We wound through ten tunnels and over seven steel trestles ,up to 230 feet high, that gave us a bird's eye view of the treetops below. The tunnel that started our journey, the St. Paul Pass or "Taft" Tunnel, burrowed for 1.6 miles under the Idaho/Montana state line. This is an absolutely pitch black, cavernous tunnel and lights on your bicycles are a must!
The railroad was carved into the Bitterroot Mountains by the "Milwaukee Railroad." The construction of this Pacific extension of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad took thousands of workers and was completed in record time in 1911.
Along the trail there are numerous interpretive signs to read that provide information about the rich mining and railroad history. The sharp eyed adventurer will find all types of flora and fauna to photograph.
Things to consider:
- Usually opens on Memorial Day weekend
- Usually open through Ocober 5th from 8:30 AM to 6 PM PDT
- Day Use Pass required: $9 for 13 & over $5 for those between 3 - 13
- Children under 3 are free
- All children under 14 years of age must be accompanied by an adult
- Shuttle Bus available between Roland and Pearson Trailheads, charge of $9 ($6 ages3-13)
- More information on many trails available from http://www.friendsofcdatrails.org/
- More information on "The Hiawatha" at http://www.visitidaho.org/
- Located adjacent to I-90 at the Idaho/Montana state line 12 miles East of Wallace, ID
- Ample parking at the East Portal (which is in Montana)
- Helmets & proper lighting equipment are required for bikers
- Dogs are not allowed
- Make sure to take food, water, lightweight jacket (it is cold in the tunnels), extra lights, rain gear, and a bicycle repair kit
- There are restroom facilities in several locations along the trail
- Bicycles, helmets and lights can be rented at Lookout Pass Ski area on the Idaho border www.skilookout.com/hiawatha
- Fees go toward maintaining the trail, part of the "Rails to Trails" program
- Contact the U.S. Forest Service for additional information 208-245-4517