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Route of the Hiawatha

Start at the Montana/Idaho border and explore 10 tunnels, 7 trestles and 15 miles of Idaho history, scenery and wildlife
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Difficulty: Easy
Length: 15 miles
Duration: Full day
Family Friendly

Overview:  Begin your odyssey in Montana and immediately plunge deep underground to surface in Idaho where you'll stay for the rest of your... more »

Tips:  - There is a fee for using the trail, but it is well worth the modest price. It is $8 for adults & $4 for children ages 3-13.
- If... more »

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Points of Interest

1. East portal trailhead

Although the vast majority of the trail (currently) is in Idaho, this eastern trailhead is in Montana.

2. St. Paul Pass Tunnel and Montana/Idaho border

This is the longest tunnel on the trail at 8771 feet in length. It is quite dark and very cool all year long.

3. Roland/west portal trailhead

If you want to start your journey after the St. Paul Pass tunnel, this is the first trailhead on the Idaho side of the state line.

4. Moss Creek trailhead

5. Adair/Cliff Creek trailhead

6. Pearson trailhead

This is currently, the official ending point for the Route of the Hiawatha; however, there are big plans for eventually connecting this trail to the Trail of the Coeur d' Alenes (see Everytrail guide).
In fact, when this entire trail system is completed, it may be possible to bike all the way from Missoula, Montana to the Pacific Ocean. Plans are... More

7. water features

You will find numerous streams, rivers, and waterfalls on or near this trail. Between the tunnels and streams, you will find plenty of places to cool off, even on the hottest summer days.

8. fauna

As you can imagine, these forests and mountains are home to wildlife of all shapes and sizes.

9. educational opportunities

Throughout the length of this trail, signs point to the fascinating history, architecture, and events that shaped this area. Information about bridge building, the 1910 fires, the pioneering trail blazers, and even the pyrotechnic prowess of the rail workers can be discovered by those who want to learn more about this beautiful and historic land.

10. seven trestles

The scenery from atop the railroad trestles is breath-taking. The creeks and valleys below look like miniatures, and if one were to spit (rather instinctual for a certain gender) over the edge, one would wait for quite some time before aforementioned spit hits the ground/creek below. (Not that the author of this particular trail guide advocates... More

11. Ten tunnels

Altogether, you will pass through nine tunnels and detour around one closed tunnel while traveling the Route of the Hiawatha Bike Trail. If you started in the east, you explored the longest tunnel first. The rest vary in length from 1516 feet long to a mere 178 feet long. For safety, comfort, and navigation purposes, you will definitely want a... More

12. flora

Due to the abundant rainfall and waterways in this area, the vegetation is lush and verdant with a surprisingly abundant selection of plants ranging in size from nearly microscopic to towering ponderosa pines.