. I recommended that Madison Arm Resort contact our headline sponsor, Leavitt Recreation & Hospitality Insurance, as they are the largest providers of insurance for Campgrounds and RV parks.
The 60 mile ride up to Big Sky, Montana, was beautiful but terrifying. Gallatin Highway has stunning views and I highly recommend driving it. I do not recommend cycling it, however. There were many sections with no shoulder and lots of blind spots behind curves. I found myself sprinting from guardrail to pull off for a section of 20 miles while also being very aware of the 30 or so road side fatality signs I passed on that stretch.
We stayed at Greek Creek Campground which is a beautiful U.S. Forest Service property. It sits in Gallatin Canyon directly on the Gallatin River which is a very popular location for fly fishing, white water rafting, and kayaking.
We decided to skip Bozeman since we couldn’t find a site there, so I’m looking forward to exploring Big Sky and riding singletrack tomorrow! Find campgrounds near Big Sky, Montana.
Day 12: Rest Day in Big Sky
Brent, Camp Native COO, and another friend, Casey Besler, came up from Spearfish to visit and ride mountain bikes. We had brunch at the Corral (just south of Big Sky), and enjoyed some outstanding steak and eggs! After brunch we went up to the mountain and had a blast riding mountain bikes on Big Sky. They’ve done an amazing job of building miles of flowing singletrack with big swooping berms. I rode Buffalo Jump (double black diamond) with Besler. It was an extremely technical route of steep sand, rock, roots, and a frequent 3 – 5 foot drop. We even got Cody on a bike and sent him down a black diamond run! We caught the last chair up, thanks to Besler charming the lift attendant. From the top there is a 12 mile ride back down into the Big Sky Village. Awesome ride!
We stayed the night at Greek Creek Campground again.
Big Sky Village is an upscale ski resort village with lots of great restaurants, but they do a good job of keeping prices in check as everything seemed pretty reasonable. We ate family style at Lotus Pad (Thai restaurant). Don’t let the reviews scare you away, it was one of the better meals I’ve had in quite some time. Big Sky is a popular year-round destination. Visitors come here for hiking, fly fishing, rock climbing, horseback riding, skiing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, and of course, mountain biking.
Day 13: Big Sky to Three Forks
We woke up to a cold, rainy day. After breaking camp at Greek Creek, we went back into Big Sky to meet up wit a friend who lives in the area (Scot) for breakfast. Scot strongly advised me not to ride the canyon to Three Forks because there are no shoulders and lots of truck traffic. After some discussion, I agreed to pick up my bike and drive to Three Forsk, Montana.
We stayed at Three Forks Campground which is a commuter campground off of I90 and just west of Bozeman. The property offered hot showers and a lounge area which was nice after spending a couple nights in a rustic site.
Three Forks, Montana, is best known as the Headwaters of the Missouri River. Having been to the Headwaters of the Mississippi, it’s interesting to me how these mighty rivers start out as small streams. Headwaters State Park, the Headwaters Trail System, golf, Buffalo Jump State Park, fly fishing, and Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park are all popular family activities in the area.
Day 14: Three Forks to Helena
After two days off the Raleigh road bike, my legs were feeling strong! I pedalled 70 miles to Helena, Montana. Helena was really hazy due to forest fires, but it did make for an amazing bright red sunset. I didn’t get any time to explore as we needed to restock supplies and catch up on some work.
We stayed at Lincoln RV Park which is about 5 miles outside of town. It’s a clean park with showers, a store, and lounge area.
We setup camp and realized we’d forgotten a critical item – a propane tank. Fortunately we had some charcoal, but not much. I was cooking with cast iron so I’ve learned a trick to increase the heat. Simply pour a bit of whiskey in the pan and light it on fire. It’ll cook your food in half the time and adds great flavor.
As the capital of Montana, Helena offers quite a bit in the way of recreation, dining, and entertainment. Popular outdoor recreation in the area includes hiking, geocaching, biking, disc golf, fishing, floating, downhill skiing, and snowshoeing. There are multiple ghost towns nearby that are great for day trips as well a number of museums and the iconic Continental Divide. Find campgrounds near Helena, Montana.
Day 15: Helena to Lincoln
Being on the outskirts of Helena, I was a bit down on the town as it seemed pretty industrial. I needed to do a little work so we packed up and found a coffee shop downtown. Downtown Helena is really cool with lots of older architecture, eclectic shops, and restaurants. I recommend Firetower coffee – try their breakfast sandwich, it’s very good! After catching up on some things, I took off on the bike to Lincoln, Montana. The first 20 miles or so went by smoothly through beautiful rolling hills, but the hills soon turned into a big mountain pass that I had to climb. The payoff was amazing views at the top, but I also had to deal with a strong head wind into Lincoln. I’ve never had to pedal so hard down hill!
We stayed at Spring Creek RV Park just on the edge of town. A nice park with a small creek running through it which you can pitch your tent right next to. They also have a bathhouse which is frequented by travelers on the Divide Trail. Find campgrounds near Lincoln, Montana.
Lincoln is a small town of around 1,100 population situated close to the Continental Divide Trail. I met several hikers and bikers from all over the world who were doing the trail which is over 3,000 miles from Canada to Mexico. Lincoln also happens to be the nearest town to where the Unabomber hid out. Looking at the vastness of the surrounding forest and mountains, I could see how it would be a difficult place to find him. Lincoln is surrounded by the Scapegoat and Bob Marshall Wilderness which provides visitors with awesome opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, fishing, snowmobiling, and backcountry skiing. In town, we stopped at the Wheel Inn Tavern for your typical fried food fare, but they did have buckets of beer for $6. When in Lincoln…
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