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Town to stay in for Idaho/Montana trip?

CaffeineMan

In the shadow of the Valley of Death
Member
If I'm staying a couple days to ride Going To the Sun and Lake Koocanusa/MT-37 is it best to stay in Kalispell? Whitefish? I'll be staying in a hotel, not camping. I'll be coming up from the south and then over Lolo pass.
 

red fox

Member
Member
They're only 15 miles apart, so travel route wise they're pretty much the same place.
That said, I'd choose Whitefish since it's 100 % visitor oriented (to park in summer / to ski area in winter),
so traveler amenities / restaurants will be all around you. Thinking Sept, anytime after Labor Day wknd, will give good motel availability.
Hope you post up photos ...

And when you reach Kamiah, ID after cresting Lolo Pass there are two good places to stay: Clearwater 12 motel (walking distance to eateries, grocery), and the KOA with its motel rooms (1.5 mile ride to same).
 

CaffeineMan

In the shadow of the Valley of Death
Member
Thanks, that's what I was looking for. My tentative plan is to come up from NV on US-93 and stay in Twin Falls Day 1, basically a transit stage. Day 2 I was going to go through Ketchum to Grangerville. Day 3 over Lolo Pass and up to Whitefish. Then ride the Butler gold roads in the area for a couple of days. I figure Going to the Sun will be slow but scenic. Then another transit stage to Red Lodge, then hit up Beartooth and Chief Joseph. After that I'm not exactly sure. This is going to be in late June, which I know is prime tourist season. I don't really care about seeing Yellowstone, but I do want to hit up Teton Pass and I may have to go through the park to get there.
 

red fox

Member
Member
Day 2 I was going to go through Ketchum to Grangerville.
Day 3 over Lolo Pass and up to Whitefish.
Your day 2 route would be my choice also: curves, rivers and mtn passes. Going west from Stanley, traffic will be light and the road good along rivers. Once you get to Banks, ID (a non-town) and turn north on also curvey Rte 55 you'll be on the river side of a spectactular whitewater river with plenty of turnouts for miles. This road can have a lot of traffic by Idaho standards, between the cars and the beautifully heavy rapids to look at (during summer water release from dam; I used to whitewater kayak) I have a hard time doing corner carving here.

Grangeville overnight is high up and will be cooler in the late June heat.

Day 3 route. If you're not worn out in the morning, plug Elk City, ID into your route; a favored road along a pretty river with no traffic - the pavement dead ends at Elk City, so you get to return via the same fabulous road and then still go over Lolo Pass. This Lolo road (#12) has lots of turnouts to watch the river, its rafters, or eat your sandwich lunch. ... There is reliable fuel (Sinclair premium) 12 miles west of Lolo Pass on this stretch, which otherwise has no services since Kooskia, ID (gas and grocery).
 

CaffeineMan

In the shadow of the Valley of Death
Member
Thanks so much for all the recommendations. I‘ll check out his maps. I love me some maps. 😁
 
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