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Route of the Hiawatha Rail-Trail

Average Rating:    (4 of 5)

No. of Reviews: 1

The Route of the Hiawatha Rail-Trail

It’s been called one of the most scenic stretches of railroad in the country, and now, the historic converted Milwaukee Road rail bed is one of the most spectacular biking and hiking trails in the world. Visitors can witness rushing mountain streams, deer, elk, moose and an endless vista of the towering Bitterroot Mountains.

The 15 mile trail winds through 10 tunnels and over 7 trestles in the rugged bitterroot mountains on the Idaho/Montana border. The route is best known for the long, dark St. Paul or “Taft Tunnel” that burrows for 1.7 miles under the state line. The best part is – it’s all downhill at a mild 2% grade and provides a shuttle service back to the top. When finished, the Route of the Hiawatha trail will extend approximately 46 miles and allow a bicyclist or hiker to ride or walk the Route between St. Regis, Montana and Pearson, Idaho.

The incredible history of the construction of this line was followed by the unprecedented electrification of several long stretches of the main line, forming the longest electrified mainline railroad in the world.

The conversion of this historic rail line to the Route of the Hiawatha has witnessed the cooperation between hundreds of volunteers and organizations who have donated funding, labor materials and equipment, the Taft Tunnel Preservation Society and the U.S. Forest Service. There is a colorful history of the railroad, forest fires, mining and the early Forest Service and there are signs along the trail that share that history.

The Route of the Hiawatha is operated by the same company that runs the Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area, on the Idaho/Montana border – right off I-90. Helmets and lights are required, as are trail tickets, and both rentals of equipment (including bikes) and tickets are available at the Lookout Pass Ski area lodge. For more information please visit the website: www.ridethehiawatha.com or call (208) 744-1301.
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Reviews 1 - 1 (1 Reviews Total)

Review Date
May 17, 2007

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 1 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 1 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a year

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Reviewed by: Wayndar ,  Weekend Warrior

This is a fun family bike ride. We've ridden it every fall for several years. Its a long rail to trail route with beautiful views from the trestle bridges and LONG DARK tunnels. Bring lots of lights or wait to ride through with several other people. You can get disoriented and hurt in the tunnels without proper lighting. There are lots of interesting signs along the way and it really is well done. This is not singletrack, but a nice smooth gravel road.

Recommended Route:
I think our preferred route is to start at the bottom and ride up, then turn around whenever we want

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Reviews 1 - 1 (1 Reviews Total)

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