Facebook: The Whitefish Bike Retreat
If you love to ride, you absolutely have to make a trip to the Whitefish Bike Retreat a priority.
Their motto is simple: Sleep. Wake. Ride.
The Whitefish Bike Retreat was established for cyclists by cyclists, so that everything from the location, to the accommodations, and all the amenities make it a fun, convenient place for riders and all outdoor enthusiasts to stay.
The Retreat’s founder, Cricket Butler, wanted to create an affordable place for bikers to come together, with access to the best trails and routes, while getting all the support and information necessary for a great trip.
But the Whitefish Bike Retreat is open all year long, and you certainly don’t have to be a biker to stay there, since there are opportunities for all sorts of outdoor activities nearby.
The Whitefish Bike Retreat sits on 19 forested acres, and is located 7.5 miles west of Whitefish and about 15 miles from Whitefish Mountain Resort—which has excellent lift-served downhilling, skiing, and snowboarding.
Glacier National Park is just 35 minutes away, while the Canadian border is only a 40 minute drive.
As far as access to riding goes, the Whitefish Bike Retreat could not be more perfectly situated.
In addition to the great road riding in the region, there is a small pump track and several features for warming up or just playing around right in front of the Retreat. And just out the back door, there is a short, several hundred-yard approach trail to link the Retreat to The Whitefish Trail, which has close to 30 miles of single track.
The Retreat is quite literally “ride-in / ride-out.”
A Variety of Trails
There are numerous trails nearby, from mellower options in the Pig Farm trail network, to high alpine freeride trails off of Spencer Mountain. There are a wide range of options for all abilities, and detailed maps and additional information are available at the Retreat.
The Whitefish Bike Retreat is also located along three Adventure Cycling Association routes — the Great Divide, the Northern Tier, and the Great Parks North — so long-distance riders will have a comfortable place to rest and recover.
While the Retreat provides great access to biking, there are also many other outdoor activities in the area for those who don’t ride, including: miles of groomed nordic trails just across the street; skiing at Whitefish Mountain Resort; snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and dog sledding; great road biking and snow biking; hiking; fishing; rafting, canoeing, and kayaking. Paddle boards can be rented right from the Retreat. In short, it’s an outdoor paradise.
Central to the Retreat is the Main Bunk Lodge, which is a beautiful refurbished barn. The lodge incorporates corrugated steel and pine, as well as numerous recycled bike parts, for a rustic yet polished look. The Lodge has four private rooms that have varying arrangements of beds, and two hostel-style bunk rooms, all which come with towels and linens.
There are men’s and women’s bathrooms, laundry facilities (with soap), and a large common area downstairs with a TV. Some cell providers have service around the Retreat, but there is WiFi available if you need to stay connected. The common area outside also has a fire pit and a grill for guests to use.
The Whitefish Bike Retreat is pet-friendly, and even has a “hound hostel”; for those who want to plan a full-day ride or spend the evening in town for dinner, there is space to leave your dog, and longer walks can even be arranged.
Close to the lodge, camping is also available; each campsite has a fire ring, picnic table, and bike rack. Starting next season, the campground will have a new bathhouse with showers and flush toilets.
The Lodge has a full kitchen for guests to use, and each morning coffee and a homemade baked good are served free of charge to bunk guests. The Retreat uses a delicious custom blend of coffee, Pedal Push, from Montana Coffee Traders.
Cricket Butler opened the Whitefish Bike Retreat in the spring of 2013, and one of the reasons that it is so well-thought out for cyclists is that she is an accomplished rider herself. Once Cricket began mountain biking almost a decade ago, she threw herself into the sport and began competing in twelve and twenty-four hour endurance races. After completing a grueling race, La Ruta de los Conquistadores, across Costa Rica, she went on to participate in several Tour Divide races, which follows the Continental Divide from Banff to Mexico.
After visiting Whitefish for more than ten years, Cricket finally decided to relocate there with her two sons to open the Whitefish Bike Retreat. Cricket has made the Retreat and the community around it her home, and is always happy and available to help guests with whatever they need.
Since there are so many bike-specific amenities, it’s easier just to list them:
- Self-service bike shop on the property with basic tools, a pump, lube, and a stand
- Multiple local bike shops also close-by
- Secure indoor bike storage
- Bike wash station with brushes and soap
- Can organize and pick up bike rentals (fat bikes included) from local shops
- Staff has a lot of local trail knowledge, and detailed maps are available
- Clinics, camps, and guiding are easy to arrange through Beyond the Boundaries
- Can help organize a shuttle, for either biking or to/from the airport
- Short and long term parking available at the Retreat for longer bike tours
- Can hold special events for groups
- Staff can offer self-supported race consultation – bike set-ups, logistics, trial runs, and bikepacking bag demos available
The Whitefish Bike Retreat is situated in an unbelievable location for riders. But those who aren’t planning on biking will also enjoy the Retreat’s beautiful lodge, campsites, and access to a huge variety of outdoor activities.
So check out the Whitefish Bike Retreat, tell them we sent you, and
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