May 28, 2009 in Outdoors

Route of Hiawatha Trail opens Saturday

Rail trail takes bikers through 10 tunnels
By The Spokesman-Review
Photos by Jesse Tinsley photo

Bicyclists exit the Taft Tunnel and emerge into the surrounding beauty of the national forest last month. The Taft Tunnel is the longest of several railroad tunnels along the Route of the Hiawatha. At left is a spring waterfall that will slow to a trickle in the fall.
(Full-size photo)

Route of the Hiawatha

Info: (208) 744-1301;

The Route of the Hiawatha rail trail is set to open for the season on Saturday, says Phil Edholm of Lookout Pass Ski Area.

The trail will be open daily through Oct. 4, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Lingering snow prevented a Memorial Day weekend opener for the popular 15-mile bike route that follows the old Milwaukee Railroad grade along the Montana-Idaho border near Lookout Pass.

The trail includes 10 tunnels plus seven trestles as high as 230 feet.

Lookout Pass Ski Area runs shuttles for cyclists who want to pedal the trail downhill and catch a ride back to the trailhead. Visitors also can rent bikes, helmets and headlamps – mandatory for negotiating the darkness of the 1.7-mile-long Taft Tunnel. Reservations are suggested.

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