bike tours idaho
Bitterroot Bonanza - Idaho Bike Tour, United States
Bitterroot Bonanza - Idaho Bike Tour:
For the first time ever, North Idaho’s world class Rails-to-Trails system is linked into a superb itinerary that combines a bike tour with rafting and kayaking. This is an ideal family trip and since this is our own backyard, you can be sure we’ll have plenty of surprises and special treats along the way. Some departures will be camping trips, while others stay at local hotels and dine out. The trip starts in Spokane, Washington with a bike ride on the Washington/Idaho Centennial Trail along the Spokane River. We reach the resort town of Coeur d'Alene, on Lake Coeur d'Alene with time to play in the lake. The next day we enjoy a half-day kayak trip and then bicycle tour of the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, one of the jewels of the National Rails-to-Trails system.
We trade our pedals for paddles and raft the scenic and tumbling Clark Fork River, one of the region's most popular whitewater river trips suitable for rafters of all ages! Then a spectacular day on the historical Hiawatha Trail, where you will bike through tunnels and across dramatic trestles spanning canyons of the Bitterroot Mountains on the Idaho/Montana border. The trail is not far from the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area, one of the largest protected areas in the United States. At the end we return you to Spokane where your adventure began.
This Bitterroot Bonanza bike adventure has plenty to offer in 5 days full of outdoors, history and activities. Click on the itinerary tab for more details of this Bitterroot Mountain Multisport adventure!
Bitterroot Bonanza is featured as one of National Geographic Adventure's "25 Best New Trips" of 2010!
- Duration: 5 days
- Intensity: Intermediate
- Season: Jul-Aug
- Minimum Age: 8
- Begins In: Spokane, WA
- Ends In: Spokane, WA
- Airport: Spokane International
Bitterroot Mountains. Washington, Idaho and Montana all in one trip. Hiawatha Trail. Clark Fork Whitewater. Centennial Trail. Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes.
Idaho Bike Tours - Bitterroot Bonanza
North Idaho is a land of lakes, forests, mountains and spectacular scenery. Travelers are only now starting to discover this magnificent destination with scenery that rivals many of our National Parks. ROW Adventures trip is a guided bike tour spiced up with other activities to make for a fun mix and authentic adventure.
Most of the bike touring we do on this trip is on level trails. This is the beauty of bike trails that have been made from converted railroads! This makes this a trip that riders of all ages can enjoy, and our van is always available if someone needs a lift.
We start with a ride along the scenic Spokane River in eastern Washington, in a gorge of pines and dramatic basalt geology. The trip continues east into Idaho and the stunning lakeside resort town of Coeur d’Alene. A half-day kayak tour provides an intimate and authentic experience on the azure waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene. From there we head south to the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes to continue our bike tour through forests, along the lake and into the quaint hamlet of Harrison, Idaho. Another day of biking along the Coeur d’Alene River provides chances for wildlife viewing and peaceful breaths of fresh mountain air. Then the pace changes as we travel across Lolo Pass over the Idaho/ Montana border for a splashy day of fun in the sun on the Clark Fork River. Our final day we bike the world-class Trail of the Hiawatha, rated as one of the top ten bike trails in the Nation by Forbes Traveler. The 15-mile bike path follows the route of the old Milwaukee Railroad, one of the most daring railroads ever built in America. It passes through ten tunnels (one is 1.66 miles long) and over seven high, dramatic trestles that span mountain canyons. After this exhilarating day we return to Spokane where you can continue your travels or return home.
- Dates & Rates
- Below you will find all available instances of this trip. Roll over departure dates to see a complete list of departures. Roll over the demographic icons to get a brief overview of the demographic group.
- Why ROW
ROW Difference - Idaho Bike Tour
- This is our backyard - we're the local experts on the region's trails and resources
- All aspects of this trip are under our direct control, including the kayaking and rafting, assuring you of consistent quality and personal service
- Trips are led by local area guides who are knowledgeable of North Idaho cultural and natural history
- We support and are members of the Friends of the Centennial Trail, North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation, Friends of the Coeur d'Alene Trails, the Kootenai Environmental Alliance and other local non-profit associations.
- We are the only fully licensed, bonded and permitted outfitter operating on these trails, rivers and lakes.
Do I need to be a hard core bicyclist to enjoy this trip?
Not at all! Our itinerary is planned to address a wide range of biking abilities. Each day there are options for people that want a more difficult ride or more miles, and conversely, if you don't want to ride the entire distance our support van is never far away, ready to pick you up as needed.
Is this a good bike and adventure trip for children?
It's an excellent family trip. If kids get tired we can transport them in our van and we always have alternative activities that are fun for them. For example, on the first day, if they tire of riding, we'll take them to a beach along the river to swim and play with our driver/guide while those riding continue their ride. These trails are also perfect for towing bike trailers, so kids as young as two can accompany the trip. Ask us about a date with other families.
What kind of wildlife might we see on the trip?
Much of this trip is along rivers and lakes. Thus it's common to see osprey, great blue herons, bald eagles, ducks and other birds. With some luck we may all see deer and beaver. When we ride along the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, from the town of Harrison north, we may see moose! On the Lake Coeur d'Alene kayaking tour we paddle beneath the nests of osprey and in June and July will see their chicks in the nest.
Is the lake kayaking difficult?
Even if you've never been in a kayak, you'll love this kayak tour of Lake Coeur d'Alene. We actually paddle about two hours and go at an easy pace. Again, those that want a more strenuous paddle can add an extra mile or two.
Is the rafting trip on the Clark Fork River challenging?
The Clark Fork whitewater rafting trip takes place through the Alberton Gorge, which offers fun, intermediate whitewater ranging from class II-III. We take children as young as five on this trip and have them ride in the center of the raft. Older paddlers sit around the edge of the raft with paddles and provide power through the rapids. No previous rafting experience is necessary. The river flows through a beautiful canyon with no roads.
Idaho Bike Tour Itinerary - Bitterroot Bonanza
Day 0) Arrive in Spokane, Washington and overnight. (Hotel not included)
Day 1) Today’s bike ride is on the Washington/Idaho Centennial Trail that goes from the west of Spokane all the way to eight miles east of Coeur d'Alene. From the hotel in Spokane, we make a short transfer to the start of the trail at Riverside State Park and start our ride through a forest of pines and firs. We stop at various historic and scenic points including the dramatic Bowl & Pitcher rapid where ancient lava flows formed a spectacular setting of huge boulders of basalt. We ride through downtown Spokane past the Spokane River falls, continuing east on a trail that is mostly level. Along the river we pass under willows and may stop for a quick dip as we ride to the Idaho/Washington border. Throughout the day you’ll learn about the area’s natural and cultural history from your ROW Adventures guide. We load our van at the border for a short transfer into the lakeside town of Coeur d’Alene, where ROW Adventures is headquartered. Anyone so inclined may ride along Lake Coeur d’Alene another eight miles to the end of the trail east of town, then return. On each day of the tour our van and guide/driver is available to shuttle little ones and keep them happy with special activities such as swim stops, games and more. Usually this happens just before or after lunch and then we bring the entire group back together for the last few miles of the day.
Accommodations: Coeur d'Alene Resort or similar
(37-mile bike ride with optional additional 16 miles).
Day 2) Trading pedals for paddles we jump into touring kayaks for a three-hour paddle on the blue waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene. You paddle through an active osprey breeding area where we watch these birds fish and tend their nests. We may also see bald eagles, herons, comorants and other waterfowl. Your guides’ knowledge will help deepen your appreciation of the wildlife as well as the natural history of the lake. Then we transfer south about 30 minutes to the western starting point of the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, a 70-mile trail through the heart of North Idaho. We ride from the trailhead downhill through forests and meadows on the old Union Pacific Railroad line. Our day ends with a final ride across the lake on a lovely historic bridge, then along the east side of Lake Coeur d’Alene to the hamlet of Harrison.
Accommodations: Local Harrison hotel.
(7-mile kayak; 8 to 16-mile bike ride.)
Day 3) We ride about 35 miles today at a leisurely pace through marshes and along the Coeur d’Alene Chain lakes and river while learning about the mining legacy of the area. A special visit to the historic Cataldo Mission, Idaho’s oldest building, is a highlight. Built by two Jesuit priests and some 300 members of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, this is an astounding building. We stop for a snack or meal at the historic Enaville Snake Pit, a colorful eating and drinking establishment, then transfer or ride to our evening’s accommodation.
Accommodations: Wallace Inn or similar.
(35-mile bike ride with optional 10-20 miles. Support van available at several points.)
Day 4) This morning we load up for an 1 ½ hour drive across Lookout Pass to go rafting on the Clark Fork River in Montana, an intermediate whitewater trip with paddle in hand.. The trip is suitable for anyone age five and up. Those seeking more excitement may opt to paddle their own inflatable kayak! The 14-mile paddle travels through a dramatic canyon of fine western scenery and deep gorges. We enjoy a bountiful riverside smorgasbord lunch on a sandy beach perfect for swimming.
Accommodations: Wallace Inn or similar.
Day 5) A short drive back to the Idaho/Montana border gets us to 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 it easy for the whole family to ride together. Being on a railroad grade, this portion of the trail follows a very easy 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. After a trailside lunch, we finish our ride, and then load up for a two hour drive back to Spokane where we began our adventure five days earlier.
Accommodations: Overnight in Spokane, Washington (hotel not included).
(15-mile bike ride).
History of the Hiawatha Trail -
The history of the railroad is fascinating as is the geologic story of the Bitterroot Mountains. 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. You'll learn much more about the railroad and people who civilized the area during your ride!
ROW Adventures is an Idaho licensed outfitter (License #5109) and operates this trip with Special Use permits from the U.S. Forest Service, Idaho State Parks & Recreation Department, City of Coeur d’Alene, Bureau of Land Management, Washington State Department of Parks & Recreation and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
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