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Friends of the Coeur d'Alene Trails

Frequently Asked Questions

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Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
  1. How long does it take to ride the Trail?
  2. What is the best direction to ride the Trail?
  3. What is the best way to ride between the North Idaho Centennial Trail and the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes?
  4. We want to ride the Trail, but what else is there to do in the area?
  5. What is the best time to ride the Trail?
  6. Is there camping along the Trail?
  7. What does it cost to ride the Trail?
  8. Do I need to bring water when riding the Trail?
  9. Is there cell phone service along the Trail?
  10. Are there shuttle services available for the Trail?
  11. Where may I rent bicycles for the Trail?
  12. May I take my dog with me on the Trail?
  13. Are electric bicycles allowed on the Trail?
  14. Where may I find food and lodging along the Trail?
  15. I get an "unknown file type" error when I try to open the Google Earth tours on the site; what is wrong?
  16. Are these trails open for snow shoeing, cross-country skiing, or hiking during winter months?
Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
  How long does it take to ride the Trail?

That depends on who you are and your goals for the ride. The hard-core road bike crowd will do the 72 miles in 3 to 8 hours depending on weather and ambition. A family traveling together will want to spend 3 or more days exploring the scenic terrain, with frequent stops in the small towns found along the way. If you are planning to ride the 185 mile loop that includes travel along the Saint Joe River, you will want to give yourself five days for the adventure. Other multiday tours can also be planned that cross the Idaho Panhandle from Taft, Montana, to Spokane, Washington. This four day 160 mile route is almost all downhill or flat and combines the Hiawatha, NorPac, Coeur d'Alene and Centennial Trails.

Most of the commercial touring outfits start in Harrison. First day is an out-and-back ride to Plummer. Second day is a ride to Kellogg with sag transport of luggage. Third day is an out-and-back ride to Mullan. If you do not have sag support, then you could do two out-and-back rides from Harrison: one to Plummer and one to Medimont. Then drive to Kellogg or Wallace and do two more out-and-back rides: one to Medimont and one to Mullan. You will then have ridden the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes twice. Our sponsers page lists places to stay.

 
  What is the best direction to ride the Trail?

From the standpoint of reducing physical labor and maximizing historical insight, riding downhill following the path of the ore cars from Mullan to Harrison makes the most sense. This is why the Photo Trail was constructed the way it was. However, those planning to do the "up and back" 144 mile circuit, should start/finish in Plummer and spend the night in Wallace or Kellogg. As may be seen from our sponsors page, both towns have a lot to offer in the evening. For lodging, we suggest contacting the Wallace Inn (208-752-1252) or the Morning Star Lodge in Kellogg (866-345-2675), both members and located close to the Trail. Likewise, if the 185 mile loop is being contemplated, Plummer would be the logical start and finish point. A trip to the the Coeur d'Alene Casino in Worley might be final night's activity, before departing from the Spokane airport on the following day.

 
  What is the best way to ride between the North Idaho Centennial Trail and the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes ?

You will need to ride on I-90 for about 14 miles to get from the North Idaho Centennial Trail to the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, or vice/versa. You will ride over Fourth of July Pass. It is about a 6% grade up and down over Fourth of July Pass.

If you are riding East, get on I-90 at Higgens Point, the eastern most trailhead of the North Idaho Centennial Trail. There is a break in the fence opposite the photographer statue that makes it possible to get onto Interstate 90. Get off at Exit 34, then turn left onto the bridge which crosses over I-90. Turn right onto E Canyon Road. It is about 6 miles to the Cataldo trailhead of the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes. Turn left onto the trail to continue east.

If you are riding west, get off of the Trail at Cataldo and ride west on East Canyon Road about 7 miles. Ride past the I-90 exit and continue on the road until you get to the truck weigh station area. You can get onto I-90 there. Get off just before mile marker 20. You will see a path off to your right that takes you down to a gravel road that runs under I-90. This will take you to the Higgens Point trailhead of the North Idaho Centennial Trail.

 
We want to ride the Trail, but what else is there to do in the area?

There are many fun things to do along the Trail that don't involve bicycles. For example, the little town of Harrison on Lake Coeur d'Alene offers the opportunity for kayaking and boating. The LakeView Lodge overlooks the Trail and the Marina, and is close to a host of interesting Harrison shops listed on our sponsors page. For history buffs, historic Wallace cannot be beat. The Railroad Depot Museum is just a few yards away from the Trail, but the town of 960 also has two other museums, a mine tour and a Melodrama during the summer. Wallace is also a good jumping off place for hikers and backpackers; eleven nearby alpine lakes and many rivers and streams provide opportunities for fishing and photography. One of our members operates The Mistress of Wallace, a vacation home that might be ideal as a base of operations for a party of up to a dozen explorers.

 
  What is the best time to ride the Trail?

September. The summer crowd is gone and the weather is usually still nice, with less rain than earlier in the summer. The table shows the monthly temperature averages and extremes for Kellogg at the heart of the Silver Valley. Average monthly precipitation is also shown on the table. If you click on the table, a window at weather.com where this table is found will open. A graphical presentation is a tabbed option. Corresponding data for other points along the Trail and elsewhere may be seen by substituting the following location codes in the weather.com URL for the Kellogg climatology page. The {numbers} are the yearly precipitation totals in inches calculated from these monthly tables.

  • Kellogg = USID0129 {32.77"}
  • Coeur d'Alene = USID0048 {26.06"}
  • Harrison = USID0107 {26.07"}
  • Wallace = USID0267 {39.22"}
  • Mullan = USID0174 {39.22"}
  • Avery = USID0013 {37.54"}
  • Plummer = USID0203 {30.63"}

 
  Is there camping along the Trail?

No, for the most part. However, the Trail runs through Heyburn State Park on Lake Coeur d'Alene where there is camping. In Harrison, there is a small camping area next to the water, near the City Park where there are restrooms. A few miles upriver from Enaville is the Country Lane Resort by the River, one of our sponsors. The resort has a restaurant, B&B, RV park, camping, and a lounge; their phone is 208-682-2698. Another sponsor, the Blue Anchor RV Park/Campground in Osburn (208-752-3443) has shade and actually prefers tent campers over RV'ers. Something about bikers being better behaved. In Wallace there is an RV park that is also tent friendly and within a block of downtown, where you WILL want to hang out to catch the night life in the Silver Capital of the World.

 
  What does it cost to ride the Trail?

NOTHING! You get very few free rides in life - this is one of them. However, be aware that the Route of the Hiawatha requires a $10 Day Use Fee for people over 13. The fee is $6 for those between 3 and 13. The optional shuttle from the lower trailhead, Pearson, back up to the West Portal of the Taft Tunnel is an additional $9 for adults and $6 for kids.

 
  Do I need to bring water when riding the Trail?

YES! This need is most extreme between Cataldo to Harrison, the Chain Lakes region, where there is incredible scenic beauty, lots of wildlife, but no habitation and NO potable water... in spite of the fact that you are surrounded by lakes. Remember why this Trail came into existence in the first place: remediation of mine ore/waste contamination along the railroad bed. Although this may not always be the case, there is still too much lead in these lakes for it to be potable. Boiling works well to kill bacteria; it only concentrates the lead.

On the rest of the Trail, you should be aware that while there is no potable water at any Trailhead, once you are in the Silver Valley, there are plenty of "bike friendly" businesses in the small towns along the way that will be more than willing to fill your water bottle(s). Naturally, one of those businesses is Silver Mountain Resort, which also offers DOWNHILL mountain bike thrills.

 
  Is there cell phone service along the Trail?

Verizon and AT&T have the best wireless coverage... however, neither carrier shows coverage from Cataldo to Springston (check their coverage maps). Where they do show service, you can expect to see local dead spots. Therefore, when you travel the Chain Lakes segment, besides water, someone in your party should also be carrying a first aid kit and a bicycle repair kit.

 
  Are there shuttle services available for the Trail?

Not yet, but we are working on it. Five summers ago, Pedal Pushers Bike Shop in Harrison, , bought a little bus for this purpose, but found logistics and costs to be prohibitive. However, they are eager to please, and have a variety of ideas to help you plan your trip based out of Harrison. Given sufficient notice, you may be able to pick up a driver in Harrison who can then drop you off at your desired trailhead and return your car to town. A more expensive option would involve having them deliver your vehicle to the appropriate trailhead as you ride from Harrison. Call them at 208-689-3436 to discuss other possibilities.

    There is a new FREE Silver Express Bus service that runs from Kingston to Mullan 3 times every weekday. The comfortable eight seat van operates from 8:00 AM to 5:27 PM, making 33 stops in each direction. There is a bike rack on front with cargo space for extra bikes or luggage. For more information, download the schedule above, or call them at 1-855-495-7325.

If you will spend at least one night at either the Wallace Inn in Wallace or the Pines Motel (208-245-2545) in St. Maries, they would be delighted to pick you up at the Spokane airport and then cater to your biking itinerary. You should inquire about the cost of the shuttles provided by these motels. If you stay in historic Wallace, you may ride out of town in five directions. If you stay in St. Maries, you have access to the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes at Hayburn State Park or the Old Milwaukee Road Multi-use Trail along the Saint Joe River.

 
  Where may I rent bicycles for the Trail?

We have two full service bike shops who are members of the Friends. Both Pedal Pushers in Harrison (208-689-3436), and Excelsior Cycle in Kellogg (208-786-3751) are close to the Trail and carry a wide variety of bikes, including recumbents and tandems. Both shops are very accomplished at repairing all types of bicycles.

 
      May I take my dog with me on the Trail?

Well behaved dogs are welcome if they are on a leash. If your dog doesn't handle strangers well, make sure that you maintain control when others approach. In populated areas, such as Wallace, "doggie bag" dispensers are provided for your convenience in removing your pet's donations from the environment. It is hoped that dog owners will be equally considerate everywhere on the Trail.

Dogs are not permitted on the Route of the Hiawatha.

When traveling on the dirt roads between Pearson and Saint Maries (the Old Milwaukee railbed), use common sense and knowledge of your dog when approaching habitation. A word of caution: locals shoot dogs that chase game... even their own dogs! Hunting puts food on the table for many families in this area.

 
  Are electric bicycles allowed on the Trail?
Only if you are handicapped and have obtained a permit.

The original Trail Commission policy on motorized vehicle use on the Trail was stipulated as follows.

    Prohibited or Limited Activities
  • Motorized Vehicles
      Except for
    1. motorized wheelchairs used by the handicapped,
    2. official vehicles used or authorized by Federal, State, Tribal and/or local governments,
    3. other motorized vehicles using direct crossings or parking lots, and
    4. snowmobiles in the designated groomed portion of the Trail between Wallace and Mullan,
    motorized vehicles are prohibited on the Trail Right-of-Way.

     However, at their October 8, 2013, meeting, the Trail Commission amended the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes General Management Principles and Operating Guidelines (GMPOG) to comply with laws and policies regarding Trail use by the mobility disabled who require more than a wheelchair to travel. The 16 pages of Amendments to the GMPOG, dealing with Other Power Driven Mobility Devices (OPDMD's), establishes rules governing the expansion of options for the mobility disabled.

OPDMD Permits are issued at the Old Mission State Park, Heyburn State Park and the Coeur d'Alene Tribal Headquarters. They can be issued for up to 1 year of use.

 
  Where may I find food and lodging along the Trail?

On the map/brochure that we will send to you for FREE, but you have to ask for it. Our sponsors page is another good place to look.

 
  May I copy and use the photos/maps found on this website?

Absolutely! But please give Ed Renkey credit if you use one of his pictures, and the Friends of the Coeur d'Alene Trails credit if you use information or maps from our website to make your vacation planning easier or your presentation better. If appropriate, a link from your website to ours would be appreciated. Better still, become a member and be a part of our team as we develop further resources!

 
  I get an "unknown file type" error when I try to open the Google Earth tours on the site; what is wrong?

First make sure that Google Earth is installed on the computer you are using. If it is not, then you must either a) install the program using the download buttons provided, or b) ask your system administrator to grant you access to the program somewhere on the network. By default, clicking on the link will open a dialog box that asks if you want to "open" or "save" the identified KMZ (or KML) file stored at friendsofcdatrails.org. If trying to "open" the desired file gives an error, but you believe that Google Earth is indeed available to you, then "save" the desired file to a personal directory. Use your file manager (e.g., Windows Explorer) to associate this file (and all others with the same extension) with the accessible Google Earth program (i.e, use the "open with" command).

 
  Are these trails open for snow shoeing, cross-country skiing, or hiking during winter months?

The Route of the Hiawatha is not accessible in the winter. The Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes does not close. Some of it is plowed and some of it is groomed for cross country skiers. Be aware that snowmobilers are allowed on the section of the Trail between Wallace and Mullan during the winter when there are at least 3 inches of packed (groomed) snow. Both mountain towns allow and encourage snowmobile traffic on their streets, and since there is no other direct route between them (other than the Interstate), it was decided to make this six mile section multi-use under appropriate conditions. Snowmobile traffic between the towns is normally light and business oriented, and local riders are prepared to encounter slow moving travelers such as snowshoers and moose.
Current trail conditions can be obtained from the trail managers:
Old Mission State Park 208-682-3814
Coeur d'Alene Tribe 208-686-7045

click to see the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
click to see the Route of the Hiawatha
Route of the Hiawatha
click to see the Old Milwaukee Road
Old Milwaukee Road
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©2003-2016, Friends of the Coeur d'Alene Trails
Webworks by Greg Marsh
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last update on Monday, 08-Jun-2015 10:50:58 PDT
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