Hiawatha Trail = healthy RV travel break

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JulianneCraneJimmySmith_HiawathaTrailIf you are an RVer who is traveling the Pacific Northwest this summer with a bicycle strapped somewhere on your rig, one of the must-do rails-to-trails is the immensely popular Route of the Hiawatha Rail-Trail.

This 15-mile compacted gravel trail stretches between the Pearson trailhead (elev. 3180) in Idaho and the East Portal trailhead (elev. 4147) in Montana, located only about 2 miles off I-90 at the Taft Exit (5 miles east of Lookout Pass on the Idaho border).

The most popular way to bike the trail is to travel downhill from the East Portal trailhead. Bicyclists journey down a 2% grade through nine tunnels (the first is the daunting 1.7-mile Taft Tunnel) and across seven high steel trestles that afford incredible mountain views.

The Hiawatha Trail is open through Sept. 27 (2015) from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. During the peak season, June 22-Sept. 7, the hours are extended to 5:30 p.m. (PDT)

Day use pass is $10 ($6 ages 6-13, who must be accompanied by an adult). There is a return shuttle from Pearson to the East Portal trailhead. Purchase passes at Lookout Pass Ski Area on I-90, Exit 0 at Idaho / Montana Border or from trail marshals. You can buy or rent equipment at Lookout Pass. Helmets and lights are required.

For more details on the trail, click on my posting on RV Short Stops.

If you are looking for a nearby campgrounds visit the Idaho Panhandle Nation Forests Web site. Or click here for a wide selection of books on camping in the Pacific Northwest.

Julianne G. Crane

Photo: RVers Julianne G. Crane and Jimmy Smith take a rest break on the scenic Route of the Hiawatha. Below: ‘Route of the Hiawatha Trail’ YouTube courtesy of Lookout Associates.

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