Riding time is 6 days, which includes the return trip to the Puget Sound area. If you’re going to the north end of the CDR in Montana it will take you 6 days from Seattle. Do you want to ride the NWP in reverse, going west-to-east? No problem, just work the daily itineraries backwards.
Overall mileage varies depending on the alternates you select. The traditional route runs 607 miles from BestRest World Headquarters north of Seattle area, to the eastern side of Priest Lake, ID. If you continue eastward to the Montana CDR north terminus add another 211 miles. 70-80 % of the route is gravel or dirt. There are paved sections along the way, but we avoided it when possible. Dirt is more fun.
The NWP is an Intermediate Level off road route. It can be ridden on large displacement dual purpose motorcycles such as a BMW R1200GS, KTM 1190, Suzuki V-strom, etc. It can also be ridden on smaller trail bikes like a KTM 450, Honda XR650, etc. Its not a route for the novice off road rider, but you really dont need to be an expert, either. You should be comfortable with riding on gravel and dirt, with ruts and rocks, and be capable of riding comfortably on steep uphills and downhills while the bike is fully loaded with gear. This route is NOT intended to challenge the upper limits of your riding abilities, or cause you to fall, or cause damage to your motorcycle although most riders have a minor tumble at least once during the week. This route has some challenges, but they are reasonable and prudent.
You can ride the NWP as soon as the snow clears from the high mountain passes – when that actually happens varies from year to year. Sometimes you can ride the NWP in late June, but usually its after the 4th of July that all the roads and trails are open. If you go too early you can expect to encounter downed trees, snowbanks, and other obstacles. If you wait a few weeks longer you’ll find that 4-wheelers have kindly cut all the trees out of your way. You can ride it as late as October depending on when the snow starts in the high country.
The NWP is not a rebranding of the excellent north-to-south Washington Back Country Discovery Route (the WABDR). Instead, the NWP runs west-to-east and it covers 3 states. The two routes happen to share a few miles of trail around Lake Chelan, but they are two distinct routes. We encourage you to ride both of them. The WABDR is heavily traveled during the summer (because it’s been discovered) but the NWP remains largely unknown. In the 4 years we’ve run the NWP we’ve never seen another motorcycle and we’ve only seen a few jeeps on the high trails.
We typically start the NWP the day after Labor Day in September, so most folks are back at work or in school. However in 2017 we plan to coordinate groups in July, August and September. We will try to get one of the NWP Alumni to act as a guide.
Mr. BestRest compiled this Route from various rides he’s done over the past two decades. In 2012 the Route was finalized and officially designated as the Northwest Passage (NWP) Adventure Route. BestRest Products has sponsored an NWP Expedition for the past 5 years (2012-16) and we plan to do it again in 2017. You don’t have to wait for us to ride the trail – you can do it yourself with the information we’re giving you on this webpage.
We’ve posted daily itineraries, screenshots of tracks, and GPS files you can load into your own computer and transfer to your GPS. BestRest provides this information FREE OF CHARGE. We want you to have as much fun riding the NWP as we have over the years. If you happen to buy some of our BestRest gear, that’s great. If not that’s OK too, because we didn’t create this Route for the money.
After you download the PDF file we suggest you set your printer so it prints on both sides of the page. We set the document so the itinerary for each day is on one sheet, front and back.
After you download the GPS tracks and PDF files we recommend you save them on your computer, in a special file called “The NorthWest Passage”. Then you can go in with your BaseCamp or MapSource program and download them to your GPS unit as “TRACKS” (not routes). See the PDF file for comments regarding converting tracks to routes, etc.
These downloads are FREE, however we ask that you create a customer account on our website, add the two items to your shopping cart, and go through the checkout process as though you were actually placing an order. You won’t be charged a penny. This checkout process helps us keep track of the number of downloads and it also allows us to contact you when we update itineraries or make changes to the GPS tracks, etc.
Special thanks to Steve Irby, who compiled the various GPS tracks and helped me write the daily itineraries. Steve and I have been riding buddies for years and we’ve shared a lot of time on the trail, including the Continental Divide Ride and other 2-wheeled adventures.
We’ll see you on the NorthWest Passage!
NorthWest Passage Video This 1-hour video features a portly Mr. BestRest who he talks you through the NorthWest Passage daily itineraries. It also contains video highlights so you can see what you’ll encounter during your NWP adventure.
NWP Schedule Changes For 2017
You can ride the NWP by yourself, solo with no support. However, it’s a lot more fun if you do it in a group. The dynamics of a a small group, the chance to share stories around the campfire, the cameraderie, and the moral support make riding as a team much more fun. You don’t have to ride with each other every day, instead you can ride at your own pace, and you meet up at the end of the day and camp together.
In years past Mr. BestRest led one NorthWest Passage Ride in September. We typically started Tuesday, the day after Labor Day, which falls somewhere around September 10. Many riders couldn’t make that date because of work or school, so we decided to add more dates when they could ride the NWP with a group.
Mr. BestRest (David Petersen) won’t be riding with you (except for the July trip when he will be on the first 2 days of the ride, then he’ll peel off to attend the WA BMW Rally in Republic, WA). Usually he led the entire ride, assisted by his trusty sidekick Steve Irby. David and Steve have other plans so they’ll pass the baton to others. BestRest will still coordinate the details and act as a liason for the each ride. We’ll try to get a crusty NWP alumni to lead each group, preferrably one who has teeth and doesn’t spit tobacco juice in the campfire.
NOTE: Because we’ve done A LOT of work on the GPS route planning and track development, most riders will find that they’re able to navigate the NWP without any difficulty (ASSUMING YOU’VE DOWNLOADED THE LATEST GPS TRACKS). If you’ve done your homework you won’t have any problems. If you haven’t, you’ll be eaten by bears and cougars and your mortal remains will never be found. Previous experience with your GPS is the key to unlocking an enjoyable NWP experience.
These are the 4 dates we’ve set aside. Some changes may occur, keep checking this page. If you plan to attend one of these rides CONTACT BESTREST BY PHONE OR EMAIL. if you have a Facebook account, go to this page and add your name to the list of participants. https://www.facebook.com/CyclePump/
June 17 – 24 (Saturday to Saturday)
This is the earliest date that the passes will be clear of snow. Based on snowpack reports, we may have to slide this date out a bit. We’ll be checking with the forest service and some local riders who can give us trail reports.
July 19 – 26 (Wednesday to Wednesday)
Mr. BestRest will ride with you for the first 2 days, then he’ll stop in Republic and spend a few days at the Washington BMW Rider’s Rally (Friday – Sunday). NWP participants are invited to attend the WA Rally, then continue on the NWP whenever they want, OR they can skip the rally entirely and stay on the NWP Route. Republic is only a few miles south of the NWP track. There is a fee for the WA Rally. Click this link to find out more: WA State BMW Riders
August 19-26 (Saturday to Saturday)
Summer will be winding down, so the temperatures will be more moderate than they were in July.
September 5-12 (Tuesday to Tuesday)
This ride starts the day after Labor Day. Expect cool temperatures, some autumn color, clear skies, and ZERO bikes or jeeps on the trail. Those are the reasons we’ve always ridden the NWP at this time of the year.
Here’s a typical group of NWP riders heading out for a week of adventure.
If you’re interested in riding the NWP on any of these dates, please contact us by phone or email as soon as possible. Here’s what we’ll do for you and for others who want to ride the NWP on those dates:
- We’ll add your name to a rider’s roster for that date
- We’ll keep a list of riders and send you those details so you know who’s going
- As always there is a practical limit to the size of the group
- We’ll provide a starting place (BestRest World Headquarters) or if the group prefers we’ll establish a secondary starting point
- We’ll help you with itineraries, GPS details, and keep you updated on the trail conditions
- We won’t be holding your hand on the trail, but we will pat you on the back as you head out with your new friends
- We’ll do other things to make your adventure as much fun as possible – we’re not sure what that is (yet)
Once again, if you plan to attend one of these rides, CONTACT BESTREST ASAP. Also go to the Facebook page and add your name.
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