Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to ride the trail?
The Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes is a 72 mile flat, paved, smooth, rail trail with inclines at the extreme ends. The time taken to ride it is completely individual but at 15 miles an hour you are going to need six hours to do the Trail. Families usually ride it in segments while those doing centuries (100 miles) ride from Wallace to Harrison and back which gives them the bulk of the Trail.
Is there a better direction to ride?
With the exception of the extreme ends, the Trail is basically flat but riding from the eastern end toward Harrison has a very small advantage.
What is the best time of year to ride the Trail?
September. The summer crowd is gone the mornings are cool and afternoons are warm with a tinge of Fall in the air. Otherwise there is no real best time to ride the Trail and these days with swings in the environmental conditions it even more difficult to forecast. April/May can have some rain and July might have thunderstorms. In the northwest we celebrate our short summers and go prepared for any local weather event.
What type of bicycle should I use ?
Road bikes are best suited for this paved rail trail. If you want to use mountain bikes its best to remove your aggressive tread and put slicks on the wheels. Then you may use the bike to ride the Hiawatha by putting the tires back on. Hint: fold them up and put them in your pack. The Trail is the perfect place for recumbents and tricycles.
Can I use my road bike on the Hiawatha?
Unless you have a hybrid you probably don’t want to use your road bike on the compact dirt and gravel surface.
What do I need to bring on the ride?
Be smart carry a small pack with water because there is no potable water between towns. You also want to carry a shell so if it rains your not cold and wet. Carry power foods, have tools to change a flat, extra bike tubes and a pump. Make sure you can take your wheels off your bike otherwise put a wrench in your pack in case you need to change a flat. Cheap bikes lack disconnects.
I am worried about my ability. Should I be?
Usually cyclists have their butts go out before their legs. A big fluffy seat (saddle) is not always the answer. Make sure your seat is wishbone or has a channel for your tailbone. The wishbone design was originally made for women but men found its benefits. Make sure your bike is sized right. When you leg is extended in your peddle it ought to have a very small bend. If you seat is wrong adjust it and don’t ruin your knees and trip. Treat the trail like an elephant and chew it up a little at a time to build confidence. Most novices can do 10 or 20 miles.
What does it cost to ride the Trail?
Nothing. The trail is free. However, the Hiawatha does have a user fee.
Can I rent a bicycle to ride the trail?
Excelsior Cycle and Silver Mountain rent bikes in Kellogg. Lookout Pass rents mountain bikes for the Hiawatha too. Cycle Haus in Harrison rents bikes. Bring your helmet.
Are electric bicycles allowed on the Trail?
Class I and Class II Electric Bicycles as defined below are now permitted without restriction for use on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes. Class I Electric Bicycles, which provide motor assistance only while the rider is pedaling, with assistance ceasing once the bicycle reaches 20 mph. Class II Electric Bicycles, which provide motor assistance whether or not the ride is pedaling, with assistance ceasing once the bicycle reaches 20 mph. Class III Electric Bicycle restrictions remain in effect and their use on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes is prohibited.
Read the full press release here
I have very bad bike problems. Where do I go?
Excelsior Cycle in Kellogg is the most knowledgable. The Cycle Haus in Harrison might be able to assist. However, most places take care of flats.
Is there camping along the Trail?
No, for the most part. However, the Trail goes through Heyburn State Park with camping. The City of Harrison owns a small camping area next to the water with toilets and showers. In Medimount there are nice primitive camp sites on Rainy Hill just across from the boat ramp that has a toilet but there is no water at the site although a mile down the road is a small store. Pinehurst has a small campground just off the trail near I-90. Wallace has a great RV, cabin and tent campground next to the trail and the North Idaho Brew Pub. Mullan has a RV and Cabin campground in its downtown area. If you are headed to the Hiawatha you may camp anywhere in the National Forest but there is a developed campground along the little St. Joe River with toilets. If you are going to fish remember to buy a license.
Other than bicycling, what else can we do?
The area is loaded with opportunities. In Harrison you can kayak, fish and boat. Kellogg has a huge gondola that takes you up to the top of the ski hill for a bombing down hill ride or just a nice day on the mountain top If you stay at Silver Mountain resort it has a large waterpark there are restaurants and a new brew pub. Wallace is a historic 1890’s mining town with victorian homes. It is walking town with shops, restaurants and two brew pubs. Mullan is a quant town at the end of the Trail. The Bitterroots have hiking trails, high alpine lakes, tubing and fishing.
What is in Avery?
Avery is a small town located on the Wild and Scenic St. Joe River. Fly fishing is world class and it has a bed and breakfast in the old school house for people wanting to take the back way to the Hiawatha. Services are limited.
Are there shuttle services?
The Pines in Saint Maries shuttles users to the Trail and the Wallace Inn shuttles people that stay with them too. However, there is a new service that will shuttle both luggage and users from one end to the other of the Trail. Please check our site for more information.
Is there cell service on the Trail?
Cell service can be spotty along the Trail.
What is the best way to get to the Trail of the Coeur d’Alene from The North Idaho Centennial Trail?
The easy answer is there isn’t. They are not linked You might consider riding to Plumber along Hwy 95 which has a shoulder. Or you might go up and over the Fourth of July Pass. If you chose to do that route you will need to ride I-90 for 14 miles from Higgins Point which is at the most eastern end of the Centennial Trail. At Higgins just across from the statute of the photographer is a break in the fence for riders to access I-90. Go up and over the pass and get off at Exit 34 which is at the bottom of the otherside, then turn left over the bridge that crosses over I-90. Turn right onto E. Canyon Road. It is about 6 miles to the Cataldo Trailhead. Turn left to continue eastward.