Touring - What should I not miss?
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03-20-05, 08:34 AM
This summer I am Starting in Acadia NP and bikeing west. My general plan is to go through vermont and New Hampshire and New York, into Canada and over to Michigan. I plan on riding the ferry to Wisconsin and to Minnesota then into the Dakotas. From there into Wyoming and Montana then to Washinton and Oregon. Grom there, down to Calafornia, then to to four corners area. At this point, I might come home, or if I still have some money I will stay down there for a while. I will see all of the big name places (Yellowstone, Badlands, Mt Rainier, etc...) but I am looking for smaller county or state parks that are worth seeing. Time is absolutly no factor, I am quitting my job so I does not matter when (or if) I get back. I do have some money saved, so money is also not a huge factor. Thank you for your help.
I can add atid bit here.... When going through ND (that is IF ou go through ND) go north of hiway 2 and go up to the international peace garden.. it'll give you a tiny taste of the climbs the rockies have in store for you plus you can see this:
Peace Garden (http://www.peacegarden.com/)
If time is no object you could check out the badlands and then this part of the country.. it really is beautiful. Then when you get to MT I'd drop down to hiwy 200 and make your way to GF, maybe down to helena, over to Missoula, up to glacier, and then all points west.
03-20-05, 01:38 PM
The single most splendid one day ride I've enjoyed while touring in the US is Going to the Sun Road across Logan Pass in Glacier National Park, Montana. I went west to east, and am not sure if the experience would be the same in the other direction due to some unusual aspects of the road and topography. I benefited from perfect weather there.
I would also make sure you see some virgin redwood groves in far northern California. I recall that Jedediah Smith State Park had some impressive groves. There is nothing like an old growth redwood forest.
If you find yourself crossing northern Vermont, the Haskell Free Library & Opera House built literally on top of the Canada-US border at Derby Line, VT, & Stanstead, PQ, is absolutely worth a visit. See:
03-20-05, 01:48 PM
Sorry, I clicked on the wrong symbol. Here's the hotlink for the Haskell Library & Opera House:
Yeah, glacier is pretty cool.. I lived in West Glacier for 3 years :-)
03-20-05, 03:18 PM
If you head through Western New York, don't miss Letchworth ("The Grand Canyon of the East") or Allegany parks. Allegany is especially great, and reminds me a lot of the Bavarian hills..it's also right in the heart of Amish country, and they make the best baked goods ever, which they sell by the roadside if you look for the signs. Plenty of neat things in Allegany: Red House Lake is lovely, the thunder rocks are a blast to climb, and the bear caves are really neat too. Stealth camping is much easier in Allegany. Letchworth is a bit more of a pain, since it's like a single snaking road through a finger-shaped park.. the backpacking is somewhat better there though, since it's a massive gorge and just filled with falling water spots.
Oh, and Glacier Park is excellent. I had one of the best nights of my life camping next to Lake McDonald. Unreal how beautiful it is...
03-20-05, 06:46 PM
Camping on public lands in the West -
You can camp free on most public lands in the West - there are 3 major agencies - Bureau of Land Management (tan on maps), National Forest Service (green on maps) and National Park Service (sometimes purple, sometimes dark green). On BLM and NFS lands it is okay to camp anywhere 1 mile away from developed campsites. This doesn't apply for NPS lands. Also state lands (light blue on maps) usually have significant restrictions.
Coming across Lake Michigan will put you into Manitowoc - - check out the Wisconsin DOT website and find the bicycle program - - Wisconsin has incredible bike maps which show rural roads with very low traffic. You can download county maps from this webpage.
Minnesota - has some great east-west rail trails in the southern part of the state.
Cannon Valley and Saketah from Red Wind thru Northfield to Mankato.
South Dakota - I prefer crossing South Dakota because of the Black Hills - SD 34, US 14 yo SD 44 is a nice route across to Rapid City. The western Black Hills have wonderful meadows with brooks running thru - if you can do a few dirt roads. Also Mickelson Trail -
Wyoming - the best state for cycling - from Four COrners you can cut up to Sundance and then to Devil's Tower of "Close Encounters" fame. There's service road that parallels I-90 from Moorcroft to Gillette - coal mining/industrial. Don't get on I-90 west of Gillette like so many cyclists do - why are you biking anyway?? to smell diesel fumes??? Take 14/16 which is a great ride. Winds are usually southwesterly so do the stretch to Spotted Horse in the afternoon and maybe catch some tailwinds, make sure to do the stretch into Buffalo as early as possible so you don't have as much wind. The ride into Buffalo follows a creek with panoramic views of the Big Horns.
US 16 is the easiest route over the Bighorns - even if the pass is higher. The Bighorns have the most beautiful wildflowers in the West in late June/ early July. If you can get offroad, absolutely do Crazy Woman Canyon - head south of Buffalo on WY 196 and up Crazy Woman Road which reconnects with US 16 east of Powder River Pass. The ride down Ten Sleep Canyon is a jet plane. There are two hairpin curves marked well in advance - but after the second, you can let her rip. Most maps show the road from Ten Sleep to Manderson as unpaved - it's paved and very empty.
From Cody into Yellowstone you might want to consider Dead Indian Pass (WY120/296) rather than US 14/16/20. They are doing major work - you'll probably have to wait and then be shuttled - plus it's super ugly. Camp outside of the park near Silver City and hike into the wilderness area in Montana - superb and far less restricted than camping in the park.
Montana - Cutting thru southern Montana is much nicer than eastern Idaho. If you are on a mountain bike you can do part of the CD Trail thru the Centennial valley to Lima and cross the Bitterroots at Lemhi Pass to get to Salmon, Idaho. The paved option is the Adventure Cycling route to Lost Trail Pass then south on US 93 to Salmon.
Idaho - The Salmon River is a beautiful ride up to the Sawtooth Mountains at Stanley. The Rec Area is as beautiful as any national park with far fewer restrictions on cyclists. Follow ID 21 west along the Payette River - killer downhill - west of Lowman take the paved county road along the river - lots of natural hot springs where you can camp and soak.
Oregon - a very bike-friendly state - two major east-west routes - US 26 and US 20. US 26 is the Adventure Cycling route, is more scenic, and has more forest cover which may reduce headwinds. If you like the "remote" thing - then take US 20 - both have light traffic east of the Cascades. If you don't have to hit central Oregon - cut down to Crater lake and take OR 138 downhill along the Umqua River all the way to Roseburg.
Drop me a line if you have any specific questions.
Best - J
Pix - Ten Sleep Canyon, Hayden Valley, Salmon River, Sawtooths
03-20-05, 07:04 PM
I see that you're from Madison, PM me if you'd like to stop in Sheboygan county for an overnight.
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