Friday, August 22, 10:30 am - 4:00 pm
We will bike from the East Portal trail head to the West Portal trail head.
We will meet at the Lookout Pass Ski Area at 10:30 am. The Ski Area is located adjacent to I-90 at the Idaho-Montana state line at Exit 0, in Mullan, ID, 12 miles east of historic Wallace, ID. The East Portal is 7 miles from Lookout Pass.
Directions to Lookout Pass
The ride from East Portal (top) to Pearson (bottom) is 15 miles and is a very gentle downhill ride all the way. For most riders, this represents a leisurely 2.5 hour ride. You can ride the trail at any speed you like. We do not have to stay together as a group.
It was called one of the most scenic stretches of railroad in the country. When the Milwaukee Railroad was operating, the trains traversed through 11 tunnels and over 9 high trestles, covering a 46 mile route that crossed the rugged Bitterroot Mountains between Idaho and Montana. The "Route of the Hiawatha" is most famous for the long St. Paul Pass, or Taft Tunnel which burrows for 8771 ft. (1.66 miles) under the Bitterroot Mountains at the state line.
The trail is a high quality, firm fine gravel/dirt surface, with some small cobble in places, so that some ability to ride a bicycle is desirable. Mountain bike tires are recommended. Hybrid tires are OK. Road bike tires are seen on the trail but not recommended. The tunnels are not lighted, if this is bothersome, it is recommended that riders walk their bicycles through the tunnels. All of the trestles have guard rails. On the whole the trail is wide enough so that some of the steeper slopes at the side of the trail should not be a problem.
Lookout Pass Ski Area
Bike, helmet, light, bike rack rentals, breakfast, lunch and picnic food service, a retail/souvenir shop plus day use passes and shuttle tickets are all available at the Lookout Pass ski area. Credit cards are accepted at the ski area.
The nearest bike rentals are at Lookout Pass. Mountain bikes, comfort bikes, tag-a-longs, Burley (child) trailers, children's bikes, helmets and lights are available at the Lookout Pass Rental Shop. You are responsible for getting your bike (your own or rented) to the East Portal trail head (7 miles from Lookout Pass). When you rent bicycles at the Lookout Pass rental shop, bicycle racks are provided at no extra charge. The strap racks can hold two, three or four bikes. Receiver hitch insert racks can hold up to five bikes. It's generally a good idea to reserve equipment, especially on busy weekends and during the peak season.
After the completion of our ride, we will probably catch the 2:45 pm shuttle bus (second to last shuttle of the day) from the West Portal/Pearson back to the East Portal/Roland. From Roland, you pedal back through the St. Paul Pass Tunnel to reach your vehicle at the East Portal parking area. If you take the 2:45 pm shuttle from the West Portal, that means you will be back to your car at about 4:00 pm. The 4:15 pm shuttle from the West Portal (last shuttle of the day) is also an option. Shuttle rides are first come, first served. The shuttles are equipped to transport you and your bike including recumbent bikes, two person bikes, canvas type child trailers, adult tricycles, wheel chairs, and a variety of electric assisted bikes and one seat move abouts. The shuttle picks up at Pearson/West Portal at 11:45 am, 1:15 pm, 2:45 pm, and 4:15 pm. You can take any shuttle time you like back to your car.
Note: Not everyone in your family has to ride the shuttle back to the parking area. You can have just one person in your family ride the shuttle, pick up your car, and then drive to the West Portal to pick up the rest of the family.
In general the trail is OK to ride downhill from Roland to Pearson for most youngsters 6 years of age and older that know how to ride a bicycle by themselves. All trestles have railings. Kids of all ages can join our group in canvas type child trailers attached to their parent's bike.
What to bring:
- Your own bike or you can rent child and adult bikes from Lookout Pass.
- Food and drinks. You can bring your own or purchase food and drinks from Lookout Pass.
- Helmet (required). Included in bike rental from Lookout Pass.
- Light, flash light, or head lamp (required one per person). Included in bike rental from Lookout Pass.
- Exploring Families Release of Liability form
Your reservation options with Exploring Families are Trail Passes and Shuttle Tickets only. If you want to rent a bike or any accessories, you'll need to make your own arrangements.
Trail Pass Adult 14+: $10
Trail Pass Child 6-13 years: $6
Shuttle Ticket Adult 14+: $9
Shuttle Ticket Child 6-13 years: $6
No cost for children 5 and younger.
Payment is required in advance via Paypal, credit card, debit card, or check. There is no "Pay at the Door." Your spots with our group are saved when payment is received. Payment is due one week before the ride. If payment is not received within one week of the ride, your reservation will be cancelled.
Cancellation Policy: You can have a full refund if you contact Exploring Families one week before the ride. There is no refund if you cancel within one week of the ride.
Tour limits: none
Each family will have to print, complete, sign, and bring with you an Exploring Families Release of Liability form. Download it here.