The longest mapped, off-road mountain bike trail in the world has just gotten a little longer. The Adventure Cycling Association, the original designers of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, are celebrating the 20th anniversary of that iconic bike trail by releasing improved maps that include better routing, more detail, and more than 400 miles (643 km) of additional paths to explore.
The GDMBR follows the Rocky Mountains along the Continental Divide and crossing through five states en route. The path, which serves as the route used in the Tour Divide mountain bike race, now covers more than 3000 miles (4828 km) in total, starting in Jasper, Alberta in Canada and wandering south to Antelope Wells in New Mexico, close to the U.S.-Mexican border.
Riding the entire route requires more than 220,000 feet (67,056 meters) of vertical gain, which is the equivalent of climbing Everest about 7.5 times. Along the way, riders will pass through some of the most remote, beautiful, and wild places that the western U.S. has to offer.
Some of the new additions to the trail include additional riding outside Jasper heading towards Banff along the historic Overlander Trail and an additional 80 miles (128 km) riding the new Elk Valley Trail as part of the existing The Great Trail, which has been dubbed the “Gateway to British Columbia.” New additions have been added in the U.S. as well, with an additional 65 miles (104 km) near Missoula, Montana that leads to the Adventure Cycling headquarters. In total, the new additions scattered throughout the length of the trail add 427.5 miles (688 km).
The new map data that the ACA has released includes some serious upgrades, like turn-by-turn navigation, bidirectional narratives for the entire route, elevation profiles, remote riding guidelines, and much more. The maps are obviously still available on paper, but Adventure Cycling is also offering all of this data in its Bike Route Navigator app available for iOS and Android.
This is good news for adventure cyclists looking for a true challenge. The GDMBR had always been a beautiful and demanding ride, but now it has gotten even better. If you’ve set this ride as a bucket-list item, your challenge just got a bit longer and tougher. Find out more by visiting the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route official site.