Attractions August 01, 2017
This Amazing Hiking Trail In Idaho Takes You Through An Abandoned Train Tunnel
The best part about living in Idaho is finding the hidden treasures tucked away far from the public eye. You know what I’m talking about, the places that guidebooks don’t tell you about. This hiking trail is exactly that. This laid back hike is the perfect day trip for the whole family. Not only are you surrounded by breathtaking vistas for the entirety of the hike, but the ultimate payoff is getting to hike through a historic and abandoned railroad tunnel. This hike is like something out of a dream, and absolutely must be experienced. Check it out.
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To get to the trail, take U.S. Route 20 through Ashton, Idaho and then continue onto the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway. Continue on until you reach the Bear Gulch trailhead. It's fairly easy to recognize with a substantial parking lot, picnic areas, and restrooms.
The trail is marked as 001 and stretches for more than 40 miles. One end is located near the Idaho and Montana border and eventually leads to Warm River campground. The trail alternates between loose, sandy rocks to tightly packed gravel. It's great for hiking, biking, or ATV's, but isn't recommended to traverse after a particularly rainy day.
What makes this trail a favorite for locals is the variety of panoramic views it offers. As you travel along the trail you will be guided through forests, vast meadows, and across bridges over numerous creeks and rivers. The scenery is simply incredible. It really doesn't get any better than this!
One of the most exciting segments is along the lower section of the trail. You'll get an amazing view of the Upper and Lower Mesa Falls, which is quite simply one of the most fantastic waterfalls that Idaho has to offer!
Another thing that makes this trail unique is its history. The trail used to be the bed of a Union Pacific Railroad Line, taking people from Idaho to West Yellowstone, Montana. It also is considered to be part of the Great Western Trail, which is a trail system stretching over 4,455 miles from Mexico to Canada and going through Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana.
Hiking this trail offers a different experience every time since you can easily change up your starting and end points. Mountain bikers may feel like challenging themselves to accomplish the whole trail in one day. Hikers can easily customize their route to suit whatever length of hike they feel like. Along the trail are several campgrounds situated in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, so you can even make it an overnighter if you wish!
Passing through the abandoned tunnel is the thrilling payoff to this scenic hike. It's crazy to think just how many people have passed through this tunnel, on foot or by train, over the years. And yet the tunnel still stands. Rickety, old, and forgotten. But still there.
This hidden trail truly encapsulates everything that Idahoans love about Idaho. The magnificent views. The solitude. The history. This is one of those grand hikes that you will never forget!
Have you hiked the Railroad Right-of-Way Trail? What are some other hidden hikes that you love? If you’re looking for more incredible hiking trails then don’t forget to check out our article,
9 Hiking Trails In Idaho That Are Completely Out Of This World!