Big Sky Country
The Glaciers section of the North America Epic runs August 10-19 for 950 km between Banff Alberta to Helena Montana. While the highlight of this stretch is undoubtedly cycling the Going to the Sun road through Glaciers National Park, every day of this section has its highlights.
From the Rocky Mountain resort town of Banff our route takes us down the scenic Kananaskis Highway, part of which only opens in mid-June due to the lingering snow around the 2200 meter Highwood Pass. From there we will spin down Alberta’s Highway 22 known as the Cowboy Trail where the MacDonald Range appears in the distance. After the oil fed town of Pincher Creek riders can cycle into beautiful Waterton Lakes Park before climbing to the remote Canada-USA border crossing at Chief Mountain.
From there we enter the lands of the Blackfeet Indians which surround Glacier National Park. After a rest day at the village of St Mary eating huckleberry pie, we’ll ride through this jewel of the USA parks system gaping in disbelief at the towering peaks that surround us as we climb to the Continental Divide at Logan Pass and then descend past ice fed Lake MacDonald.
From Kalispell it’s a 3 day ride to the capital of Helena, through state forests and ranchlands, along the Flatbush and Blackfoot rivers, including a remote but mostly smooth 20 km off road stretch to avoid traffic, a lunch stop in the bike friendly hamlet of Ovando (population 50) and a sweet ascent and descent on Highway 279 into Lewis and Clark County.
All 8 sections of the NAE offer a different window into the natural splendors of the continent, but if you’ve only got a couple weeks to spare in late summer, the Glaciers section will wow and invigorate you to come back for more.