Bike the Route of the Hiawatha trail in Idaho
Route of the Hiawatha; credit Idaho Tourism

Bike the Route of the Hiawatha Trail in Idaho

The Route of the Hiawatha is one of the most scenic stretches of railroad in the U.S.A. Now, it the most popular ski area bike trail in the country, attracting more than 70,000 riders last summer. Famously, it is considered the crown jewel of the nation’s rails-to-trails initiative. 

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Bike the route of the Hiawatha trail
Route of the Hiawatha bike trail, Idaho

The Route of the Hiawatha winds through the rugged Bitterroot Mountains in the St. Joe Ranger District of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest along an abandoned section of the Milwaukee Railroad. Also, the trail traverses seven sky-high train trestles and delving 10 tunnels.

Taft tunnel, route of the hiawatha trail
A family of cyclists exits Taft Tunnel on the Route of the Hiawatha. Photo courtesy of Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area

Historic Trail is All Downhill

The Route of the Hiawatha trail has a gentle 1.6-percent to 2-percent, all-downhill trail. Furthermore, it straddles the Idaho-Montana state line for 15 miles, delving 10 dark tunnels and crossing seven sky-high steel train trestles. And, 50 interpretive trailside signs enhance the family-friendly experience, telling the story of the railroad, the people who worked here, the forest, and the area’s rich history.

Trestle bridge on the Route of the Hiawatha bike trail
The scenic Route of the Hiawatha traverses seven sky-high steel train trestles . (Photo courtesy of Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area)

Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area- Where Your Biking Adventure Begins

Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area is only a short 7-mile ride to the East Portal trailhead for the Route of the Hiawatha. In summertime, the resort offers lift-served downhill mountain biking, scenic chairlift rides up and down the mountain, lift-served hiking trails, a mountain summit nine-hole frisbee golf course, a bungee jump, and huckleberry picking later in the season.

The scenic Route of the Hiawatha is a family friendly adventure (Photo courtesy of Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area)

There are five top-to-bottom downhill mountain bike trails with more on the way. However, there are no jumps or wooden features on its family friendly trails, which vary from singletrack that winds through the woods and across ski trails to wider mountain-access roads. Of course, all the trails offer fun rides with some offering impressive views of the St. Regis Basin.

Impressive views of St Regis Basin
Fifty interpretive trailside signs that enhance the family friendly experience, telling the story of the railroad, the people who worked here, the forest, and the area’s rich history. (Photo courtesy of Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area)

Know Before You Go

Lookout Pass offers rental bikes for adults and kids, as well as bike trailers for youngsters. Also, there are trikes and reclining bikes for seniors who haven’t been on a bike in years and a few tandem bikes for the romantics. Helpfully, you can rent handlebar-mounted bike lights, necessary for riding through the Route of the Hiawatha’s 10 dark tunnels, the longest of which burrows for 1.6 miles. Importantly, its essential to know- there NO FACILITIES along this trail!

Family bikes of all types are available
Photo courtesy of Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area.

Special Events, Summer 2021

Lookout Pass transfers the easy way
Lookout Pass will open for the summer June 12 and offer lift-served downhill mountain biking, scenic chairlift rides up and down the mountain, lift-served hiking trails, a mountain summit nine-hole frisbee golf course, a bungee jump, and huckleberry picking later in the season.

Special events this summer include full-moon night rides and the Hiawatha Back to Nature Trail Run and, a half marathon. Also, the Mountain Archery Festival, a family-focused event for archers of all abilities. Finally, for more on events, bike trails and how to make the most of your family biking adventure in Idaho click here!

VIDEOS
www.ridethehiawatha.com/videos

ONLINE BROCHURE
www.RideTheHiawatha.com/Brochure