Idaho August 15, 2017
What Was Once A Railroad Is Now One Of The Most Awe-Inspiring Hiking Trails In Idaho
Did you know that one of the most legendary hiking and biking trails is right here in Idaho? No joke, this trail is beyond epic. Boasting some of the most amazing scenery in the country, the Route of the Hiawatha contains 10 train tunnels, seven towering trestles, and 15 miles of the best hiking and biking that Idaho has to offer. This is definitely one of those hikes you just have to do while in Idaho.
Converted from what once was an old railroad line, the Hiawatha is considered to be one of the best rail-to-trail in the entire country. The typical starting point is accessed from Taft Exit 5 off of I-90 on the Idaho-Montana border. From there you will start the trail at what is considered the highlight of the trail, the famous Taft Tunnel, which is nearly a 2 mile long tunnel!
The Route of the Hiawatha trail is what used to be known as the Milkwaukee Railroad. Trains on this railroad pass traveled a route of 46 miles across the Bitterroot Mountains, in between Idaho and Montana.
The Taft Tunnel was opened up to trail-goers in 2001. Upon entering the tunnel, the flatness and the long, seemingly endless darkness feels intimidating. Bring a flashlight!
But the light at the end of the tunnel is truly worth the two miles of darkness and uncertainty. The view of the wilderness through the tunnel's opening is absolutely incredible.
For those not wanting to take on this illustrious tunnel, there is the option of driving up and over the tunnel via Forest Service Road 506 and parking at the Roland trailhead instead.
The many trestles along the trail provide picturesque panoramas of the surroundings. There really isn't a better way of experiencing the Idaho wilderness.
The Hiawatha is maintained and managed by Lookout Pass Ski Area. Helmets and lights are a requirement for bikers. Both bikers and hikers are also required to pay a $10 usage fee, a small price to pay for the thrilling experience you're about to enjoy!
The Hiawatha is a family-friendly trail and considered to be very safe. However, the heights are not for the faint of heart!
The lofty trestles make you feel like you're on top of the world.
Going through the many tunnels is a hair-raising experience, but one of the most fun parts of the whole trail!
The entirety of the trail is downhill, making for a very leisurely hike. A shuttle is offered to you at the bottom of the trail to take you back to the starting point. Or, you can double the amount of time on this incredible trail and hike/bike the way back! The gradient is very minimal and pretty easy for even beginning hikers.
The trail itself consists of a firm and fine gravel surface and well maintained throughout the year. If you choose to bike, mountain bike tires are recommended.
There are several points along the trail that are perfect for stopping to take in the magnificent scenery. Don't forget to pack snacks and refreshments so you can enjoy a nice picnic in one of the most beautiful places in Idaho!
If the pictures of these views are amazing, can you imagine what it's like seeing it with your own eyes?
This trail is a bucket list item for every Idahoan. The trail is available to hikers from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every single day.
The trail offers up many hidden treasures, such as beautiful hidden waterfalls and springs. Every inch of every mile is wonderfully mind-blowing!
The Route of the Hiawatha is an adventure of a lifetime There's no better way of immersing yourself in the beautiful Bitterroot wilderness. Don't forget your camera!
The Route of Hiawatha starting point is located near Wallace, Idaho. For specific directions on how to get there,
Have you traveled on the Route of the Hiawatha? Please share your experience with us! If not, do you plan on going soon?
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