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Route of the Hiawatha is a 29.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Saltese, Montana that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until September.

Distance: 29.5 miles Elevation Gain: 4,668 feet Route Type: Out & Back

wheelchair friendly

kid friendly

stroller friendly

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

forest

partially paved

rails trails

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

The Route of the Hiawatha 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.

road biking
1 month ago

if you are wanting stunning mountain views, long bridges and a long tunnel .. this is the trail for you. We only rode the downhill direction, due to time constraints,are were not disappointed

mountain biking
6 months ago

We had heard a lot about this trail previous to our trip. One person even called it epic. This ride did not disappoint-- beautiful views throughout. Don't forget a jacket and gloves for the long tunnel. It was moderately trafficked on the way down but we had the trail virtually by ourselves on the way back up. Great trail!

bike touring
muddy
6 months ago

Taking a garbage bag to wear through the long tunnel woudl be a great idea!

mountain biking
6 months ago

I almost talked myself out of this due to the distance from Coeur D’ Alene but I’m so glad I did it. One of the most spectacular bike rides I have ever done. Absolutely beautiful the whole way. You just can’t beat those trestles.

mountain biking
muddy
6 months ago

One of the most spectacular views. Like everyone else here make sure you have a light on your bike that has 300 lumens or higher for that first tunnel, it is cold wet and damp. Have mud guards on your bike or plan to have a nice mud patch on your backside. Bring a little lunch or snacking along the way they do provide a meal but it’s nice to have a lunch with your significant other on this beautiful scenic route. Enjoy and they do have moonlight rides for the nocturnal rider

hiking
7 months ago

This bike ride should be on your bucket list. It’s beautiful, all downhill, and so cool to do the tunnels and trestles. We saw a mom and baby moose at the bottom part of the trail.

mountain biking
7 months ago

Great ride with Bailey. Falcon and back up. No shuttle. 80degrees.

hiking
7 months ago

Easy as can be& peaceful. The first tunnel is long and cold so being a jacket!

hiking
7 months ago

I loved this ride and can't wait to do it again. Get good lights and bring a jacket for the tunnel. It can be 35 degrees in there in the summer. Plan to take your time and enjoy the beautiful views. You can do it fast...but why?

mountain biking
muddy
7 months ago

August - Mid Summer Route of the Hiawatha is one of the more popular biking trails in the area. The trail mainly follows forest service roads through the Coeur d'Alene National Forest. If you've spent any time in the local mountains, the terrain and scenery will be very familiar to you, but what really makes this trail stand out is the old train tunnels it passes through. There are several train tunnels along the trail, with the first being the longest. The trail is all down hill, making it a very easy ride. It can get very muddy as there is always water in the main tunnel. Other things to note is that a permit is required, which can be purchased at the trail head, online or at Lookout Pass Ski Resort. A mounted light is also required for the dark tunnels. All equipment including bikes can be rented at Lookout. There is also a shuttle pass that can be purchased so you don't have to make the ride back up the mountain. The parking space is quiet large, but this brings me to the biggest negative to this trail, it is PACKED. Granted we did go on a Saturday during peak season, but it felt like there were hundreds of people on the trail, and the parking lot was completely full (we had to park along the road). Waiting for the shuttle at the bottom was around a two and a half hour wait. Overall, if you've never been to this trail, it is worth it at least once for riding through the old train tunnels, but I'd recommend maybe going on a week day or during the off season to avoid all the people.

mountain biking
closed
8 months ago

great adventure

hiking
9 months ago

watch for bikes

mountain biking
Tue Oct 09 2018

Make sure you have at least 4 hours to ride/read all the signs or you’ll be rushed

Tue Sep 18 2018

Beautiful! Stunning! Spectacular! Exciting to get through the tunnels! Loved the ride!

mountain biking
Sat Sep 01 2018

Awesome trail. Best ridden on a bike with suspension. First time I rode it was on my cross bike. Quite jarring. I've never taken the shuttle from the bottom back up to the top. The gradient is easy enough to ride back up. However, probably not recommended for pre-teen youngsters. Purchased the season pass this year. Should get in a few more rides before they close for the season in late September.

mountain biking
Fri Jul 06 2018

Such an awesome and relaxing bike ride that is allllll slightly downhill! Several long tunnels so bring a headlamp! Bike rentals are available at the ski hill if you need to rent. awesome family outing!

mountain biking
Mon Jul 02 2018

loved it! wish it was longer :)

mountain biking
Sun Jul 01 2018

Great biking experience

Tue Jun 26 2018

Rode this trail a few years after the rails were removed and before all the trail work. Even with a few tunnels missing and a bridge or two missing. It's still a great ride in one of the most beautiful rail routes of the west.

mountain biking
Sat Jun 02 2018

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
Thu May 10 2018

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
Mon Feb 26 2018

Super easy bike ride with amazing views!

Mon Jan 15 2018

Beautiful easy hike

mountain biking
Sat Jul 29 2017

mountain biking
Sun Apr 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
Wed Sep 14 2016

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

mountain biking
Fri Sep 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.

Sat Aug 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
Mon Aug 15 2016

Amazing!!!!!!

mountain biking
Thu Jun 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

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