Hiawatha Rail Trail

EASY 37 reviews
#1 of 10 trails in

Hiawatha Rail Trail is a 14.7 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near East Portal, Montana that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until September.

DISTANCE
14.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1696 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

wheelchair friendly

kid friendly

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

rails trails

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

The Hiawatha Rail Trail is the crown jewel of rail-to-trail adventures. It was named to the hall of fame by the Rail-to-Trail Conservatory, one of only 15 trails across the United States to receive this designation. Begin your odyssey in Montana and immediately plunge deep underground to surface in Idaho where you'll stay for the rest of your historic wanderings. The Route of the Hiawatha may very well be the pride of America when it comes to trails. Descriptions can be exaggerated, but the sheer numbers can't lie. The trail is studded with ten tunnels (The longest is 8771 feet long.), seven trestles (The highest is 850 feet long and 230 feet high.), dozens of educational signs, thousands of trees and animals, hundreds of... Well, hopefully you get the picture. And while numbers don't lie, they also can't come close to describing the beauty and grandeur of this Idaho classic. A true trail fanatic could ride the Route of the Hiawatha and its nearby cousin, the Trail of the Couer d' Alenes and be in trail heaven. To access this trail, find Interstate 90, then turn off at either exit 61 if approaching from the Idaho side or exit 5 if approaching from the Montana side. It is a good idea to visit the website links provided with this guide for information about the trail fee, shuttle service, and bike rentals. Follow the path of the Milwaukee Road and enjoy a perfect path to paradise on the Route of the Hiawatha.

mountain biking
19 days ago

I'm an avid mountain biker and am introducing my daughters to it. This is a great first "mountain bike" ride. If you start at the very top, there is a 1.66 mile tunnel. It is very cold, wet and dark. Stay toward the center of the trail, follow your light, and just keep riding and you'll be just fine! My scaredy cat 9 year old made it. You can also start at Roland(?) and skip the 1.6 mile tunnel which we probably will do next time.
I recommend a bike light and jacket for this tunnel. The rest of the tunnels are much shorter but most still require a light. Very beautiful views, interesting history and easy going. If you ride the shuttle back up, expect a wait (15 min on the Sunday of Memorial Day). Great time to eat your lunch. The lodge provides a sack lunch or, as we did, bring your own food.
There are chipmunks at the interpretive/historical points that are almost tame. If you have a granola bar, they'll come right up and almost eat out of your hand.
Definitely will be back!

mountain biking
1 month ago

This is one of the coolest things I've done in the Northwest. I love trains, mountains, and biking, and I don't think there's another trail that combines those things so perfectly. The downhill was easy enough that my sixty year old parents had no troubles. Even the bike rental and rack set up on our rental car was quick and easy. I will be back again. I've posted a GoPro video of the entire trail, sped up x12, on YouTube. [https://youtu.be/m86niEAvVmc]

mountain biking
3 months ago

Super easy bike ride with amazing views!

5 months ago

Beautiful easy hike

8 months ago

Easy going bike trail with beautiful scenery.

I opted to ride my bike both ways instead of taking the shuttle back up. I was told by the people who worked at Lookout Pass where I bought the trail pass where to stop before the path got too rocky to bike back up without some trouble.

Easy ride down....fairly easy ride back up.

Brought bike light and headlamp—didn’t need the headlamp. Brought warm gear to go through the longer tunnels because they get cold inside.

mountain biking
10 months ago

mountain biking
Sunday, April 23, 2017

Awesome trail. Even in June it was pretty darn chilly in the tunnels and rained on us before the sun finally came out to warm us up.

mountain biking
Wednesday, September 14, 2016

lovely trail with amazing views. The tunnels were fun, long but fun.

mountain biking
Friday, September 02, 2016

Stunningly beautiful biking trail. This trail is mildly graded and well maintained, suitable for almost anyone that can ride a bike.

You go through tunnels, over tressels, and through valleys. The views are awesome. There are historical signs and viewpoints all along this trail. It is just a great casual ride.

Expect heavy usage during the summer, don't plan on riding fast. People will be riding casually often in groups.

There are restrooms, no cell service, and no vendors. Bring all your food with you, a paid entrance ticket, a helmet, and a light for the tunnels.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

We had a lot of fun as a family! Everyone was friendly and we got loaded on the bus the minute we got to the bottom. We'll definitely go again!!

mountain biking
Monday, August 15, 2016

Amazing!!!!!!

mountain biking
Thursday, June 23, 2016

Most scenic mountain bike trail I have ever ridden Would love to see it expanded. Ride back up for a good workout. 2% grade for most of trail beautiful tunnels and trestles

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Very nice easy going and great scenery. I only complaint is the cost to do it and the cost to ride back in the bus.

mountain biking
Thursday, September 03, 2015

Beautiful day for a ride through the tree tops. The tunnels were cool and the trellises had a nice breeze. Our day of amazing views could have lasted forever. Bring water and some snacks so you too can enjoy a day of nature and man's work in the woods.

road biking
Monday, August 17, 2015

Beautiful

hiking
Sunday, July 26, 2015

Hiked from the west bound rest area over and up to the trail. First surprise was a $ 10.00 entrance fee.(even for hiking) the second was having to put on a bike helmet going through the tunnel even though I was walking.

Great day sunny and warm. Being the weekend trail was crowded with bikers. The long tunnel was nice and cool but for a hiker it was like trying to walk down the middle of I-90. Not a lot of room. The 2nd tunnel was better almost no traffic.

The view across the valley was awesome! And a constant breeze blowing. The trail was easy to use. Pretty much a logging road. I saw deer, chipmunks, and rabbits.

mountain biking
Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Great fun and an easy downhill ride, we will do it again. Just make sure to bring a bright bike light for the tunnels, other than that it was great!

mountain biking
Friday, June 27, 2014

Very wonderful experience for my family!
I highly suggest taking the bus ride back to the top to not only save you time and energy, but if lucky, you will also get a little history lesson on the ride back up!

road biking
Monday, May 19, 2014

Simply awesome. Views are spectacular. Slight downhill makes ride easy.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I have done this trail twice and I love it ! The only tip I would give is make sure your flashlight on your bike has fresh batteries!

mountain biking
Thursday, April 04, 2013

Awesome family outing. Very enjoyable

mountain biking
Thursday, July 28, 2011

Definitely an easy trail as it is a very low grade downhill ride the whole way. Very beautiful area, and cool sensation to be riding through the many tunnels (especially the first 1.5 mile tunnel in the beginning), and over trestles that span over tree tops. A great trip to do with the kids. For those interested in the areas history, there are interpretive signs that tell a great deal about the area as you bike your way down.

mountain biking
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Our family completed this trail easily. It is full of breathtaking views and since it is downhill, you have time to view it. There are several tunnels and trestles you must cross and pass through but they are very safe and my 8 year old had no trouble. You pass through the burn area from the famous 1910 fires and there are interpretive signs all through the trail. A shuttle bus will take you back to your car when you are finished. Overall a great day!

mountain biking
9 months ago

mountain biking
9 months ago

10 months ago

recorded Hiawatha Rail Trail

mountain biking
10 months ago

mountain biking
10 months ago

mountain biking
11 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

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