Trail of the Hiawatha

 7 votes

15.1 Miles 24.3 Kilometers


Doubletrack

1,442' 440 m

Ascent

-2,429' -740 m

Descent

5,055' 1,541 m

High

3,172' 967 m

Low

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

31%

Max Grade (17°)

All Clear

80 days agoUpdate

10 train tunnels (one is 1.66 miles long) and 7 very tall trestles. A light, helmet & fee required.

Joseph States

Overview

Parts of the trail and some tunnel access are closed in winter. Memorial weekend is the official opening date each year. You must have a light, helmet, and a ticket to enter either end of the trail. (It seems to be a free-for-all if you park anywhere other than the two trailheads).
Family Friendly: It's easiest to start in the west. With a nice slope and optional bus ride back up for you and your bike, everyone can do this ride. (How you or the bike will be tired from coming down is unknown.)

Description

The Hiawatha Bike Trail is public property. It is on U. S. National Forest land administered by the St. Joe Ranger District of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. Like a ski mountain, it is operated by Lookout Pass Ski Area under a special use permit. There are "ski patrol" on the trail to help with breakdowns or injuries.

The official "Route of the Hiawatha Trail" is 15.1 miles, running from the East Portal, MT to Pearson, ID. (There is a lot of good riding out each end as well). There are 9 of 10 train tunnels and 7 of 8 trestles on this trail that are still accessible. (one tunnel is unstable and closed. One trestle burned and is gone). The longest tunnel is the St. Paul Pass Tunnel (Taft Tunnel or East Portal) at 1.66 miles. It is all downhill when starting at the East Portal, but not enough to ride your brakes. The trail itself used to be part of the railroad grade, so the way is well maintained, and you won't come across too many obstacles. The Route of the Hiawatha is one of only 15 trails to be named a "Hall of Fame" trail by the Rail-to-Trail Conservancy.

You can get your trail passes and bus tickets at the trail heads (bring cash) or get them at Lookout Pass Ski Area just off I-90 at the state line. They also rent bikes at the ski lodge. Phone: 208-744-1234. Theres also a shuttle bus service for an additional fee from Pearson, ID to the East Portal, MT.

From the bottom of the trail there are a series of Forest Service roads which are plesant and generally unchallenging if you're looking to get some more mileage in.

Contacts

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4.7 from 7 votes


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Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Jul 30, 2017
De Lock
Better to start at the bottom instead of the top. 30.5mi
Jul 9, 2017
J&H Zinner
East Portal to Tunnel 28 then back up to East Portal! 22mi
May 29, 2017
Brian Kohles
This is a great trail. Spectacular views. Going to have to make out back out one day to do the rest of the trail. 14.9mi — 1h 25m
Sep 5, 2016
Kenny Davis
Good
May 29, 2016
Joseph States
Opening weekend! great ride even with the rain that came around 2pm
Aug 4, 2011
Cycling Escapes
30mi

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Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 7 votes

#1

in East Portal

#631

Overall
  4.7 from 7 votes
5 Star
86%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
14%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#1

in East Portal

#14

in Montana

#631

Overall
40 Views Last Month
954 Since Jun 5, 2016
Easy Easy

71%
29%
0%
0%
0%
0%

Conditions


All Clear 80 days ago
Dry, Some Mud - Some mud in first tunnel but pretty cool overall.
Update ConditionsHistory

Getting forecast...

Please note that the Elevation Profile does not take into account that the tunnels do not go over the mountains. Jun 5, 2016
I love this trail in the summer! I always start at the bottom and ride up and down for a 30 mile loop. Does anyone know if you can ride it after it closes in September? I would like to do it the first weekend in October. I realize there is no shuttle or support and am okay with that. I just want to make sure the trail is not gated off. Sep 5, 2017
Cody, They close the large gates on the top tunnel but the rest is still open. Be sure to ride the trails below for more tunnels and bridges all the way out the bottom of the canyon. Sep 24, 2017

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