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Monida Pass

Marshall Spraque remarks in the appendix of his book "the Great Gates" about this pass: "low unexciting pass and town", and I had to agree when I drove over it once before this. But actually, riding a bicycle over it again opened my eyes to new aspects. There is actually a separate, mostly paved road on the north side you can follow. And the GDMBR seems to get up the south side without setting wheel on this four - lane road. On the wide top you can also use a dirt road crossing, parallel to the I15 Monida Pass. It is about 80ft higher.

But actually - the shoulder of this 4 lane road is vastly preferable to 99 percent of all paved Montana roads, and about 1000 percent safer. There is plenty of room to the right of the rumble strips. This time the Montana highway department has not gone out of its way to make life as dangerous as possible for cyclists. Also - the ride is actually quieter, because there are no center rumble strips. Traffic is relatively light and unexpectedly considerate, often passing a cyclist in the left lane. If the rest of Montana roads were like this, it would be a better world (and a more bicycle friendly state too). In a way the GDMBR pavement paranoia is understandable, especially in Montana. But on Monida Pass there is no need for it.

1.START-END SOUTH:jct I15 - Id22, Dubois
3.Old Hiway 91 crosses below I15, and profile continues on it
4.profile goes back onto I15
5.TOP,6890ft,I15 Monida Pass crossing
6.Snowline Exit
7.START-END NORTH: Lima exit


From North.
A partially paved road parallels I15 from Spencer. If one prefers riding the shoulder of I15, you can still switch to the paved Old Hiway 91 at a point where it crosses under I15. The Old Hiway 91 again becomes gravel at the last I15 entrance before the summit. The Old Hiway runs closer to the railtracks. Next to it is a small canyon, followed by a picturesque set of railroad tracks.

From South. (described downwards) The junction with the Red Rocks dirt road is just of the summit. The GDMBR comes up the southern approach to Monida Pass and then continues on the Red Rocks Rd. It climbs a little higher and then descends to to picturesque abandoned farms in the Centennial Valley. But more interesting in my mind, is the view on this side of Monida Pass: a dry, massive bare series of peaks that make up this part of the Beaverhead Range. The highest and most picturesque part of the range seems to be in private hands of a ranch.

You have to get some miles in to actually loose 300ft, on this gentle of gentles passes. After pedaling for about 10 miles into the wind, the Snowline exit is the first exit to fill this requirement.


cLiCk on image , arrows , or thumbnails to advance slideshow

Dayride with this point as as highest summit


( < Sawtell Peak(ow) | Big Sheep Creek Divide/Medicine Lodge Pass > )

Monida Pass x2: I15 Spencer exit > I15 north > Old Hiway91, where it crosses to east side of I15 > Monida Pass << turnaround point Snowline exit > I15 south back to starting point: 50.6miles with 1700ft of climbing in 4:11hrs (garmin etrex30 r4:20.9.3


The old town on top of the pass was a stage stop on the route from Salt Lake City to the Montana gold fields. It seems to have had no name at the time, even though it crossed the CD between Idaho and Montana. In 1880 the top was also a station on the Utah and Northern railroad. The train dispatcher stated using the name "Monida", combining the names from the two states.