Past Events: 1990, 1991, 1995, 1998, 2001, 2004, and 2008
Kalispell, MT to Albuquerque, NM
Arrive: Kalispell, MT Saturday, July 11
18 riding days 1,943 miles 88,000' climbing
The Ridge of the Rockies is a very mountainous route with long climbs and great descents. We cross many major passes and the Continental Divide in six states. This will be a wonderful time of year to ride through the mountains. There is an option to arrive 1 or 2 days early and enjoy a nice ride through Glacier National Park or to the Canadian Border on your own.
The Ridge of the Rockies is the oldest PAC Tour ride that is still being offered. This tour averages about 40 riders per tour. This event has traveled in each direction depending on the season, sometimes starting near Mexico and sometimes near Canada. This year starting near Canada in July provides good winds and temperatures on our route south.
We begin in Kalispell, MT located fifty miles south of the Canadian border. We follow along the valley of Flathead Lake. This is the longest mileage day but also one of the flattest. The dense forests are good places to spot deer or bear crossing the road.
The days across Montana are some of the most scenic with many postcard-quality rivers and mountain views. Each day has notable climbing as we cross the mountains of the Continental Divide region. The roads are good with rideable shoulders and moderate tourist traffic.
The fourth day we stay in West Yellowstone, MT--home of Yellowstone Bear World. The following day you have the option of three routes across Yellowstone Park with distances of 57, 70 or 105 miles. There is plenty of sight seeing time to view the various animals and geysers that the park is famous for. We spend the night in cabins near Yellowstone Lake on the east side of the Park.
Next, we continue south to Jackson Hole, WY through Grand Teton National Park. Our route crosses famous pioneer trails from the mid 1800s. We traverse the Oregon Trail, Bozeman Trail and Lander cutoff during the first days of our tour. There are plenty of roadside historic markers for history buffs.
Depart: Saturday, July 30 from Albuquerque, NM
Day 9 is one of our toughest, but very scenic. We ride through the Flaming Gorge with steep climbs that reward riders with cliff side overlooks of red rock walls. You will understand why this tour is called the Ridge of the Rockies and recommended for riders who like to climb mountains.
In Colorado the mountains are taller and the passes are higher. We will average one major climb over 10,000 feet elevation each of these days. Some riders consider this the best cycling of the tour. The climb over Grand Mesa heading toward Montrose is a classic ride with a good mix of mountains and farms. Equally spectacular are passes near Ouray, Silverton and Durango. These are the heart of the Rocky Mountains with constant steep climbs and fast descents.
Day 14 we arrive in South Fork, CO after climbing Wolf Creek Pass at 10,800'. The next day is an optional day of either riding up and back 11,361' Slumgullion Pass or riding a loop route through the valley before returning to our base motel in South Fork. On Day 15 we retrace our route over Wolf Creek Pass and then head south to Chama, NM.
In 1598 Juan de Onate de Salazar traveled this region and founded Santa Fe. He came north along the Rio Grande and opened the Camino Real trade route from Mexico. This was the first "Super Highway" in America traveling north from Mexico into the Indian regions of New Mexico. He also discovered the Turquoise Trail that connected Santa Fe with Albuquerque.
We stay near the town square in Old Sante Fe, seeing the history of over 400 years of Spanish settlement. The terrain changes from towering peaks to tan and brown southwest desert hills, but each day still holds about 4,000' of climbing every 100 miles.
Ridge of the Rockies July, 2011