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Ten train tunnels (one is 1.66 miles long) and seven very tall trestles. A light and fee are required.


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Map Key

15.1

Miles

24.3

KM

Point to Point

5,026' 1,532 m

High

3,172' 967 m

Low

1,269' 387 m

Up

2,260' 689 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (3°)

29%

Max Grade (16°)

Dogs Unknown

Parts of the trail and some tunnel access are closed in winter. Memorial weekend is the official opening date each year. You must have a light and a ticket to enter either end of the trail. (It seems to be a free-for-all if you park anywhere other than the two trailheads).

Description

The Hiawatha Bike and Hike Trail is public property. It is on U. S. National Forest land administered by the St. Joe Ranger District of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. Like a ski mountain, it is operated by Lookout Pass Ski Area under a special use permit. There are "ski patrol" on the trail to help with breakdowns or injuries.

The official "Route of the Hiawatha Trail" is 15.1 miles, running from the East Portal, MT to Pearson, ID. (There is a lot of good hiking out each end as well). There are 9 of 10 train tunnels and 7 of 8 trestles on this trail that are still accessible. (One tunnel is unstable and closed. One trestle burned and is gone).

The longest tunnel is the St. Paul Pass Tunnel (Taft Tunnel or East Portal) at 1.66 miles. It is all downhill when starting at the East Portal. The trail itself used to be part of the railroad grade, so the way is well-maintained, and you won't come across too many obstacles. The Route of the Hiawatha is one of only 15 trails to be named a "Hall of Fame" trail by the Rail-to-Trail Conservancy.

You can get your trail passes and bus tickets at the trailheads (bring cash) or get them at Lookout Pass Ski Area just off I-90 at the state line. They also rent bikes at the ski lodge. Phone: 208-744-1234. There's also a shuttle bus service for an additional fee from Pearson, ID to the East Portal, MT.

From the bottom of the trail, there are a series of Forest Service roads which are pleasant and generally unchallenging if you're looking to explore more of the area.

Contacts

Shared By:

Joseph States

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 6 votes

#1

in East Portal

#7926

Overall
  4.5 from 6 votes
5 Star
67%
4 Star
17%
3 Star
17%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#1

in East Portal

#200

in Montana

#7,926

Overall
2 Views Last Month
1,091 Since Apr 26, 2017
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate

50%
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25%
0%
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Photos

The whole route is surrounded by a beautiful forest.
Apr 26, 2017 near Wallace, ID
Bicyclists stop to admire the awesome views from high on Small Creek Trestle, a 120 foot high, 515 foot long, trestle along The Hiawatha Trail.
Jun 19, 2024 near Wallace, ID
It's a long way down if you look over the side of the trestle.
Apr 26, 2017 near Wallace, ID
Bitterroot Mountains, from near the West Portal of the first tunnel along The Hiawatha Trail.
Jun 19, 2024 near Wallace, ID
Bitterroot Mountains from Small Creek Trestle along The Hiawatha Trail. This trestle is 120 feet high with solid wire fencing for safety.
Jun 19, 2024 near Wallace, ID
Tunnel ahead, one of several tunnels along The Hiawatha Trail, an old railroad route.
Jun 19, 2024 near Wallace, ID

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Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 25 days ago
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Jun 11, 2024
Joan Pendleton
Jul 16, 2018
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15.1mi
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