Montana

Montana Camping Gravel

Camping style - but in rustic cabins.
  • From $2500
  • Location Seeley Lake, Montana
  • Duration 6 Days / 5 Nights
  • Rider Level 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Ride gravel by day, enjoy Seeley Lake post-ride, and sleep in rustic cabins.

Ready for an epic backcountry gravel adventure? Join us in Montana, where we’ll show you our favorite routes based on 20 years of pedaling around Big Sky Country. Our home base for the week is Camp Paxson in Seeley Lake, just an hour away from downtown Missoula. Camp Paxson was originally a Boy Scout camp, and the beautiful property sits on the shores of Seeley Lake. Guests will enjoy rustic cabins – you can either bring your sleeping bag or use one provided by The Cycling House. The bathrooms are not en-suite, but just a short walk from the cabins. The bathrooms have shower stalls and toilets, and men’s and women’s facilities are separate. Prefer to bring your camper van or sleep in a tent? Ask us about these options. The best part is that we have a large communal cabin where our Cycling House chefs will serve delicious meals!

We’ll ride on primarily doubletrack dirt roads in search of that famous champagne gravel. We’ll plunge down fun mountain descents and muscle up challenging climbs along the way. This camp includes riding sections of The Great Divide, an over-3,000-mile route that stretches from Canada to Mexico. Expect stunning scenery, serene roads, and perfectly excellent riding conditions. 

Each guest will enjoy a roof over their head and a mattress, but please note: these cabins are rustic! Think camping, but in a cabin. If you prefer more modern accommodations, check out our Montana Gravel camp based at The Cliff Ranch.

Highlights

  • Five days of guided, supported gravel rides in Montana’s backcountry
  • Accommodations in rustic cabins at Camp Paxson
  • Chef-prepared, daily meals featuring local Montana produce 
  • Variety of off-pavement routes, including rides on the Great Divide bike route
  • Idyllic summer riding conditions on quiet, scenic roads

Food

We prepare delicious meals for endurance athletes, emphasizing lean proteins, leafy greens, root veggies, and plenty of flavorful side dishes. We work directly with the local community to source regional ingredients whenever possible, which our chefs use to create diverse, exciting dishes inspired from around the world. You can count on us to take care of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We are sure to accommodate all dietary preferences and restrictions.

Accommodations

Camp Paxson was originally a Boy Scout camp, and the beautiful property sits on the shores of Seeley Lake. Guests will enjoy super basic rustic cabins – you can either bring your sleeping bag or use one provided by The Cycling House. The bathrooms are not en-suite, but just a short walk from the cabins. The bathrooms have shower stalls and toilets, and men’s and women’s facilities are separate.

Prefer sleeping under the stars? The Cycling House can provide tents and sleeping pads. 

Prefer to bring your camper van? Ask us about this option.

ITINERARY

Riders arrive in Missoula, Montana, and we’ll build bikes and have lunch at The Cycling House office before we shuttle to the start of the ride. The ride is a fantastic point-to-point; we’ll finish at Camp Paxson, our home for the week on Seeley Lake.

 

Today’s Ride:

Arrival day ride: 42 miles, 4,400′

 

We start the morning with a 1-hour shuttle to Helmville.We aim to find that perfect champagne gravel, and riding The Great Divide is our go-to spot for these adventures. Today we’ll tackle a point-to-point route from Helmville (population: 50), a remote historical site on the Lewis and Clark Trail, back to Camp Paxson. The views in the Nevada Ogden Valley are stunning, and you quickly realize why they call it Big Sky Country!

Today’s Ride:

Great Divide South: 54 miles, 3,400′

Shorter option: 48 miles, 2,400′

 

Ready for an epic loop? Today we take on another section of The Great Divide bike route. We leave Camp Paxson by bike toward Seeley Lake, and on the edge of town, we start to climb Rice Ridge. Gentle grades and beautiful mountain views unfold over the next 10 miles. At mile 17, riders can decide between the longer or shorter routes. The longer route continues up Rice Ridge, gaining more elevation before we hit the Swan Crest singletrack section. The singletrack has stunning views of the Swan mountains and slowly descends back to the valley. Sections are smooth and fast, and others are steep and true singletrack. If you are looking to challenge your skills, this is your opportunity. Don’t worry, however, as both routes are epic and have beautiful views! If you don’t have the confidence to ride singletrack, the shorter opinion route will not disappoint.

Today’s Ride:

Great Divide Swan Crest Loop: 47 miles, 3,800′ *Includes 6 miles of singletrack.*

Shorter option: 34 miles, 2,300′ *No singletrack.*

 

After two big days, riders might be ready for a more mellow ride, and the Placid Lake Loop is the ticket! The Loop includes beautiful mountain views, fun descents, and gradual climbs. Today we will have plenty of time to enjoy Seeley Lake.

Today’s Ride:

Placid Lake Loop: 37 miles, 2,000′

 

Today we head North, following the shores of Seeley Lake before we head into the mountains. The first part of the ride is fun, with lots of short climbs and descents. The views of the Swan mountains are stunning! At mile 15 we cross Highway 83 and start to climb. The climb is 10 miles long and gains over 2,000 feet with average grades around 4%. At the summit, the view might look familiar, as we are back at the Swan Crest, the start of the singletrack. Instead of following the same route as the previous day, we continue along the Swans and start our descent toward Holland Lake. We have a short 1/2 mile section of singletrack that opens to a doubletrack in the enchanted forest. The final miles are on smooth roads and deliver us to Holland Lake. We will finish up with a swim in the lake and a picnic lunch. Post-lunch, we have a 30-minute shuttle back to Seeley Lake.

Today’s Ride:

Great Divide North: 42 miles, 3,600′

Today the party is over! We will do an airport shuttle back to Missoula (MSO).

Today’s Ride:

No ride planned for today.

DATES & PRICES

DETAILS

What's included

  • 5 nights/6 days accommodations
  • Transfers to/from Missoula, MT (MSO)
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Bike build and breakdown
  • Professional cycling guides
  • Vehicle SAG support
  • Ride nutrition products
  • Tools available to use
  • High-quality ride photos
  • Question about COVID-19 and what we’re doing to keep our guides and guests healthy and travel responsibly? Check out this article or contact us.

What's not included

  • Airfare (Book travel to Missoula – MSO)
  • Single occupancy rate
  • Bike rentals
  • Café stops
  • Gratuity for guides
  • Personal shopping

Optional Activities

  • Core/stretching sessions
  • Trail runs or hikes
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Paddleboarding

Questions?

Have more questions? View our FAQ page or call us at 406-312-5770.
SEE ALL FAQs

BIKE OPTIONS

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Rent A Bike

Traveling through the airport with a bike—and paying for it to fly—is not everyone’s idea of a fun way to start a vacation. Fortunately, we offer high-quality, full carbon bikes on all of our trips across the United States and Europe. Want to just show up and ride? Just bring your shoes, pedals, helmet, and saddle (if you want), and rent one of ours.

Available this trip:
Cervelo Aspero 2021-Tucson Rental Bike
Cervelo Aspero Road/Gravel Bike
Manufacturer: Cervelo
Type: Gravel Bike
Cost: $300 / trip
Specialized Vado SL 4.0 E-Bike
Manufacturer: Specialized
Type: Gravel Bike
Cost: $300 / trip
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Bring Your Own

Your bike is yours—we get it. Bringing your own bike has obvious advantages in terms of individual comfort. Before your trip, we suggest getting a tune-up at your local bike shop so it’s ready to roll for your week of riding. Once you arrive, we’ll be sure to have our mechanics build it and help with any necessary tweaks. Check out some helpful resources here:

Shipping your bike

Flying with your bike.

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Skip The Bike

If you or your travel partner want to enjoy the trip and explore a new destination without a bike, drop us a line and we’ll discuss options. Some trips are better suited for non-rider participants than others.

TRIP TEAM