Weekend Wheeling: Missoula
Discover the back roads of Montana with this easy, 42-mile round-trip road ride taking you from the edge of Missoula to the small town of Alberton (population 402). Alberton, a former railroad town, boasts a used-book store stocked with more than 10,000 volumes and a town park with a railroad car and caboose housing a museum of railroad memorabilia. Cycle on little-traveled frontage roads following the Clark Fork River heading west. The route will take you past old railroad sidings and ponderosa pine forests.
This ride begins at the "Wye," the intersection of Highway 93 and Interstate 90. Get onto Interstate 90 in Missoula and drive west for eight miles to Exit 96 (Glacier Park and Hwy. 93). Bear right after the exit and look for parking at the Muraults Travel Plaza. Riding to this point is an option, but by driving you avoid most of the highway traffic and begin your cycling on back roads.
0.0 Begin by turning right out of Muralults onto Highway 93. Ride downhill.
0.6 Turn left onto Waldo Lane, the Frenchtown frontage road. This road parallels the interstate and provides access to local farms and ranches.
6.0 Continue straight on frontage road. Frenchtown is located left, over the interstate (Exit 89 of Highway 90). Services available in town include a cafi and a service station.
7.5 Frenchtown Pond State Park is on the left.
11.5 Huson Get onto Interstate 90 at Exit 85. Ride on a wide 10-foot shoulder for 2.5 miles.
13.5 Begin climbing hill.
14.0 Leave the interstate at Exit 82, Ninemile. Turn right and climb a short, steep hill, then continue downhill past the Ninemile area. (A three-mile side trip will take you to the Ninemile Remount Ranger Station, a historic Forest Service Visitor Center.)
21.0 Turnaround point Enter the town of Alberton. There is a small grocery on your right. The Side Track Cafi will be on the left at the end of town. The museum is on the left a few blocks down.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication