Bike the Historic Route of Hiawatha
By OutdoorAly

Posted: August 17, 2014

Located just off I-90 on the Idaho Montana border, the Route of the Hiawatha Rail-Trail is a scenic section of abandoned rail-bed from the Milwaukee Road that the Taft Tunnel Preservation Society, a grassroots Wallace non-profit organization, and the U.S. Forest Service turned into a world class non-motorized trail.

Lookout Pass Ski Area operates the Route of the Hiawatha. Helmets lights and a pass are required to bike the Hiawatha, all of which can be purchased and rented at Lookout Pass Ski Area located adjacent to I-90 at the Idaho-Montana state line at Exit 0, 12 miles east of historic Wallace, ID.

It was called one of the most scenic stretches of railroad in the country. When the Milwaukee Railroad was operating, the trains traversed through 11 tunnels and over 9 high trestles, covering a 46 mile route that crossed the rugged Bitterroot Mountains between Idaho and Montana.


The “Route of the Hiawatha” is most famous for the long St. Paul Pass, or Taft Tunnel which burrows for 8771 ft. (1.66 miles) under the Bitterroot Mountains at the state line.


In May, 1998 the first 13 miles of the trail were opened to the public for hikers and wilderness biking. This stretch of the trail between Roland and Pearson currently goes through 8 open tunnels and travels over 7 high trestles following the mountainous terrain along the Loop Creek drainage.

This historic railroad route now provides a fun and scenic trail for cyclist and hikers to explore! Plan on the route taking a full day, and pack food and water for the ride. There is a shuttle available as well, which is probably the best option for first-time riders.

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