Tour Schedule

5-day North Idaho Rail Trails - August 16-20, 2021

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A GREAT TOUR OUT WEST! 

5 Days on Northern Idaho and Washington Rail Trails

This tour is identical to our Northern Idaho 1 tour, but occurs 4 weeks later.

For this excellent tour we will be riding 4 of the country's most scenic trails, which feature stunning views of forests and meadows, mountains, rivers and lakes, trestle bridges and tunnels. Our tour combines these amazing trails into one incredible adventure that you will never forget. We will bike on the following trails: 

1. The Spokane and Northern Idaho Centennial Trail

2. The Route Of The Hiawatha 

3. The Route Of The Olympian 

4. The Trail Of The Coeur d’Alenes

Included

  • Services of our talented adventure consultants and professional guides
  • All meals/beverages as indicated in the itinerary
  • Gratuities for meals and accommodations
  • On-trail drinks and snacks
  • Van support
  • Detailed maps and itineraries
  • All shuttles
  • Van support and transportation during tour as noted

Not Included

  • Airfare/transportation beginning and ending points
  • Alcohol with meals
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry
  • Gratuities for guides
  • Travel protection plan
  • Pre-& post-trip hotel
  • Bike rental

Itinerary

  • Day 0

    Arrive in Spokane on your own schedule and spend the night in lodging of your choice, and at your expense. Note: We highly recommend that our riders book rooms at the same hotel our guides are staying, to simplify logistics. Location to be announced.

  • Day 1

    37 miles - Group Orientation, Cycle from Spokane to the Idaho Border

    Meet your tour guides at 9:00 AM for bike selection. We’ll start our ride by heading west on the Centennial Trail, through the 9100-acre Riverside State Park and along the Spokane River. Optionally we can drive to the trailhead at the Nine Mile Falls for a shorter ride.

    The greater Spokane area is home to the Spokane Indians, known as the Children of the Sun. They had villages and fishing locations all along the Spokane River. In 1810 a fur trading post was established at Nine Mile Falls, where our ride begins. The Centennial Trail follows the gorge carved by the river, passing through massive basalt flows in a spectacular canyon lined with towering ponderosa pines. Our guides are familiar with the geology and will inform the group about the massive Columbia basalt flows of 12-15 million years ago that created this inspiring landscape. After the gorge, the trail continues following the river and into downtown Spokane. The 1974 World Expo was located at the site of today’s Riverfront Park and we see firsthand the remarkable transformation that the Expo created from once-industrial ugliness to a beautiful park with Spokane Falls at its center.

    After a delicious lunch downtown, we bike east on the trail through the Gonzaga University District of Spokane and parallel the Spokane River until we reach the Washington/Idaho border. Here you have a choice of either taking a short van ride to the lakeside town of Coeur d’Alene, OR those seeking more miles may continue biking all the way to tonight’s accommodations. We’ll get checked into our hotel before enjoying happy hour and dinner in town.

    Biking Miles: 37 miles total with an optional additional 13 miles.
    ACCOMMODATION: Springhill Suites by Marriott or similar
    MEALS INCLUDED: Lunch, Dinner

  • Day 2

    31 miles - Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes
    Our 16-mile morning ride follows the shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene to Higgins Point, the easternmost point of the Idaho Centennial Trail. Following lunch at a favorite spot, we’ll drive to Plummer, the western terminus of the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes. The afternoon’s lovely downhill ride through pines and wildflowers to the shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene and Chacolet Lake are on the converted Union Pacific Railroad line. We cross the lake on A scenic railroad bridge takes us over the lake as we follow the shores Lake Coeur d’Alene to the small town of Harrison where we spend the night in a comfy lakeside inn. A swim in the lake just might interest you before dinner!

    Your guides will have plenty of local information for you about the area and its original inhabitants, the Schitsu’umsh people and their history with the early 1800’s French fur-traders. These traders named the native people the Coeur d’Alene, meaning people with “heart of an awl” for their shrewd trading skills and hearts as sharp as a sewing needle. They were introduced to Christianity by the Jesuit missionaries in the 1840’s. In 1878, Fort Coeur d’Alene was established by General William Sherman (a famous Union General of the Civil War) on the land adjacent to the Spokane River’s source from Lake Coeur d’Alene. Soon the town of Coeur d’Alene was established and quickly became a transportation hub for logging and mining in the region.

    You'll find downtown Coeur d’Alene to be a charming place filled with art galleries, restaurants, shops and the town’s greatest treasure, Tubbs Hill. This 130-acre city park offers several miles of hiking trails and shoreline.

    Biking Miles: 16 miles in the morning and 15 in the afternoon.
    ACCOMMODATION : Osprey Inn (or Similar)
    MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Day 3

    35 miles - Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, Cataldo Mission, Ride on to Wallace

    Leaving Harrison, the trail passes through the Chain Lakes of the Coeur d’Alene River, a series of lakes along the river valley. As we pedal past marshes and water on the raised trail, we may see moose, deer or osprey. We stop to visit Idaho’s oldest building, the stout Cataldo Mission designed by two Jesuit priests and built between 1850-53 with the labor of some 300 members of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. Soon it’s time for lunch at the local legend of the Enaville Snake Pit. Those wishing may continue to ride to Wallace while others shuttle in our van the final miles. The brick buildings and yesterday-feeling of Wallace captures a moment in time when mining was the main activity of the area. Center of the Silver Valley, more silver was taken from the ground here than anywhere else in the world before or since. Today the town is home to a couple of breweries and some good dining options. We enjoy dinner in town together.

    Biking Miles: 35-mile bike ride with optional 10-20 miles
    ACCOMMODATION : Wallace Inn (or similar)
    MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Day 4

    24-42 Miles - Route of the Olympian, Hiawatha Trail

    It's a short drive across the Idaho/Montana border to the hamlet of Saltese, our starting point on the Route of the Olympian. In the day when railroads were competing for routes west, the ambitious Pacific Extension of the Milwaukee railroad was built to connect west to Portland, Oregon. Financed by the Rockefellers, it was the most expensive railroad ever built at that point in time, costing $75,000 per mile. The most challenging section of the entire route was the 22 miles through the Bitterroot Mountains around today’s Idaho/Montana border, requiring the construction of 21 bridges, 16 tunnels and seven high trestles. It’s nothing short of thrilling to ride on this legacy trail!

    After our 9-mile ride on the Route of the Olympian we arrive at East Portal, the starting point of the historic and spectacular Hiawatha Trail. We start at the East Portal trailhead and immediately enter the two-mile long Taft Tunnel. Before the morning is over, we go through another six tunnels and cross a number of breath-taking trestles that span deep and forested canyons of the Bitterroot Mountains. This is one of the most spectacular, if not the most spectacular, rails-to-trails trail in the United States. It is well maintained, and the gravel route and gentle grade make for an easy ride. Being on a railroad grade, this portion of the trail follows a mellow 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 15 miles. Along the way we stop for a trailside lunch. At the trail’s end we can load up in our van, or you may ride back up the gentle grade part way or all 15 miles.

    When the day's riding is done, we return to Wallace to enjoy another evening in this historic mining town.

    Biking Miles: 24 miles with optional 18 miles downhill from the Hiawatha on the NORPAC trail.
    ACCOMMODATION : Wallace Inn (or similar)
    MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Day 5

    7 miles - Morning Ride on Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, Explore Coeur d'Alene and Tubbs Hill
    A short van ride takes us to the eastern end of the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, where we start riding from Mullen, Idaho downhill to Wallace, mainly for the sake of doing all the miles on the trail! It’s a short 7-mile ride and when done we head back to Coeur d’Alene for lunch and some free time in town. Walk around Tubbs Hill, wade into the lake for a swim, or wander down Sherman Avenue for some shopping. Soon it’s time to return to Spokane.
    MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch


Difficulty Level: Advanced

The Centennial Trail and the Trail of the Couer d'Alene are paved bike paths. The Route of the Hiawatha has a crushed stone surface. 

We have categorized this tour as ADVANCED due to the hilly (in places) trails and the bike handling skills needed on the Hiawatha Trail, as it includes long tunnels, high trestle bridges and muddy sections. 

Suggested bicycle: Touring bikes, hybrids or mountain bikes (bikes with larger tires are recommended). Road bikes with skinny tires are not suitable for this tour and will not be allowed.

Suggested tire size for this tour: 35 mm and larger


Pricing

$1960 per person (based on double occupancy)

$400 – Single Supplement (extra price to have your own room)

$130 – Bike Rental 


Your Travel Plans

For this tour we meet people on MONDAY, August 16, 2021 at 9:00am at our Spokane hotel. Our tour leaders will be lodging here the night before the tour begins (SUNDAY, August 15). We strongly recommend that all participants also book rooms here, for easier logistics. However, that night's lodging is not included in the tour price and participants are free to select their own lodging for that night.

The trip ends on FRIDAY, August 20. We plan to be back in Spokane by late afternoon.

Note: This tour is being operated by our "western affiliate" ROW Adventures on behalf of Senior Cycling. The two companies are working closely together to ensure that participants will enjoy the typical "Senior Cycling experience", with relaxed riding, small groups of 12 maximum riders, expert tour leaders and fine cycling routes. Participants will be directed to ROW Adventures online booking after registering here with Senior Cycling.