Two epic mountain biking routes run north to south across the western United States are connecting for the first time.

The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR), which was released by Adventure Cycling Association in 1998, and the Western Wildlands Route (WWR), which was created by Bikepacking Roots in 2017 and inspired by the GDMBR.

For the first time, the two organizations are now formally partnering to release six routes between the GDMBR and WWR, so cyclists can create loops between the point-to-point routes.

These east-west links will allow riders to create logistically simpler and more seasonally appropriate loops that can be ridden as adventures in of themselves. Most of the riding is on non-technical dirt roads and 4-by-4 tracks, and the routes were mapped with knobby tires and mountain bikes in mind rather than skinny-tired gravel bikes. Water sources and resupply stops are regularly available, and are detailed in the route waypoints, guidebook, and mobile app.

The connectors cross exceptionally diverse desert, mountain, and plateau landscapes. They highlight public lands from the forests of Idaho and Montana, to the peaks of the Teton and Wasatch ranges, the red rock canyons of Utah, and the high desert of Arizona.

Example routes:

  • The 156-mile Teton Connector links Idaho to Wyoming through the Snake River Plain, a mix of agricultural lands and shallow canyons, passing several hot springs, and climbing over the rugged Big Hole Mountains.
  • The 947-mile TransRockies Connector from Salt Lake City to Denver is a stunning and diverse two- to three-week challenge with Colorado Plateau badlands and slickrock landscapes, desert mountains, redrock canyons, and the inspiring peaks of the Rockies.
  • The 282-mile Chihuahuan Connector from Arizona to New Mexico crosses high desert landscapes and memorable scenery, including Arizona cypress forests and the hoodoo rock formations of Chiricahua National Monument.

Resources for riders, in both digital and print format, include Adventure Cycling’s Bicycle Route Navigator app, standalone GPS data, and an extensive guidebook available on Bikepacking Roots’ website.

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