Traveling to Idaho? Ride Idaho’s Route of the Hiawatha Bike Trail….


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.

The Hiawatha Bike Trail is on U. S. National Forest land administered by the St. Joe Ranger District of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. It is operated by Lookout Pass Ski Area under a special use permit of the U. S. Forest Service.

Photo Credit: Idaho Tourism Division

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