MT Gravel Camp PaxsonAn authentic Montana experience in rustic cabins on beautiful Seeley Lake
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 double-track dirt roads, with a few short sections of singletrack and one longer optional singletrack section. We’ll plunge 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 modern accommodations, check out our Montana Gravel camp at The Cliff Ranch.
- 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
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.
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.
Welcome to Montana!
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. Official check-in at Camp Paxson is 3 PM; we will arrive then, get settled in then do our arrival day spin around 3:30 PM.
Arrival day ride: 16 miles, 700′
Great Divide Swan Crest Loop
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 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 – it’s challenging but if you are comfortable on singletrack, it’s a great option. Sections are smooth and fast, and others are steep and true singletrack. If you are looking to challenge your skills, this is your opportunity. However, don’t worry; 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.
Great Divide Swan Crest Loop: 54 miles, 3,900′ *Includes 6 miles of singletrack.*
Shorter option: 30 miles, 2,200′ *No singletrack.*
Great Divide South - Shanley & Morrell Fire Lookout
We depart Camp Paxson for another beautiful ride on the Great Divide. Today it’s all about options. The main ride is Shanely Creek, but if guests want to head straight up Morell Fire Lookout, it’s an option that won’t disappoint. All options offer fantastic views; the road up to the fire lookout is one of Montana’s highest gravel mountain climbs. If you aren’t a big fan of mountain gravel descents, we will have the van at the top ready to shuttle guests down. Guests can choose to have lunch at the summit of Morell Fire Lo0kout or back at Camp Paxson.
Shanley Creek Climb: 40 Miles & 3,100′
Morell Fire Look0ut: 40 Miles & 4,200′
Dirty Double Route – Shanely Creek + Morell Fire Lookout: 58 Miles & 6,000′ *This is a very big ride*
After two big days, riders might be ready for a more mellow ride, and we have a nice ride planned! The Loop includes beautiful mountain views, fun descents, and gradual climbs. Today we will have plenty of time to enjoy Seeley Lake.
Save up your strength, in the afternoon we have a Not Fast But Furious Relay planned, don’t worry it’s all about having fun!
Recovery Loop: 27 miles, 1,700′
Great Divide North
Today, we shuttle by van (45 minutes) North before we pedal into the mountains. Guests can start in Condon (longer option) or Holland Lake (shorter option).
The first part of the epic ride is fun, with lots of short climbs and descents. There is a short 1-mile section of a single track that opens up to a beautiful double track with wildflowers everywhere!
The views of the Swan Mountains are stunning! We pass Holland Lake then we start to climb. Over the next 20 miles, we will climb 2,800′, topping at the top of the Swan Crest; this point might look familiar to those who rode the singletrack section. Over the next 20 miles, we descend 3,000′. Don’t be fooled; this section has a few climbs, gaining 1,000′. We finish the ride with 5 miles of pavement on our way back to Camp Paxson.
Tonight we will celebrate an epic week of Montana Gravel!
Great Divide North from Holland Lake: 47 Miles & 3,900′
Great Divide North Epic: 67 miles, 5,000′
Today the party is over! We will do an airport shuttle back to Missoula (MSO).
No ride planned for today.
- Jul 14 - 19 $2,500 / Person Limited Spots Available
- Aug 25 - 30 $2,500 / Person Limited Spots Available
- Jul 13 - 18 $2,750 / Person Many Spots Available
- Aug 10 - 15 $2,750 / Person Many Spots Available
- 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
- Core/stretching sessions
- Trail runs or hikes
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.
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:
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.