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Idaho's Route of the Hiawatha scenic bike trail opens Memorial Day Weekend

The trail will be open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Sept. 19.
Credit: Tony Harrison
The scenic Route of the Hiawatha winds through the rugged Bitterroot Mountains in the St. Joe Ranger District of the Idaho Panhandle National Forests along an abandoned section of the Milwaukee Railroad, traversing seven sky-high steel train trestles and delving 10 tunnels. (Photo courtesy of Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area)

MULLAN, Idaho — The Route of the Hiawatha scenic bike trail will open Memorial Day Weekend.

The trail will be open Friday, May 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Sept. 19. 

The downhill trail straddles the Idaho-Montana state line for 15 miles. Riders will roll through ten dark tunnels and cross seven elevated steel train trestles.

In a press release, Lookout Pass marketing director Matt Sawyer advised visitors to make reservations, especially if they are renting equipment. 

Lookout Pass offers rental bikes for adults and kids. There are also a few tandem bikes available to be rented. There are also powerful 300-400 lumen handlebar-mounted bike lights, as lights are necessary for riding through the Route of the Hiawatha's tunnels, the longest of which is 1.6 miles.

Guests can arrange for their rental bikes to be delivered to the Route of the Hiawatha trailhead for a small fee, or they can self-shuttle rental bikes from the base of operations at Lookout Pass Ski Area, which is seven miles from the trailhead. The resort provides hitch-mounted bike racks or strap-on racks at no additional charge to those who rent bikes .

"It's also by far the most popular ski area bike trail in the country, attracting more than 70,000 riders last summer," Sawyer said. 

In addition to the bike trail, Lookout Pass will also open this summer on June 12. The recreation area offers a scenic chairlift rides up and down the mountain, lift-served hiking trails, a mountain summit nine-hole frisbee golf course, a bungee jump, and huckleberry picking later in the season.

There are multiple events scheduled at Lookout Pass this summer. 

There will be three full-moon night rides on the bike trail on June 24, July 24, and Aug. 22. The Hiawatha Back to Nature Trail Run, a half marathon at around 25K, with a 15K and 4-mile trail run will be held the morning of June 13.

Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area is a 55-minute drive east from Coeur d'Alene on I-90 at Exit 0. The ski area and its summer operations are only 200 yards off the highway, and the Route of the Hiawatha trailhead is a 5-mile ride down I-90 to exit 5 and then two miles up a dirt road to the East Portal trailhead.

For a list of full events, rentals and reservations, visit the Lookout Pass website.