You’ll Have to Wait for This Popular Montana Bike Ride
It seems like the perfect time for two wheels in Montana. The sun is out, it's not too hot and you won't be breathing any smoke on your ride.
And while most of the lower elevation roads and trails are ready to go, one of the most famous bike trails in the region isn't quite ready to open.
The Route of the Hiawatha has gained a national reputation since the first section of the historic railroad route opened to bikes 25 years ago this month, in May 1998. Since that first 13 miles of the old Milwaukee Railroad route was converted, the trail has expanded to a total of 15 miles, with 10 tunnels and 7 trestle crossings.
A trail for two states to share
Winding from the trailhead just off I-90 near the Idaho-Montana border at the Taft exit, the Hiawatha passes through the 1.6-mile Taft Tunnel over what was known as "St. Paul Pass", dropping into Idaho and finishing where you can grab a shuttle and get back to your car.
Optionally, you can have someone drive through and meet you at the trail's end, continuing the trip on the road through many more tunnels until you emerge at the historic railroad town of Avery. That also gives you the option to make a loop back up to Moon Pass, where you can be dropped off again and glide down into Wallace, retracing the route of the rider who came down the mountain to warn the town of the 1910 inferno known as the "Big Burn."
The burst of spring weather might have you hankerin' for the Hiawatha already. But the trail won't open until its scheduled date of May 26th. The trail remains open until September 17th this year.
However, it's not too soon to go online and book your reservation for a shuttle or a bike rental and check out the additional information to plan your trip. There are also some discounts for booking now. Large group reservations for 15 or more are also available.
And if you're here in Western Montana and would like to go more than once, the best bargain is the season pass, which gives you "unlimited days of pedaling" for $79 for adults, and $49 for youth, or seniors. Those passes include both the trail and shuttle pass.
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