Bicycling Magazine Bozeman, MT: Tour de Jefferson 

This scenic 60-miler east of Bozeman cruises through Jefferson Canyon, visits two state parks, and reveals views of the Tobacco Root Mountains.

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Author: Bicycling Magazine
Date: 26 Oct 2009 6:10:21 PM
Activity: Bicycling
State: Montana (MT)
Distance: 59.97 mi  (Change units)
Survey Elevation: Total Gain: 1516 ft
Total Loss: 1506 ft
Net Change: 10 ft
Difficulty: 6 / 10
Tags: Bozeman, Harrison, MT, Montana, Three Forks, MT, Tobacco Root Mountains
Rating: Unrated   Rate it

An annual touring route of the Gallatin Valley Bicycle Club, this ultra-scenic, 60-mile loop visits several state parks, winds through Jefferson Canyon, and passes views of the Tobacco Root Mountains. The ride begins at the Sacagawea Hotel in Three Forks and leaves town on MT 2.

Less than 9 miles in, the route travels past Parker Homestead State Park, then continues southwest. At mile 13, continue straight on MT 2 at the 3-way junction with US 287, and ride west toward the entrance of Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park. Cyclists who have extra time can park their bikes and tour Montana's first state park, which features one of the largest known limestone caverns in the Northwest.

After the caverns, the road swings west for a brief stretch, passing the Cardwell Store—a good place to take a rest stop—before turning left onto the lightly-traveled MT 359. From here, the highway rolls southeast toward Harrison and its junction with US 287. Turn left onto US 287 and prepare for an exhilarating descent down Harrison Hill. At the bottom, rejoin MT 2 and head back to Three Forks.

Note: For more info on Gallatin Valley Bicycle Club's group ride, go to GVBC Touring Schedule.

-Mapped by Jason Karp

TO TRAILHEAD: The ride starts at the Sacajawea Inn at 5 N. Main St. in Three Forks.

Position Format: Datum:

Tour de Jefferson

Distance: 59.97 mi Points: 447
Total Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
# Distance Instruction Distance to next
1 0.00 mi Start - Sacajawea Inn Then go 0.03 mi
2 0.03 mi Turn Left - Main St Then go 0.04 mi
3 0.07 mi Turn Left - Main St Then go 0.22 mi
4 0.29 mi Slight right Then go 2.89 mi
5 3.19 mi Turn left at MT-2 W/US-287 S Then go 5.51 mi
6 8.70 mi Straight - Parker Homestead State Park Then go 4.33 mi
7 13.02 mi Straight - MT-2 (toward Cardwell) Then go 5.05 mi
8 18.07 mi Straight - Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park Then go 7.38 mi
9 25.46 mi Take the 1st left onto MT-359 Then go 0.62 mi
10 26.07 mi Straight - MT-359 Then go 14.03 mi
11 40.10 mi Turn left at US-287 N Then go 6.78 mi
12 46.88 mi Bear Right - Then go 0.06 mi
13 46.94 mi Turn Right - MT-2 (toward Three Forks) Then go 9.84 mi
14 56.78 mi Turn right at 3 Forks Rd/Fap 13/I-90 Frontage W/MT-2 E Then go 2.89 mi
15 59.66 mi Turn left at Main St Then go 0.28 mi
16 59.94 mi Turn Right - Sacajawea Inn Then go 0.03 mi
17 59.97 mi Stop - Sacajawea Inn

Points of Interest

Start/End: Sacajawea Hotel

Location: 45.895978, -111.551134
The ride starts and finishes next to the historic Sacajawea Hotel in Three Forks. There's plenty of on-street parking available near the inn. © Jason Karp

Parker Homestead State Park

Location: 45.845617, -111.676594
The routes passes the one-acre Parker Homestead State Park where visitors can visit a sod-roofed log cabin, built in the early 1900s by Montana settlers. This is also a good place for the group to regather. © Jason Karp

Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park

Location: 45.821667, -111.851914
Ride past the turn-off to Lewis and Clark Caverns, Montana's first state park and another good regrouping point. If you have extra time, spend some time at the park, which features one of the largest known limestone caverns in the Northwest. © Jason Karp

Jefferson Canyon

Location: 45.829995, -111.897297
Enjoy up-close views of the Jefferson River as you wind through Jefferson Canyon. Ahead, the road winds northwest toward LaHood Park and Cardwell. © Jason Karp

Cardwell Store

Location: 45.869513, -111.948667
The route passes Cardwell Store, an RV park and campground, before turning left onto MT 359 and traveling south into Cardwell. © Jason Karp

Cardwell, MT

Location: 45.859935, -111.952465
Cruise south through Cardwell, then follow MT 359 to its junction with US 287.

Tobacco Root Mountains

Location: 45.725416, -111.787262
You'll be treated to views of Hollowtop Mountain and Mount Jefferson, two 10,000-foot peaks. © Jason Karp

Junction: MT 259 - US 287

Location: 45.722525, -111.784258
Turn left and follow US 287 north.

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