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


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Map Key

15.1

Miles

24.3

KM

0%

Singletrack

5,055' 1,541 m

High

3,172' 967 m

Low

1,442' 440 m

Up

2,429' 740 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

31%

Max Grade (17°)

Dogs No Dogs

E-Bikes Allowed

Family Friendly It's easiest to start in the east. 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.)

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).

Overview

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.

Need to Know

Cost for trail passes can be found on the official webpage here: RideTheHiawatha.com/trail/s… - in 2022 a trail pass costs $16-$18, Mon.-Thurs. more on weekends. A shuttle fee from Pearson to Roland runs $14-$16/person. Shuttle drops you off in Roland so you get to go back through the 1.66 mile St. Paul Pass tunnel. Lights are required for the tunnels and can be rented at Lookout Pass.

The East Portal parking lot is only 2 miles off exit 5, I-90 so no need to shuttle from elsewhere. If you are an experienced rider, you might consider the 17-mile drive (~ 45 minutes one way) on sketchy dirt/gravel road to start at the bottom at Pearson, and then ride uphill to the top and back.

The altitude map does not reflect the first long tunnel which goes through the mountain and is fairly flat. Be ready to clean your bike after this ride due to the mud and water in the tunnels. E-Bikes Class I allowed, Class II allowed if throttle disengaged, Class III NOT allo

Description

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 pleasant and generally unchallenging if you're looking to get some more mileage in.

Contacts

Shared By:

Joseph States with improvements by Deb Reynolds and 2 others

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 15 votes

#1

in East Portal

#815

Overall
  4.7 from 15 votes
5 Star
80%
4 Star
7%
3 Star
13%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in East Portal

#15

in Montana

#815

Overall
41 Views Last Month
10,561 Since Jun 5, 2016
Easy Easy

80%
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13%
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Photos

Bear Creek Trestle.
Jun 5, 2016 near Wallace, ID
It can get a bit cold in the tunnels but it feels oh so good on a hot day.
Jun 5, 2016 near Wallace, ID
It's a long way down if you look over the side of the trestle.
Apr 24, 2017 near Wallace, ID
The Trail of the Hiawatha is an easy ride for the whole family.
Apr 24, 2017 near Wallace, ID
Winding down a great family ride on the Trail of the Hiawatha.
Apr 24, 2017 near Wallace, ID
A bike light is mandatory for all the dark tunnels along the way.
Apr 24, 2017 near Wallace, ID
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