Route of the Hiawatha


It's been called one of the most scenic stretches of railroad in the country. Winding through nine tunnels and over seven high steel trestles, the 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 state line. The tunnel, which had been closed for repairs, reopened for use by mountain bikers, hikers, and wheelchair users the end of May 2001.

The first 13 miles of the route were opened to the public on May 29, 1998. When finished, a bicyclist will be able to ride the Route of the Hiawatha between St. Regis, Montana and Pearson, Idaho. Once again, people will be able to travel the Milwaukee Road over the Bitterroot Mountains, soaking up the rich history and enjoying the breathtaking scenery.  MORE INFORMATION...

Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area, in partnership with the US Forest Service, manages this trail through a permit.  For information on operational hours, trail tickets, shuttles, bike rentals and general questions about the trail please visit: www.ridethehiawatha.com

Sign on Hiawatha Trail displaying restrictions on motorized vehicles Photo of a bike with a waterfall in the background. Photo of a biker emerging from a tunnel Photo of a bike and a vista that includes Shefoot Mountain in the distance. Photo showing one of the 7 trestles on the trail.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: High elevation site, access depends on snow. St. Joe Ranger District 208-245-2531
Operational Hours: You can ride or hike the trail any time between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. from its' opening date (generally Memorial Day weekend) to its closing date (usually the first weekend in October). Please visit www.ridethehiawatha.com for information on the trail status and open dates for the year. 
Rentals & Guides: Bicycles and equipment are available for rent, contact Lookout Pass Ski Area  at (208) 744-1301
Area Amenities: Interpretive Site,Accessible,Fee charged for some activities,Picnic tables,Toilets,Parking
Fees: Tickets are required for using the trail.  Please visit www.ridethehiawatha.com for ticket, reservation and fee information or call (208) 744-1301.
Open Season: Late May - Late Sept.
Usage: Heavy
Best Season: July, August, September
Closest Towns: Wallace, Idaho; St. Regis, Montana
Operated By: Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area (208) 744-1301 www.skilookout.com

General Information

Directions:

The Hiawatha Rail-Trail can be accessed via Wallace or St. Maries, Idaho or from Montana via the Taft exit off of Interstate 90.


Taft, Montana Exit:
Map to Hiawatha trail via Taft, Montana exitTake Interstate 90 Exit 5 in Montana (Taft exit) and go south on Forest Road 506 (Rainy Creek Road). Follow Forest Road 506 for about 2 miles to the East Portal Tralhead of the St. Paul Pass Tunnel. For those who do not want to ride through the 1.8 mile tunnel go approximately 2.5 miles further on FR 506 over Roland Pass to the Roland Trailhead


Through Wallace, Idaho:
Map to Hiawatha trail via Wallace, Idaho
Driving from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho take Exit 61 off I-90 and follow the I-90 Business Loop to the Bank St. intersection. Turn right and follow King St. through town. King Street will turn into Forest Road 456. Follow Forest Road 456 20 miles to the trailhead at Pearson, just past Forest Road 326.

Driving from Montana take Exit 62 off I-90 and follow the I-90 Business Loop (Bank Street) through town. Continue straight through the intersection at Second St. The road will turn south into King Street. King Street will turn into Forest Road 456. Follow Forest Road 456 20 miles to the trailhead at Pearson, just past Forest Road 326.


Through St. Maries, Idaho:
Map to Hiawatha trail via St. Maries, IdahoDriving from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho go east on I-90 to the Rose Lake (State Highway 3) exit. Follow State Highway 3 to Forest Highway 50 (just north of St. Maries). Follow Forest Highway 50 47 miles to Forest Road 456 (just past Avery, Idaho). Turn north on Forest Road 456 and follow it about 9 miles to the trailhead at Pearson.

Driving from Plummer, Idaho follow State Highway 5 through St. Maries to State Highway 3. Turn north on State Highway 3 for a very short distance to Forest Highway 50. Follow Forest Highway 50 47 miles to Forest Road 456 (just past Avery, Idaho). Turn north on Forest Road 456 and follow it about 9 miles to the trailhead at Pearson.


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Mountain Biking

This unique and scenic trail winds 13 miles through tunnels (including the 1.8 mile Taft tunnel underneath the Idaho/Montana border) and over high steel trestles. The great scenery is matched by fascinating history laid out for riders on displays along the route. This is a world-class recreation opportunity that should not be missed when you visit the Coeur d'Alene River or St. Joe River areas.
Difficulty Level: Easy

Viewing Scenery

This unique and scenic trail winds 13 miles through tunnels (including the 1.8 mile Taft tunnel underneath the Idaho/Montana border) and over high steel trestles. The great scenery is matched by fascinating history laid out for riders on displays along the route. This is a world-class recreation opportunity that should not be missed when you visit the Coeur d'Alene River or St. Joe River areas.
Difficulty Level: Easy

Amenities

Interpretive Site:
Picnic tables:
Fee charged for some activities:
Toilets:
Parking:
Accessible:

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Area/Length : 
13 miles

  Latitude : 
47.39619722

  Longitude : 
-115.635635