MEETING LOCATION: Centennial Hotel in Spokane, Washington
MEETING TIME: 8:30 AM on Day 1
AVERAGE BIKING MILES: 15-35 miles per day
TRIP LENGTH: 5 days
RETURN LOCATION: Centennial Hotel in Spokane, Washington
RETURN TIME: 4:00 - 6:00 pm on the Afternoon of Day 5
AGE LIMIT: Minimum age is 12 years
- 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
- Helmet, and related biking gear.
- Bicycle (rentals available)
- Airfare/transportation beginning and ending points
- Alcohol with meals
- Items of a personal nature such as laundry
- Gratuities for guides
- Travel protection plan
- Pre and post-trip hotel
- 6% Idaho sales tax
Day 0: Arrive in Spokane
Arrive in Spokane, Washington at your leisure and overnight in accommodations of your choosing. The preferred hotel is the Centennial Hotel in Spokane.
- Accommodations: Not Included - The preferred hotel is the Centennial Hotel in Spokane
- Meals: Not included
Day 1: Group Orientation, Ride from Spokane to the Idaho Border
Meet your ROW Adventures guide at 8:30 AM at the Centennial Hotel and check out your bike. Depending on trail conditions and other factors, we either start our ride directly from town, heading west on the Centennial Trail, through the 9100-acre Riverside State Park and along the Spokane River. Or we drive to the trailhead at Nine Mile Falls and then ride east back into town.
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 typically begins. The trail follows the gorge carved by the river, passing through massive basalt flows in a spectacular canyon lined with towering ponderosa pines. Our guides explain the geology of the epic and massive Columbia basalt flows of 12-15 million years ago that created this inspiring landscape. We emerge from the park still following the river and ride 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 take the trail east through the Gonzaga University District of Spokane and parallel the Spokane River until we reach the Washington/Idaho border. From the border, we hop in our van for a short shuttle to the lakeside town of Coeur d’Alene. (Those seeking more miles may continue on the trail all the way to tonight’s accommodations.) After checking in to our hotel and resting, it’s time for a festive dinner in town.
- Biking: 37 miles total with an optional additional 13 miles.
- Accommodations: Springhill Suites by Marriott (or similar), Coeur d' Alene Idaho
- Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Day 2: Ride to Higgins Point, Trail of the Coeur d' Alenes to Harrison
Our morning ride takes us along the shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene to Higgins Point, the furthest eastern point of the Idaho Centennial Trail. After our morning ride of 16 miles, we enjoy lunch at another of our favorite spots in Coeur d'Alene. Coeur d'Alene is our home and we've watched over the past 30 years as the economy has transitioned from natural resource extraction and processing to a much more diverse economy which now includes tourism as the major player. The big draw is the town's scenic location on the lake which is popular for boating, beaches, and swimming. Downtown Coeur d'Alene is 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.
After lunch, we drive about 35 minutes south to the hamlet of Plummer, the western terminus of the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes. We embark on a lovely, gentle-sloping downhill ride through pines and wildflowers to the shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene and Chacolet Lake on the converted Union Pacific Railroad line. We cross the lake on a graceful railroad bridge and continue along the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene to the small town of Harrison where we spend the night in a comfortable lakeside inn. Before dinner, you might enjoy a dip in the clear waters of the lake.
The area around Coeur d’Alene is the original home of the Schitsu’umsh people. In the early 1800’s French fur traders named these people the Coeur d’Alenes meaning people with “heart of an awl” because they were shrewd traders with hearts as sharp as a sewing awl. For decades the Coeur d’Alene Indians traded with the fur trappers. They were introduced to Christianity by the Jesuit missionaries that came to the area in the late 1840s. 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.
- Biking: 16 miles in the morning and 15 in the afternoon.
- Accommodations: Osprey Inn or Lakeview Lodge. Assigned by order of reservation. Those requiring two beds will stay at Lakeview Lodge
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3: 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 capture 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: 35-mile bike ride with optional 10-20 miles
- Accommodations: Wallace Inn (or similar)
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4: Route of the Olympian, Route of the Hiawatha Trail
A short drive across the Idaho/Montana border to the hamlet of Saltese gets us to our starting point on the Route of the Olympian. We ride about 9-miles on the Route of the Olympian until we arrive at East Portal, the starting point of the historic and spectacular Hiwatha Trail. In the day when railroads were competing for routes west, these two sections of the trail were part of the ambitious Pacific Extension of the Milwaukee railroad, creating an alternative tour 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!
Our Route of the Hiawatha ride starts a the East Portal trailhead and immediately we enter the two-mile-long, dark, and damp, 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. You can ride all the way to the end at Pearson (14.4 miles on the trail) or go to mile 10, and then turn around. We meet you on the return near the Moss Creek trailhead and then load up in our van for the return drive to Wallace.
We enjoy another evening in this historic mining town.
- Biking: 20-35 miles depending on where you turn around on the Hiawatha.
- Accommodations: Wallace Inn (or similar)
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5: Morning Ride on Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, Enjoy a Wallace Mine Tour, Return to Spokane
We ride from Wallace about 7 miles east, to the eastern end of the Trail of the Coeur d’ Alenes through a steeply forested canyon. There we turn around and enjoy an easy descent back to Wallace. In the late morning, we take a short trolley ride to start a fascinating tour of one of the area's old gold mines. Led by a former miner, this is a rare glimpse into the history and reality of hard rock mining. Guests love the experience. Then we enjoy a final lunch together before our two-hour drive back to Spokane. We plan on returning you to the Centennial Hotel in Spokane Washington between 4-6 PM.
- Biking: about 7 miles in the morning.
- Accommodations: Not Included - Return to the Centennial Hotel in Spokane Washington
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Preferred Hotel in Spokane Wa, for start and end of tour: The Centennial
Here is a recommended list of things to pack. Add and subtract to meet your needs. Please keep your luggage to one medium sized soft-sided piece such as a duffel bag which packs into our trailer more easily. Next best is a soft-sided roller-bag. Otherwise, a regular roller bag will work. You will also want to bring one carry-on day pack to leave in our support van during the day, where you will access at lunch and other points when we meet up with the van. We will provide you with a ROW Adventures luggage tag on the first day of the tour, to put on your bag so we can more easily identify it at our accommodations.
Required Bike Specific Clothing
Remember that we ride 18-40 miles each day, which may be further than you are used to. This is why we recommend padded bike shorts and a few other things that may be new to you. As well, we recommend checking the weather prior to your trip departure and adjusting the below quantities accordingly based on current forecasts.
3-4 pairs of padded bike shorts or padded liners
1 pair of full-length bike pants or athletic pants
3-4 short-sleeve performance fabric shirts or bike jerseys, bright colors are great for visibility
2-3 long sleeve performance fabric shirts
1 light fleece or performance jacket for layering
4-6 pairs of performance fabric socks
1 waterproof rain jacket
1 pair of waterproof rain pants
- 1 pair of bike gloves, short-fingered and padded preferred
- Helmet (helmets are included with bike rental, but many people prefer their personal helmet)
- 1 helmet liner or thin hat
- 1 water bottle or hydration pack (We provide one insulated bike water bottle and recommend you bring a second one as well)
- Personal handlebar or seat bag (Will be provided if you don’t have one)
- Hydration pack
- Sun brim or visor for your helmet.
- Chamois cream or butter
- Full fingered bike gloves or glove liners *for cool forecasts
- Toe covers for your biking shoes *for cool forecasts
- Helmet or handlebar mirror
- Your personal bike shoes (if clip in, be sure to bring your own pedals)
- Personal bike seat
- Padded seat cover
- Cycling cap
- Waterproof case for your camera or phone
- 2-3 long bottoms (pants, skirt, etc)
- 1-2 short bottoms (shorts, skirt, etc)
- 2-4 short sleeve shirts
- 1-2 long sleeve shirts
- Walking or casual shoes
- 1-2 lightweight layering pieces such as a sweater, jacket, fleece
- Bathing suit or shorts
- Any necessary prescription medications
- Allergy or other needed medications
- Personal hygiene items
- Sunscreen & SPF lip balm
- Back up contact lenses or glasses
- Polarized sunglasses
Layering is a critical component to being prepared for outdoor activities and best prepares you for changing temperatures. First, wear a good wicking layer as your “against the skin layer”. This will help with moisture management and the dryer you are, the more comfortable you will be. Wool or synthetics are the best. They both work – the biggest pro on the wool side is odor control. Wool is naturally anti-bacterial and can be worn for multiple days in a row. It also provides excellent temperature regulation. Synthetics, on the other hand, dry a little faster and are often lighter weight. You can’t really go wrong as long as you aren’t wearing cotton (unless it’s an incredibly hot day!)
- Cell phone and charger
- Credit/debit cards
- Medical insurance cards
- Travel insurance confirmation (if purchased)
A Short History of America's Rails-to-Trails
Best Things To Do In Coeur D'Alene Idaho: Nearby activities to check out when visiting the area
Best Places to Eat in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho: Check out nearby staff favorites while you are in town!
Top 5 Family Vacations for 2023 - Learn about which trips we recommend for families and which adventure is right for you.
Terms & Conditions
Please see our full Terms & Conditions HERE.