Monday, August 31, 2009

Hiawatha Trail

Mountain Biking
Location: Idaho/Montana Border, near Lookout Pass
Duration: 1 Day
Season: Spring - Fall
Distance: ~15 miles, one way
Difficulty: Easy

The Hiawatha Rail-Trail has been called one of the most scenic stretches of railroad grade in the country. The Route of the Hiawatha is a scenic section of abandoned railroad grade from the Milwaukee Road that The Taft Tunnel Preservation Society and the U.S. Forest Service have turned into a world-class non-motorized trail.

A truly unique and historic experience everyone can enjoy, the trail takes you back to the turn of the century when the Milwaukee Road constructed the last transcontinental railroad in the United States. This magnificent rail-trail winds over the rugged Bitterroot Mountains between Idaho and Montana, along one of the most scenic routes in the Pacific Northwest.

The trial passes through eleven tunnels and over nine trestles, towering hundreds of feet above the valley floor. The Route of the Hiawatha is best known for the long, dark St. Paul Pass or "Taft" Tunnel, which burrows for 1.8 miles under the state line. The best part of this trail, IT'S ALL DOWNHILL!

Currently, fifteen miles of trail are now open to the public with another 31 miles under construction. When finished, a rider will be able to ride from St. Regis, Montana to Pearson, Idaho (46 miles total). You can ride or hike the trail any time between 8:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. from May to October. The trail is operated and maintained with fees collected from all users.

All users are required to purchase and display their tickets at all times. Tickets can be purchased on the trail from the Trail Marshal or at Lookout Pass Ski Resort. There is a shuttle bus to transport you and your bike between Roland & Pearson trailheads.

Tunnels are very dark, so all users must have lights and helmets to ride the trail. Adult supervision is required for children under the age of 14. Dogs and pets are not allowed on the trail.

NOTE: Bike rental is available at Lookout Pass. At last check prices were for complete package: bike, helmet, and light.

Directions: From Lookout Pass, Montana take I-90 East to the Taft exit #5. From the Taft exit, go past the pavilion and take the Rainy Creek Road #506 approximately 2 miles to the East Portal Trailhead.

For a map, pictures and more info click on Hiawatha Trail

See you on the trail,

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