World’s longest mountain bike trail planned to get even longer

Spanning roughly 2,700 miles from Banff, Alberta, to Antelope Wells, New Mexico, the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is the longest mountain bike trail in the world. It also offers some of the most diverse riding possibilities for any trail, with all skill levels and types of riding finding pleasure on the trail.

The overview map of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. Photo: Courtesy of Adventure Cycling Association

Completed in 1997 by the Adventure Cycling Association (ACA), the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. To do so, the ACA announced plans for an extra 400 miles to be added to the route.

As the ACA stated in their announcement:

“We're taking what we've learned over twenty years and tweaking the maps to give you the best riding experience possible. We're improving the look and organization of the maps, making them easier to read and adding directions for northbound riders. Plus, we're mapping almost 400 new miles to both connect with Jasper National Park and create a spur into our headquarters in Missoula.”

Following the Continental Divide, the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route offers up plenty of terrain within its five regions. According to Bikepacking.com, 90 percent of the trail is unpaved, three percent of it is singletrack and it takes an average of 37 days to complete. With a total of 200,000 feet in elevation gain, you can also expect some varying weather conditions.

Remoteness is certainly a theme throughout the entirety of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, and many regard the trail as the birthplace of bikepacking. It also passes through multiple national parks, like Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton.

The ACA has announced the expansion and improvement plans along with a fundraiser to help with the costs. And until Sept. 30, ACA will be matching donations dollar for dollar. They’ll also be adding a brand-new off-road route in Arkansas (the Arkansas High Country Mountain Bike Route) and will be giving gifts for donations of $100 and over.

You can learn more about the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route here and can donate to make it even longer here.

A pass in Montana on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.

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