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Route of the Hiawatha, Idaho © Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
RTC's Kartik Sribarra on the Route of the Hiawatha in June 2010.


Route of the Hiawatha, Idaho © Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
The Hiawatha carves through the Bitterroot Mountains on a wet, chilly spring day.


Tell Us ...

How did you first get your kids or grandkids out on the trail? Did you pull them along in a trailer? Or did you take them birding, out for a run or a horseback ride? Share your stories with Karl at karl@railstotrails.org.

With all e-mails and photos, please include where you currently live as well as any caption info. All photos submitted to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy may be used in any and all organizational materials.

Tell Us ...

In June, we asked you to tell us which rail-trail offers the most stunning mountain experience? We received quite a few responses, and all for the same trail! The selected stories below capture why Idaho's Route of the Hiawatha was a runaway winner.


Ron Diehl — Laclede, Idaho 
I've ridden the Route of the Hiawatha with relatives and friends from outside north Idaho. They are all amazed at the beauty. It starts by going through a 1.7-mile tunnel, water dripping from the "roof" and almost cold inside. The rest of the trail crosses seven trestles and goes through 10 tunnels. At the higher portions of the trail, you can see multiple mountain ranges. And if you are so inclined, take the shuttle back and bike through the long tunnel again to cool down. I don't know how it can get much better.

Charlie Wright — Missoula, Mt.
Having taken the ride four times, for my money NOTHING tops the Route of the Hiawatha between/beneath Montana and Idaho for meeting the prerequisites identified in the recent eNews "Tell Us," i.e., "tall peaks to towering trestles, tunnels, steep valleys and meadows."

Ben Carter — Portsmouth, N.H.
The 15-mile Route of the Hiawatha in northern Idaho cuts through some of the most breathtaking mountain scenery in the country. The remote Bitterroot Mountains paint a backdrop of majestic mountain valleys and endless pine forests for as far as you can see as you follow the old Milwaukee Road railroad line that ran from Chicago to the Pacific Northwest. Equally spectacular on this trail is witnessing the astonishing engineering accomplishment that took place to get the railroad through these mountains. The dozens of tunnels and trestles on this trail leave you in awe of the challenges that were overcome to connect the country by rail more than 100 years ago. The tunnel you enter at the eastern trailhead when beginning your journey is more than a mile and a half long, so be sure to bring a light with you! Also, a shuttle runs from the end of the trail at Parsons back to the entrance of the tunnel, allowing you to ride just one way if you prefer, which happens to be all downhill.

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