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Friends of the Coeur d'Alene Trails

September 2004 News

Riding from Lookout Pass to Mullan

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Idaho State Parks and Recreation Upon the recommendation of the Idaho State Parks and Recreation Board, the Federal Highway Administration approved our request for $20,925 to improve the old railroad grade between East Shoshone Park and Lookout Pass.
(See July 2004 News for initial press release, and August 2004 News for photos of the trail from Mullan to Lookout Pass.)

As indicated on a graph of trailhead elevations, this expansion will actually be a quality enhancement of a favorite "locals" ride. Currently, bicycle enthusiasts may self-shuttle themselves to Lookout Pass in order to drop 1600 feet to Mullan, where the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes begins. Or the physically fit may start in Mullan and climb the railbed (maximum 4% grade) to Lookout Pass. As shown in the photos below, once at Lookout Pass, the expert mountain biker may choose the more rigorous route that traverses the Montana border to Mullan Pass and then drops 1900 feet to Mullan.

The photos were taken during last October's Climb the Mountain with Jon Cancer Benefit Ride. A detailed description of this spectacular 1600 foot climb with mileage markers may be found as part of Connecting the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes to the Route of the Hiawatha. The route was measured as 11.7 miles long when Shoshone Park and the Fish Hatchery were included; the newspaper article quoted in the July 2004 News estimated that the more direct route using Mullan Pass Road to bypass Shoshone Park makes the trail extension 9 miles long.

The grant will improve the compact dirt and gravel riding surface where necessary, add solar self-composting restrooms to match the ones on the Trail, and add picnic tables at view spots and informational signs at historical railroad and mining locations. An update on our progress will be part of the October 2004 News.

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click to enlarge this photo by Ed Renkey
Trail #7 begins climbing near the north end of the Exit 0 overpass (on the left in the photo to the right).
click to enlarge this photo by Ed Renkey
Copper Lake basin in the Bitterroot Mountains may be seen beyond Exit 0 on the Montana border.
click to enlarge this photo by Ed Renkey
Far above I-90, one can see part of the rigorous 1900' drop to Mullan via Mullan Pass Road and the (roadless) pass to the Glidden Lakes in the distance.
click to enlarge this photo by Ed 
The easiest way to enjoy this scenery, however, would be to start in the Lookout Pass Ski Area parking lot and follow the railbed to Mullan, 1600 feet below.
click to enlarge this photo by Ed Renkey
The most challenging part of the rigorous route back to Mullan is getting from Lookout Pass to Mullan Pass... watch for rocks!
click to enlarge this photo by Ed Renkey
The easy way down to Mullan follows the multi-use railbed, which is the focus of the Friends $21K trail enhancement grant.
click to enlarge this photo by Ed Renkey
The rigorous roller coaster ride through the cedar forest to Mullan Pass is definitely NOT for the faint-of-heart or ill-equipped biker! Experts will love it, however.
click to enlarge this photo by Ed Renkey
Once you reach Mullan Pass Road, it is all downhill to Mullan... 1900 vertical feet in 8.5 miles means an average grade of 4.2%... in some spots, it is twice that!
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Route of the Hiawatha
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Old Milwaukee Road
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