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Route of the Hiawatha
The downhill version of this 15 mile compacted gravel trail begins in Montana at the East Portal of the Taft Tunnel, about 2 miles from Exit 5 on Interstate 90. This massive and perfectly straight, 1.7 mile long train tunnel was completed at great expense in 1908. Also called the "St. Paul Pass Tunnel," it ends in Idaho at the now extinct town of Roland, where the journey continues down a 2% grade through eight more tunnels and across seven high steel trestles before reaching the Pearson trailhead and junction with Forest Road 456, which connects Wallace and Avery. Along the trail, numerous interpretive signs provide information about the rich mining and railroad history in this scenic passage way through the spectacular Bitterroot Mountains, famous between 1911 and 1961 as the "Route of the Hiawatha" on the Milwaukee Road between Illinois and Washington. Helmets and proper lighting equipment are required for bikers, and a $9 trail usage fee ($6 ages 6-13) applies. Shuttle bus (optional) is $9 adults, $6 ages 6 - 13. (All prices effective as of 2009)
Picture coming soon
0 = none/ the worst
5 = average
10 = excellent
Effective: 3/1/2007 - 1/1/2030. Helmets and proper lighting equipment are required for bikers, and an $8 usage fee ($4 ages 3-13) applies to everyone. A shuttle bus is available for $9 between Roland and Pearson Trailheads.
Link for additional information
For the round trip, most people will travel from Wallace and park at Pearson, overlooking the North Fork of the St. Joe River off Forest Road 456. You are thereby climbing the 2% grade during the cool of the morning. Those wanting the shorter experience (3-4 hours) will park at the East Portal, located ~2 miles off I-90 at the Taft Exit in Montana, 5 miles from Lookout Pass on the Idaho border. Remember that the shuttle connects the West Portal of the Taft Tunnel, Roland, and Pearson. Therefore, riders who park at the East Portal must ride back to their vehicles from Roland.
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