Lake Koocanusa Road Ride Loop

This is an 83-mile road ride touring the breathtaking shoreline of Lake Koocanusa located in beautiful Northwest Montana. This can be a self-supported ride or you can join the fully supported ride. More information on the supported ride can be found here: letourdekoocanusa.com.

About Lake Koocanusa

Lake Koocanusa is a reservoir in British Columbia (Canada) and Montana (United States) formed by the damming of the Kootenay River by the Libby Dam in 1972. The Dam was formally dedicated by President Gerald Ford on August 24, 1975.

The lake is formed north of the dam, reaching 48 miles (77 km) to the Canada–United States border and 42 miles (68 km) further into British Columbia. The lake holds 13% of the water in the Columbia River system. The town of Rexford was moved, as well as the Great Northern Railroad line. The town of Waldo, BC is now covered by the lake. What was once a barrier to river travel, Jennings Canyon is now inundated by the lake. Some points of interests to stop and enjoy along the way:

  • Libby Dam Visitor Center - offers an exhibit area, book/gift sales area and auditorium featuring "The Power and Beauty of the Kootenai, the Story of Libby Dam". Libby Dam Visitor Center will be open from 9:30 am to 6 pm beginning Memorial Day weekend. Guided tours of the dam and powerhouse are from the Visitor Center at 10 am, noon, 2 and 4 pm during the summer season.
  • Souse Gulch - day use area with picnicking, trails, boat launch, boat moorage dock, water, and restrooms is on the west bank, just upstream from Libby Dam. Several dispersed recreation sites are downstream from the dam.
  • McGillivray -  provides camping units, picnic shelters, a swimming beach, rest rooms, and a boat launching ramp.
  • Barron Creek - campground with vault toilets. The site includes a boat ramp with dock.
  • Little North Fork Falls - short trail that leads to a waterfall.
  • Stone Hill Climbing Area - offers a good range of easy to moderate climbs for the intermediate climber. 
  • Peck Gulch - campground with 22 campsites including one host site, with tables, fire rings and some with tent pads and able to accomodate up to a 32' RV. Amenities include potable water, vault toilets, dock and a fully developed boat launch with dock.
  • Rocky Gorge - campground with 60 campsites including one host site, with tables, fire rings and some with tent pads and able to accommodate up to 32' RV. Amenities include potable water, vault toilets, dock and a fully developed boat launch. 
  • Koocanusa Marina Resort - amenities include a marina with boat slips to rent, a lakefront beach, a restaurant and bar, a general store and laundry facilities. Cabin guests share facilities with a RV camp site. There's no cell phone reception at the resort. The simple cabins have private bathrooms, kitchens and living rooms with futons and satellite TV. They also feature decks with BBQ grills or neighboring fire pits.
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Location

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Nearby
Latitude: 48.406878 Longitude: -115.317993 Elevation: 2148 ft

Route Directions

Bike Course: The 83 mile bike ride starts at the David Thompson Bridge located directly in front of the Libby Dam in Libby, MT. Following beautiful Lake Koocanusa the bike ride goes North on paved Forest Service Road 228. The ride crosses over Lake Koocanusa on the Rexford Bridge. The course then continues to follow Lake Koocanusa by heading South on Hwy 37. Course finishes on the David Thompson Bridge directly in front of the Libby Dam. (course makes a large clockwise circle around the lake)

The moderate course has a fair amount of undulation. It has a start elevation of 2,146 feet, a max elevation of 3,140.ft, and an approximate total gain of 5,469 ft. There is one major up-hill on the course.  This hill begins 1.3 miles after the start of the ride.  The total length of the hill is about 1.5 miles and it climbs a total of 500 feet. 

 

For the fully supported ride:

There are 3 food/beverage stops, 2 water/electrolyte stops, and an awesome post-ride Blues Music Festival.

The bike ride is fully supported with support vehicles on the tour.

Route Length

83 miles / 133 km

Difficulty

Moderate

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