Bikepacking from Canada to Mexico Along the New Wild West Route

Bikepacking Roots debuts a way to bikepack from Canada to Mexico, with 80% of the route on natural surface. The Wild West Route is 2,700 miles and goes through Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Montana.
Southern Idaho’s sprawling Snake River Plain in Segment 4. Photo by Kurt Refsnider.

Still looking for the perfect vacation this summer? Bikepacking Roots has got it covered. A new 2,700 mile route, dubbed the Wild West Route from Canada to Mexico (or vice versa) links dirt roads and 4×4 trail through Montana, Idaho, Utah, and Arizona.

Development of the route over the past three years involved extensive communication with land managers, Navajo Nation leaders, and private land owners, says Bikepacking Roots. The company also tested the route with 40 different riders in 2018.

Camping on the East Rim of the Grand Canyon on Segment 8. Photo: Samuel Schlicht.

“For much of the route’s length, we scouted multiple potential alignments in order to find the best combination of scenic, remote, and enjoyable dirt riding while balancing that with regular resupply options in small communities,” says Kurt Refsnider, executive director of Bikepacking Roots.

At least 80% of the route is dirt, and although none of it is singletrack, it’s more than just gravel road. Bikepacking Roots says that the trail is rough, steep, and loose for much of it and meant for mountain bikes. Almost 70% of the route is on public lands with eighteen National Forests, six National Parks and Monuments, and four
areas with BLM National Conservation Lands designation.

Bear Lake, at the Utah-Idaho border is the largest body of water on the Wild West Route. Photo: Samuel Schlicht.

Bikepacking Roots wants to empower riders to tackle the route and has GPS information with 1,500 points of interest for no cost. Points of interest include water, campgrounds, and other services. Bikepacking Roots will follow up shortly with an informational guide and route-planning book as well as a GPS-enabled mobile app with offline maps, waypoints, and terrain profile.

“The Wild West Route truly lives up to its name – remote, rugged, and adventurous!” say Karen and Tracey Bartow, who rode the route in 2018. “The wilderness and natural lands that the route goes through are some of the most breathtakingly beautiful scenery in the world and more than reward any struggle encountered.”

Route details

Northern Montana’s Purcell Mounains in Segment 1 near the top of the route. Photo by Kurt Refsnider.
  • 2,700 miles with 185,000 feet of climbing from Eureka, Montana to Sierra Vista, Arizona.
  • The recommended milage per day for the average bikepacker to cover the route in 40-65 days is 40-70 miles a day.
  • Can be ridden in either direction, with southbound ideally starting in late summer, and northbound starting in late spring.
  • More information available here.