TD Course Change For `09

Up to ~2745 Miles Now?

Tour Divide is keen to collaborate with cartographers at Adventure Cycling Association to pilot a GDMBR route change at the 140 mile mark in Canada. The reroute will not be made official until a 2010/11 printing of the ACA maps but the general idea is to avoid the dangerous Hwy 3 segment between Sparwood and Fernie, BC by sending riders down the Upper Flathead Valley.

In anticipation, TD is poised to race the proposed reroute for the 2009 edition. It's important to preempt the change for the sake of future racing comparisons. For the first time since 2004 all Divide racers (TD + GDR) will be competing on the same course. The reroute trades 65 miles of mostly pavement for ~105 miles of virgin dirt, but most significantly it carries riders through the primeval upper Flathead Valley. Headwaters to the very same Flathead River known as the North Fork of the Flathead once it crosses into MT, in 2004 the NY Times declared it the wildest river on the continent. The upper valley is also famous for it's wildlife populations, often referred to by biologists as the "Serengeti of North America".

View Larger Map


  • Blue + Aqua + Orange Segments = Proposed Reroute (total 104mi). 
  • Red Segment (30mi) marks a potential future exit from the Flathead Valley over the Galton Range. If realized, it would circumvent ~35 miles of paved Hwy 93 riding. The .9mi Yellow segment overlaying the red segment highlights the missing link of FSR necessary to complete the route. Anyone know if there is hiking trail on the west bench (marked in yellow) of the Wigwam River?
Final reroute details and cue narrative will be finalized this spring.


Wigwam Route

When we cycled over Phillips-Wigwam we hiked down across the Wigwam River and up to a single-track (Guides Horse Trail) on the east bank. This trail leads to the road on the east side of the river. This road on the east side is nicer mountain biking to the junction with the Ram River Road (Cabin Pass).

If you plan on trail construction it is best to consult Aaron Canuel. The upper Wigwam is closely watched by the Fish and Wildlife crowd.

Pat Gilmar

Aaron Canuel
District Recreation Officer
Rocky Mountain District
Ministry of Tourism, Culture, & the Arts
Tel: (250) 426-1763
Fax: (250) 426-1777


Pat, Thanks for the info and we'd love to talk with you more. Can you shoot us an email? We've had some dialog with Aaron C. over the past month and he seems to think there is a short hiking trail connecting the two FSRs on the west bench of the Wigwam River (see yellow trace on map). If true, it would mean no fording, which is key for June snowmelt flows. We hope to ground-verify this somehow when the snow melts. Although we hear NCC's Mt. Broadwood/lower Wigwam (Flats) route (orange trace) is very scenic, we would love to exit the Valley over the Galton Pass (Phillips FSR) so as to avoid the 35 miles of pavement (from Elko to Roosville). Cheers, TD

Wigwam-Phillips FSR Connector

I'm a Fernie local (as is Pat G. by the way) and I love the idea of this connector, but must state that the upper Wigwam area is more remote and at least as important to apex species such as grizzly bear as is the Flathead watershed so it is important to proceed with the connector carefully. You'll run into more people in the BC Flathead than you will in the upper Wigwam (although it could well be 0 persons encountered in either!) - we're talking about serious remote, wild country!

And, (please don't take this the wrong way) we are having some issues up here with Americans working in the BC Flathead region without adhering to provincial and federal permit requirements. So I'm super glad to see that you are consulting with the relevant BC agencies and proceeding properly!

If you need any help swinging a pulaski come spring, just let me know.

Fernie Fred

Thanks for the comments Fred. We are prepared that this Wigwam connector may not happen this year but with enthusiasm like you share, perhaps we'll have the guts to go for a little bushwhack in June. Certainly, any activity in there on TD's part would only be with Aaron's blessing. The key is to try and go with "what ACA would want long-term for their intermediate-level off-road touring route". For now they are inclined to have cyclists exit via the Wigwam flats because they know little of the Upper Wigwam-to-Galton Pass (Rabbit-Phillips FSR) exit. They are in favor of dirt over pavement, though, so I believe we can prove to them of this connector is preferable to the paved hwy 93 doldrums from Elko-Roosville. Amen on respecting apex species and chin-chin on zero population. We hope it stays that way until it becomes a class A park. Either final leg TD decides upon for June, we are super stoked to see this fantastic valley.

Flathead valley

Have you ever thought of going right on down to the Flathead crossing, or do you have to cross at a regulated border crossing.

Legal Border Crossings Only

Unfortunately the border crossing in the Flathead was closed many years ago and we cannot legally cross the border there. To illegally sneak into the U.S. would present many issues for the racers, especially those who race from abroad.

GPS Track for Revised CDN GDR?

Anyone have a set of waypoints for the revised CDN GDR route? We'll be headed out on it starting Saturday and wouldn't mind checking it out.



Revised CDN GDR Route


We ended up riding the CDN GDR last week..incl the new revised southern section through the Flathead Valley. Route finding was pretty easy and the ride itself was great - highly recommended.

I've posted some photos here:

I really liked the new section from south to north.

Great work.


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