Route Overview





Days Out


Recommended Tire Size



Late April - Late June;
September - October

Elevation Gain



8/10 Physical
4/10 Technical

Primary Surface(s)

~50% 4x4
~35% gravel

Route Map

Route Details

Connecting rugged doubletrack and backcountry roads, The Great Rift Dirt Tour highlights the vast terrain of the Sagebrush Steppe on the Columbia Plateau. Over 283 miles, the route skirts expansive lava flows among nearby mountains and traveling deep into the remote high desert of the Snake River Plain. This Idaho bikepacking route is truly a remote, soul-searching odyssey!

Located in present-day South Central Idaho on the Snake River Plain and Columbia Plateau, The Great Rift Dirt Tour circumnavigates the Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve. Within this protected landscape lies The Great Rift, a fissure in the earth’s crust spanning 62 miles north and south, and known to be the most extensive, recent, and deepest volcanic rift system in the continental United States. This unique, overland bikepacking adventure around a volcanic rift zone passes by cinder cones, expansive and diverse lava flows, caves, chasms, blowouts, and buttes. When immersed in this desolate and ominous landscape, however, the presence of bountiful life is breathtaking.

Highlights include:

  • Unique camping inside craters, buttes and in an area designated an International Dark Sky Park.
  • Exploring sights of the Craters of the Moon National Monument.
  • The hundreds of miles of doubletrack that no one knows about or takes the time to explore.
  • Seeing herds of pronghorn, and rare reptiles and birds.
  • The blooming sagebrush, wildflowers, and abundant lush grasses in the spring.

“The area now known as Craters of the Moon is important to the Shoshone-Bannock because it represents both a place of sacred power and an ancestral ground crossed during seasonal migrations. The lava rock was heated in our sweat lodges and it was the rock that sent our prayers up to the creator. In the landscape of the lava flows, harmony was found.”
– Laverne Broncho, Shoshone-Bannock Tribal Member

  • Paved: 13%
  • Smooth Gravel: 20%
  • Rough Gravel: 15%
  • 4×4 Road: 52%
  • Singletrack: 0%

The RideWithGPS route page has a wealth of information on the route, including a planned itinerary, must-know route information including water sources, trail tips and logistics.

More info coming soon!

  • The route page on Ride With GPS has a wealth of additional information.
  • Aaron’s Instagram (@aaroncouch) has more information on the route, including a saved interview with detailed reflections from a rider who completed the route in 2023.

Aaron Couch created and stewards this route. Here is a little about Aaron in his own words:

I have 5+ years of route developing experience, mostly for customers of a bike shop, specifically for events like the Fitz-Barn, Around the Rock, Togwotee Winter Classic, Wydaho One Hundred, etc. I have worked with Kurt to help develop some routes Bikepacking Roots has already used including the Maah Daah Hey and Intermountain Connectors from the WWR to GDMR. I’ve recently begun sharing more routes openly and publicly as a Ride With GPS Area Ambassador. These routes include Wydaho One Hundred, North Valley Agriramble, and the Great Rift Dirt Tour.

I live within 2 hours of the start of the Great Rift route. I developed it through intensive research and 5 days of scouting in June 2022. I will continue to steward and update the route as needed in the future.

Be sure to check out Aaron’s website Destination Reroute to read more about his bikepacking adventures and route creation.

Aaron has offered to be available to answer questions if you are planning a trip on this route. We encourage you to be respectful of Route Stewards time though and to review publicly available materials first before reaching out with questions.

Please also get in touch with any updates on route conditions that may be relevant to other riders.

Please submit your questions and comments on the route using the contract form below.

    This route traverses the traditional lands of the Shoshone, Bannock, Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla.