I just celebrated one year with my wonderful guy! We don’t usually get time off together because of our opposite work schedules. However, I just started as the Staff Manager at a restaurant here in town and they are closed for some holidays. As luck would have it, we both had Labor Day off from our jobs. We both knew we wanted to do something outdoors so we figured what better way than to bike the Hiawatha Trail, located just 90 miles from where we live. Neither of us had biked the trail before and were very excited after learning more about it online.
After an early morning drive (and some much-needed coffee on the way), we were ready to head out! The trail begins in Montana near Lookout Pass but you quickly enter Idaho while biking through the first tunnel. The “Route of the Hiawatha” was a train route of the Milwaukee Railroad that looped through the Bitterroot Mountains of Idaho and Montana. Though the original trail was much longer, the current biking trail is 15 miles long. We parked at the East Portal and then rode to the Pearson trailhead, where there’s a shuttle that will take you back up. Well, it takes you about 1.5 miles away from the lot.You just have to bike back through the first tunnel.
The temperature was in the high 40’s to low 50’s when we started out for the day. The first tunnel is definitely the coldest part. I was freezing! (I was also slightly underprepared as I don’t know too much about proper cycling attire.) I recommend some thin gloves for that part of your journey. Other than that, I had on a light jacket with a hoodie and a couple layers underneath. We were super lucky we didn’t get rained on during our ride. It ended up being a beautiful sunshine-filled day!
The trail consists of not only 10 train tunnels, but 7 trestles as well. Trestles are the structures that look like bridges in the pictures and are supported by huge metal beams. We stopped on one of them to get a feel for how high up we were.
If you’re visiting the area during the warmer months, I urge you to put this trail on your to-do list! They charge you to use the trail, as well as to take the shuttle back. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could ride there and back, eliminating the charge for the shuttle. I recommend purchasing your tickets ahead of time, just to make it a little quicker when you pick them up. Finally, bikes, helmets, and lights are available for rent should you need them. Find more information about the trail here —-> Hiawatha Trail
Hoping you all get to enjoy a little bit more summer!