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Trail of the Hiawatha

Easy
 4.6 (10)

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


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Map Key

15.1

Miles

24.3

KM

Doubletrack

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

Features -none-

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.)

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).

Need to Know

The cost for this trail in 2019 is $12 per person. A shuttle fee from the bottom is $10 per person and you still get to go through the 1.6 mile trail. Additionally, lights can be rented that are required for the tunnels. The 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 on dirt/gravel road to start on the bottom and then go to the top and back. The altitude map does not reflect the first long tunnel goes through the mountain this is fairly flat. Be ready to clean your bike after this ride due to the mud and water in the tunnels.

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

Shared By:

Joseph States with improvements by Deb Reynolds

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 9 votes

#1

in East Portal

#1445

Overall
  4.6 from 9 votes
5 Star
78%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
22%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#1

in East Portal

#42

in Montana

#1,445

Overall
559 Views Last Month
6,092 Since Jun 5, 2016
Easy

80%
0%
20%
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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

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 68 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Aug 18, 2019
Bennett Winsor
30.2mi — 4h 00m
May 26, 2019
Carlos Martinez
15.1mi
Jul 16, 2018
Robert Whitaker
15.1mi
Jun 6, 2018
Blake Erickson
We went half way Adair and then rode back, since the shuttle wasn't running.
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