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Route of the Hiawatha
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This portion of the Olympian Hiawatha route has been called one of the most breathtaking scenic stretches of railroad in the country. The "crown jewel" of rail-to-trail mountain bicycle trails is operated by Lookout Pass Ski Area which is located adjacent to Hiawatha TunnelI-90 at the Idaho/Montana state line, 12 miles east of historic Wallace, Idaho. The Hiawatha Trail is generally open late May through early October. This year the trail is open daily starting May 26 thru September 30, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PDT.

Winding through 10 tunnels and 7 high trestles, this 15-mile route crosses the rugged Bitterroot Mountains between Idaho and Montana. The Route of the Hiawatha is best known for the long, dark St. Paul Pass, or Taft Tunnel, which burrows for 1.66 miles under the Idaho/Montana state line.

With an incredible history beginning in 1906 of construction, hardships and calamities, unprecedented electrification, and of carrying passengers and freight from the Northwest to the Midwest, generations of railroaders kept the Milwaukee Road running until it finally went bankrupt in 1977. The last train west of Butte, Montana passed through in 1980. After that the line was abandoned.

With government funding and private donations, the rails were removed, and the construction of this spectacular wilderness bicycle and hiking trail was undertaken in 1997. The Idaho portion of the trail first opened for public use on May 29, 1998. The St. Paul Pass, or Taft Tunnel, was completed in May of 2001, and is now open for bike riding.
We have placed several kid friendly PDF links of our Logo and different animals to color that you might find on the trail. Just download them and color away :-). Hiawatha Tunnel Kids can hoot and shout as they go through the tunnels.

Hiawatha Logo PDF file size 1.58 MB

Deer PDF file size 64 KB

Deer with Scenery PDF file size 103 KB

Bear PDF file size 58 KB

Squirrel PDF file size 42 KB

Winding through 10 tunnels and 7 high trestles, this 15-mile route crosses the rugged Bitterroot Mountains between Idaho and Montana. The Route of the Hiawatha is best known for the long, dark St. Paul Pass, or Taft Tunnel, which burrows for 1.66 miles under the Idaho/Montana state line.
Spectacular Scenery

It was called one of the most scenic stretches of railroad in the country. When the Milwaukee Railroad was operating, the trains Hiawatha Tunneltraversed through 11 tunnels and over 9 high trestles, covering a 46 mile route that crossed the rugged Bitterroot Mountains between Idaho and Montana. The Route of the Hiawatha is most famous for the long St. Paul Pass, or Taft Tunnel which burrows for 8771 ft. (1.66 miles) under the Bitterroot Mountains at the state line.

Development of the Idaho Section

In May, 1998 the first 13 miles of the trail were opened to the public for hikers and wilderness biking. This stretch of the trail between Roland and Pearson currently goes through 8 open tunnels and travels over 7 high trestles following the mountainous terrain along the Loop Creek drainage. The portion of the trail from Moss Creek to Pearson is open only to non-motorized traffic. The ride from Roland (just below the West Portal of the St. Paul Pass, or Taft Tunnel) to Pearson is a very gentle ride on an unpaved gravel road. Being on a railroad grade, this portion of the trail follows a very easy 1.7% downhill grade from 4160 ft. at the West Portal to 3175 ft. at Pearson, for a total drop of a little less than 1000 ft. in a distance of 13 miles. For those riders not interested in riding the trail up the gentle grade from Pearson back to Roland, there is a scheduled shuttle bus that provides transportation for riders and their bicycles. "Click to Read More"