Trail of Coeur d’ Alenes
The trail of the Coeur d’ Alenes is one of the most spectacular rides in the west. The paved rails to trail is 72 miles long and travels along many lakes, mountains, and valleys in Idaho’s Panhandle. The area has a rich mining, railroading and Native American history, too, and there are plenty of places to stop to enjoy the scenery and visit local attractions.
Between Plummer and Harrison the trail is just over 15 miles one way. The first 6 miles are downhill as you travel through the rolling foothills of the Palouse prairie. Then after passing through the Heyburn State Park you venture over the Chatcolet Bridge and continue alongside the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene until you reach the town of Harrison. Harrison is a full service town with many great amenities.
Between Harrison and Medimont the trail meanders through the mountainous chain lakes as it follows the Coeur d’Alene River. This segment is best for seeing wildlife such as; birds of prey, bear, beavers, turtles, coyote, and pretty regular sightings of moose.
From Medimont east, the trail travels in Idaho’s Silver Valley, once one of the most productive silver mining areas in the country.
From Cataldo the trail follows the Coeur d’Alene River through the Silver Valley. The mountains are more forested here as you head toward Kellogg, the largest town along the trail. There are plenty of places to eat here.
For the last segment from Kellogg to Mullan the trail gradually gains in elevation. Historical Wallace will be the next. This is a great place to make one last stop. Enjoy the neat attractions, restaurants, and breweries.
Wallace to Mullan You’ll know when you reach the end of the trail in Mullan here the trail surface turns to gravel and continues east as the NorPac Trail. The NorPac Trail runs to Taft, situated only 2.5 miles from the 15-mile Route of the Hiawatha.for the Taft Tunnel stretching more than 8,000 feet under the Bitterroot Mountains. .
There are picnic areas, bathrooms, and bike stations along the way, however, water is not available throughout much of the trail or at trailheads. Plan ahead or stock up when you hit the towns.
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The 16 mile scenic loop on compact gravel provides wetlands, river and multiple lake views. The compact roads are generally flat and gentling rolling surfaces. These are wonderful evening rides on bikes or vehicles. The route is equipped with a formal a waterfowl viewing stand on Thompson Lake. The ride can be done as a small or larger loop. In both rides wider tires are advised.
Short Anderson Lake Loop
From the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes Harrison Trailhead located down by the marina, go to the right (facing the marina) until you see Anderson Lake on the right. Just past Anderson Lake near the Springston Trailhead turn right on to Anderson Lake Road travel along the road until intersecting with Bell Canyon turn right until you intersect with Highway 97, then turn left back to Harrison.
Large Thompson and Anderson Lakes Loop
Follow highway 97 north out of Harrison and cross over a long bridge turning right on the other side onto Thompson Lake Road follow until intersecting with E. Blue Lake Road and turn right back toward lake Coeur d’Alene. Travel on the E. Blue Lake until turning left onto the Springston Bridge. Cross over the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes onto Anderson Lake Road repeat the directions for Anderson Lake Loop.
The Route of the Hiawatha mountain bike or hike trail is 15 miles long with 10 train tunnels and 7 sky-high trestles. The ride starts with a ride through the 1.66 mile long St. Paul Pass Tunnel, also know as the Taft Tunnel. It is a highlight of the trail that follows the crest of the Bitterroot Mountains near Lookout Pass Ski Area. The best part is…. it’s all downhill with shuttle buses available to transport you and your bike back to the top. This family friendly trail is easily enjoyed by a wide variety of people from young children to super seniors.
Trail passes, shuttle tickets and mountain bike rentals with lights are available at Lookout Pass Ski Area located right alongside Interstate 90, take Exit 0, at the Idaho-Montana state line. The start of the Hiawatha is a short 7 mile drive from Lookout Pass. Lookout Pass is located just 12 miles east of historic Wallace, Idaho.
The Lookout Pass Lodge and bike rental shop opens at 8 AM(PDT). The trail is open from 8:30 AM to 5 PM (PDT) daily starting May 26 through September 23, 2018.
It was called one of the most scenic stretches of railroad in the country. When the Milwaukee Railroad was operating, the trains traversed through 11 tunnels and over 9 high trestles, covering a 46 mile route that crossed the rugged Bitterroot Mountains between Idaho and Montana. The “Route of the Hiawatha” is most famous for the long St. Paul Pass, or Taft Tunnel which burrows for 8,771 ft. (1.66 miles) under the Bitterroot Mountains at the state line.