Kalispell, MT: Plains-Whitefish Permanent 

A hilly ride in Northwest Montana featuring world class views of Flathead Lake.

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Author: Jason Karp
Date: 8 Nov 2008 8:03:51 AM
Activity: Bicycling
State: Montana (MT)
Distance: 97.77 mi  (Change units)
Calories: 6088
Average Speed: 12.0 mph - 0:04:59/mi
Duration: 8:08:25
Survey Elevation: Total Gain: 6060 ft
Total Loss: 5533 ft
Net Change: 527 ft
Difficulty: 8 / 10
Tags: Flathead Lake, Kalispell, Montana, Plains, Randonneuring, Whitefish
Rating: Unrated   Rate it

This challenging point-to-point ride can be ridden in either direction, but no matter which way you go-you'll be up and down all day.

This route is a Randonneurs USA sanctionned permanent populaire owned by the Regional Brevet Administrator (RBA) for the Oregon Randonneurs. The route is the final leg of the ambitious Portland to Glacier 1000km Brevet organized by the Oregon Randonneurs in 2007. For more information about permanents, brevets, and randonneuring in general, click on the Randonneurs USA Website.

From the small town of Plain's MT, there's a steady climb to Rainbow Lake. After some significant rollers and a ride across some high plains you drop down to the shore of Flathead Lake. The ride along Flathead Lake on the busy US Highway 93 provides incredible views of the largest natural freshwater lake in the western United States. Highway 93 has a rideable shoulder, but beware of tire eating debris.

After the town of Lakeside, the route starts to flatten out, and some bike paths become available. You'll pass through residential neighborhoods in Kalispell and then head towards Whitefish on Whitefish Stage Road. Finish up in the ultra hip town of Whitefish, where on a hot day you can enjoy a dip in Whitefish Lake and sun yourself on the City beach.

TO TRAILHEAD: Highway 200 in Plains, MT

Position Format: Datum:

Distance: 97.77 mi Points: 2640 Calories: 6088
Total Time: 8:08:25 Speed: 12.0 mph Pace: 4:59 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 12.0 mph Pace: 4:59 / mi
# Distance Instruction Distance to next
1 0.00 mi Start - Town Pump-Plains, MT Then go 0.02 mi
2 0.02 mi Turn Right - MT Hwy 200 Then go 0.40 mi
3 0.42 mi Turn Left - MT Hwy 28 Then go 46.71 mi
4 47.13 mi Bear Left - US Highway 93 Then go 24.77 mi
5 71.90 mi Bear Right - MP 102, Bike Path begins Then go 1.01 mi
6 72.91 mi Bear Right - Somers Road Then go 0.15 mi
7 73.07 mi Turn Left - Continue on Bike Path (across from Dell's Bar) Then go 1.17 mi
8 74.24 mi Straight - Cross MT Hwy 82. Continue on bike path Then go 4.14 mi
9 78.38 mi Bear Left - Bike path ends. Continue on US Hwy 93 Then go 2.62 mi
10 81.00 mi Bear Right - 3rd Avenue Then go 0.54 mi
11 81.54 mi Turn Right - 13th Street (3rd Ave becomes southbound one-way) Then go 0.07 mi
12 81.60 mi Turn Left - 4th Avenue (N bound one-way) Then go 1.13 mi
13 82.73 mi Straight - Jct with Idaho Street (US Hwy 2) Continue on 4th Ave. Then go 0.15 mi
14 82.88 mi Turn Right - Oregon Street Then go 0.21 mi
15 83.09 mi Turn Left - 7th Avenue Then go 0.09 mi
16 83.17 mi Straight - 7th Avenue becomes Whitefish Stage Road Then go 0.81 mi
17 83.99 mi Bear Left - Bike path available along left side of Whitefish Stage Road Then go 1.50 mi
18 85.49 mi Bear Right - Path ends. Then go 0.03 mi
19 85.52 mi Straight - Reserve Dr. Continue on Whitefish Stage Road Then go 9.29 mi
20 94.81 mi Turn Left - MT Hwy 40 Then go 1.07 mi
21 95.88 mi Turn Right - US Highway 93 Then go 0.96 mi
22 96.83 mi Straight - Hwy 93 become Spokane Avenue Then go 0.94 mi
23 97.77 mi Stop - Dairy Queen-Spokane Ave. Whitefish

Points of Interest


Location: 47.455922, -114.878411
Plains is a nice small town along the Clark Fork River with all services. The Town Pump C-store on Highway 200 is open 24 hours and is a good location for randonneurs to obtain "proof of passage" (a store receipt showing time, date, and location) to verify the start of the ride.

Rainbow Lake Pass

Location: 47.515404, -114.819918
A high voltage power line criss-crosses the route over Rainbow Lake Pass. The power line makes quite a racket-but no stray voltage energized me...or screwed up my GPS.

Rainbow Lake

Location: 47.527431, -114.743528
The lifting fog makes an interesting backdrop to Rainbow Lake.

MT Highway 28-High Plains

Location: 47.821454, -114.524059
Clouds hang low on a long straight stretch of Highway 28. There is very low traffic on this part of the route.

Rustic setting

Location: 47.815028, -114.477153
It's a wet drizzly day-but I'm staying relatively dry with my new SKS Race Blade fenders. From this point at the Lake County/Flathead County line a steady climb begins before a thrilling descent to the shores of Flathead Lake.

Flathead Lake

Location: 47.848764, -114.277382
A scenic turn-out along US Highway 93 between Elmo and Dayton. <a href="http://www.flatheadlake.name/index.html">Flathead Lake</a> is the largest natural fresh water lake in the United States west of the Mississippi. The lake is large enough to impact the weather around it, making the climate slightly more mild than most of Montana. Some wine vineyards are tended on the west shore (the Mission Mountain Winery is in Dayton), and cherry trees flourish on the east shore.


Location: 48.018463, -114.225197
The major rollers are about done once you get to Lakeside. Take a break at the City Deli and get recharged for a triumphant finish!

Bike Path

Location: 48.075498, -114.245453
Just past Mile Post 102 at Juniper Bay Road get a respite from busy Highway 93 on a bike path that takes you along Somers Bay and to the small town of Somers.


Location: 48.095308, -114.236784
Ride along Highway 93 on an old Great Northern Railroad grade to the outskirts of Kalispell (the path goes for about 7 miles)

Bike Path ends

Location: 48.145472, -114.285450
The bike path ends at Ashley Creek bridge, but after a short distance the shoulder on Highway 93 increases in width and is striped as a bike lane. It appears the bike lane is swept regularly-decreasing the chance of flat tires.


Location: 48.203054, -114.309139
Northwest Montana's largest City, <a href="http://www.kalispell.com">Kalispell</a> has all services, including several bike shops. Lots of food and drink options along Highway 93 which is Kalispell's Main Street, and on US Highway 2 (Idaho Street).

Hammer Nutrition

Location: 48.361090, -114.309300
Home of Hammer Gel! Most endurance athletes are familiar with <a href="http://www.hammernutrition.com/">Hammer Nutrition's</a> products. Their headquarters are located here along Whitefish Stage Road. Stop in and say hi-and stock up while your here to save some shipping costs.


Location: 48.392054, -114.335532
Located near the base of Big Mountain Ski Resort, and on the shores of Whitefish Lake-the town of <a href="http://www.whitefish.govoffice.com/">Whitefish</a> is the base of operations for all kinds of outdoor activities-including road and mountain biking. There are lots of interesting shops and restaurants in the town center.

Whitefish Dairy Queen-Finish

Location: 48.405517, -114.334980
I ended my ride and obtained my proof of passage at the Dairy Queen on Spokane Avenue (Hwy 93).

Whitefish City Beach

Location: 48.416157, -114.352741
Beach front property in Montana?! Whitefish has it. On a hot day, make your way over to the City Beach (lots of sand trucked in) and have a refreshing swim in Whitefish Lake.

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