Friday, August 12th, 2011 at 9:00 am
This portion of the Olympian Hiawatha route has been called one of the most breathtaking scenic stretches of railroad in the country. The “crown jewel” of rail-to-trail mountain bicycle trails is operated by Lookout Pass Ski Area which is located adjacent to I-90 at the Idaho/Montana state line, 12 miles east of historic Wallace, Idaho.
Winding through 10 tunnels and 7 high trestles, this 15-mile route crosses the rugged Bitterroot Mountains between Idaho and Montana. The Route of the Hiawatha is best known for the long, dark St. Paul Pass, or Taft Tunnel, which burrows for 1.66 miles under the Idaho/Montana state line.
The trail may be accessed from numerous different directions. From east or west off I-90, take the Taft Exit 5 in Montana (5 miles east from Lookout Pass). From the South through St. Maries and Avery, from the West through Wallace, or directly from the Lookout Pass parking lot. From Missoula go west to Taft Exit 5. Directions and maps are available at Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area, the Best Western/Wallace Inn in Wallace, Idaho, or Sheffy’s General Store in Avery, Idaho.
From Lookout Pass (location of Bike Rentals) or Missoula, Montana go to the Taft Exit #5 on I-90 and turn south at the bottom of the off ramp. You will then turn left at the stop sign, go over a small bridge, then just follow the signs south for 2.5 miles on Rainy Creek Road #506. This will take you to the East Portal of the St. Paul Pass, or “Taft” Tunnel. Alternatively, you can follow this road up and over Roland Pass going forward at the top of Roland Pass and down to the historic town site and trail head of Roland (7 miles from I-90) which is located just past the West Portal of the St. Paul Pass, or “Taft” Tunnel.
From Wallace, Idaho weave your way through town heading South out of the residential area (you can stop at the Wallace Inn/Best Western for maps or directions) to the Moon Pass Road #456. Stay on the main road over Moon Pass to Loop Creek and the Pearson Trail head (about 20 miles from Wallace).
From the East end of Avery, Idaho head North on Forest Service Road #456 for 9 miles to the Pearson Trail head.
- Hours: 8:30 am to 5 pm
- Season open: early June to October 2
- Fee: Day Pass: Adult $9
Child $6 (6-13 yrs) Children under 6 are Free
(All children must be accompanied by an adult)
Route of the Hiawatha
Submitted By: Ryan Workman