North Idaho's Best Guided Bike Tour
Explore the world-class bike trails of eastern Washington, North Idaho and Montana with the local experts. As a Coeur d’Alene Idaho-based company, this trip is in our backyard. Let us share our stories to enrich your biking adventure on two of the country’s “Hall of Fame” Rails-to-Trails routes including the amazing Hiawatha that leads you through ten tunnels and over seven canyon-spanning trestles! In addition to the Hiawatha, you ride the Route of the Olympian, the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes and the Washington/Idaho Centennial Trail.
These paved or packed-gravel bike paths are mostly level and are a cyclist’s delight. Protected from traffic, these rails-to-trails are true gems that take you along rivers, marshlands and lake shore and through forests of ponderosa pine, fir and tamarack. Unlike some bike tours of this area that involve lots of driving, our tour is designed to flow organically as you ride from town to town along the route. As we ride, our guides share their knowledge of the area’s natural and cultural history. You always have the option of a ride from our sag wagon (van). We invite you to our home!
Images & Videos
Arrive in Spokane
Arrive in Spokane, Washington at your leisure and and overnight in accommodations of your choosing.
Group Orientation, Ride from Spokane to the Idaho Border
Meet your ROW Adventures guide at 9:00 AM and check out your bike. Depending on the groups’ interests, we can 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 can drive to the trailhead at the Nine Mile Falls for a shorter ride. We can also accommodate a split in the group.
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 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 Miles: 37 miles total with an optional additional 13 miles.
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, then drive about 35 minutes south to the hamlet of Plummer, the western terminus of the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes. Our lovely, gentle-sloping downhill ride through pines and wildflowers to the shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene and Chacolet Lake are on the converted Union Pacific Railroad line. We cross the lake on a graceful railroad bridge and continue along the shores 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 1840’s. 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.
Over the past 30 years the economy has transitioned to include tourism and 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.
Biking Miles: 16 miles in the morning and 15 in the afternoon.
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 captures 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 Miles: 35-mile bike ride with optional 10-20 miles
Route of the Olympian, 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. In the day when railroads were competing for routes west, the ambitious Pacific Extension of the Milwaukee railroad was built to connect 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!
After our 9-mile ride on the Route of the Olympian we arrive at East Portal, the starting point of 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 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. At the trail’s end we can load up in our van, or you may ride back up the gentle grade part way or all 15 miles.
When the riding is done, we return to Wallace to enjoy another evening in this history mining town.
Biking Miles: 24 miles with optional 18 miles downhill from the Hiawatha on the NORPAC trail.
Morning Ride on Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, Explore Coeur d'Alene and Tubbs Hill
We drive a short distance to the eastern end of the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes and start riding from Mullen, Idaho downhill to Wallace, mainly for the sake of doing all the miles on the trail! It’s a short 7-mile ride and when done we head back to Coeur d’Alene for lunch and some free time in town. Walk around Tubbs Hill, wade into the lake for a swim, or wander down Sherman Avenue for some shopping. Soon it’s time to return to Spokane.
Dates & Rates
Make it private! Also available for your private tour for a group of 10-12 at the same price. If you have a smaller group contact us for a quote. All trips require a minimum of 6 participants to be confirmed.
July 19 and August 16, 2021, are reserved for Senior Cycling - dedicated to travelers 50 yrs of age or older.
- $1960 per person double occupancy
- $400 single supplement
- $130 standard bike rental
- $320 E-bike rental
- 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 the tour as noted
DOES NOT INCLUDE:
- Airfare/transportation beginning and ending points
- Alcohol with meals
- Items of a personal nature such as laundry
- Gratuities for guides
- Travel protection plan
- Pre-& post-trip hotel
- Parking at hotel when not complimentary
- Bike rental
Standard Bikes: Our fleet is made up of Marin Hybrid bikes with front suspension.
E-Bikes: Electric-Assist bikes are available for rent for an additional$70/day of the tour. We normally have two brands available - Aventon and Pedego. Due to supply chain disruptions we cannot guarantee the exact bike or brand that will be available.
FAQ & More
Guided - Our guided tours offer very similar itineraries that highlight the best of the region you are visiting. On these trips, we provide everything you need including lodging, meals, full van support, maintenance and repairs along the way and professional local guides. Our guided trips are great for groups that would be more comfortable with the assistance of a professional guide who not only is a cheerful team leader, but also shares stories of the historical, cultural, and natural highlights throughout the trip.
Self Guided - On a self-guided trip you are free to go at your own pace, dine on your own, and explore areas that spark your interest. We provide you with a detailed trail guide that will point out restaurants, wineries, stores and landmarks that we think are highlights of the area. Each day, we arrange for your luggage to be transferred to your next hotel, so you don’t have to haul your own gear and can travel lighter on the trail. Our self-guided biking tours are not accompanied by a guide and you won’t have the support of a van for cycling breaks. In addition you will be responsible for handling any minor bicycle repairs along the way. As a plus, our self-guided tours are more affordable than the guided options. You can see our full selection of self-guided tours on the ROW Adventure Center website.
You are more than welcome to bring your own bike on our tours. The bike rental is not included in the basic trip fee and the additional rental fee is indicated on the trip itinerary page. We also offer E-bikes for rent. Our rental bikes come with a water bottle, spare tubes, tire pump, and multi-tool. We also provide bike helmets but you may want to bring your own. Keep in mind that road bikes will not work on the Hiawatha Trail, but if you want to bring a road bike we can rent you a mountain bike for the last day of the trip. As noted, we also have electric-assist bikes available on most of our trips at an extra fee.
We have both “regular” and electric-assist (E-Bikes) available for our tours. Our regular bikes are hybrid bikes designed to be comfortable and more stable than a road bike, but not as heavy as a mountain bike. While racing frames look cool, they are not the most comfortable choice for a ride focused on site-seeing and enjoying the scenery. Plus, racing frames are designed to keep you in an aerodynamic tuck all day, which for most people is not ideal. These routes are on paved bike paths, so we do suggest road or hybrid bikes. If you bring a mountain bike however, you might want to replace the knobby treads with smoother tires that create less friction. (Note: The Route of the Hiawatha is not paved and requires hybrid or mountain bikes.)
E-Bikes or Electric Assist Bikes are ideal for allowing parties with differing abilities to enjoy riding together! You can work as much or as little as you wish with an E-bike. It’s important you are comfortable on a bike, and how to mount/dismount, keep your balance, etc.
Our bike racks and trailers do not accommodate these sorts of bikes. Sorry.
Yes, we encourage you to bring any accessories that you feel comfortable riding with, particularly as we may be covering long distances. Our Marin fleet of “regular” bikes comes with flat pedals that don’t have clip-ins, so be sure to bring both your pedals and clip-in shoes if that’s what you prefer.
In most cases, yes. If you’re renting a bike from ROW Adventures,, we’ll ensure it has had a service and is in peak riding condition before the start of the trip. En route, your guide will be able to do light maintenance and routine mechanics, such as fixing flat tires, pumping tires up, and adjusting seats. Each of the trailers is well-equipped with a tool kit, spare tires, and tubes, and we’ll do replacements free of charge on rental bikes. If you’re bringing your own bike and it needs a replacement, there will be an additional charge.
You will find distances listed on our trip itineraries. Days range from 15-45 miles on average.
The trails on our Rails-to-Trails bike tours are rated from easy to moderate. The Centennial Trail and Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes are both nicely paved bike paths, with few significant hill climbs. The Hiawatha Trail is a crushed gravel path with a slight downhill grade.
A moderate level of fitness is needed for these trips. Depending on your mileage for the day, you may be pedaling for up to five or six hours during the day. You will enjoy your trip more if you are in reasonable shape. Our E-bikes make the riding even easier. However, you should still have good balance and have some experience on a bike, be capable of getting off and on your bike, braking safely, etc. We suggest you spend some time biking at home leading up to your trip to help prepare. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
The trails where we offer these tours are ideal for families and we provide you plenty of ideas on how to make your time together the best possible. We have ideas on places to stop and other activities to break up the biking. For example, when you are in Coeur d’Alene, you might want to take an afternoon kayak tour with the ROW Adventure Center. Or just have a few hours free time to play on one of the beautiful beaches. By special arrangement you can also add a half day of rafting on the Spokane River before you start your ride or at the end, or even a full day of rafting on the Clark Fork. There are many play spots, swimming holes and places for ice cream treats along the way, providing plenty of fun for everyone. If you choose an itinerary with a stay in Kellogg, Idaho your kids might want to visit the fun waterpark too.
The trails themselves are gentle and if you have really little ones we can set you up with a bike trailer. For those a bit older, but not old enough to ride alone, we also have tag-alongs.
Yes! We can create a private departure for your group, or if you have a minimum of 10 people you can take over one of our scheduled dates. Please contact our office to design a custom tour on your preferred date.
Are hotel upgrades available?
On our scheduled guided tours hotels are booked in advance and can’t be changed. You’ll find the name and short description of the hotels chosen for each category on the full itineraries on our website. For a private, custom tour, we can arrange a higher level of accommodation, if space is available.
Sometimes, yes. Other times, no. Many of the historic inns and B&Bs in which we stay only have one bed per room while others will have two separate beds. If it’s important that you and your travel companion have separate beds, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you. That being said, only those who pay the single supplement fee will be guaranteed their own room and bed each night.
Yes, on our fully guided bike tours! At every support stop, we will provide a cooler with iced water so you can refill your water bottle. We will also have hydration powder available if you’re in need of a boost.
Yes, we can make accommodations for dietary needs and restrictions as long as we’re notified at the time of booking. Breakfasts are often served at the hotel where you stay and options may be limited.
Yes, if you need a break, the support vehicle will be available and you can opt to hop in the van per coordination with our guides.
Yes, your luggage travels in our van, so it can be accessed if needed.
Yes, guests are welcome to ride along in the van. But keep in mind we don’t offer discounts for guests who aren’t riding a bike and they will pay the regular trip cost.
When you receive your reservation materials, there will also be a packing list included, which will detail all of the essential items you need. We recommend packing clothing for all weather conditions and will suggest waterproof clothing based on your tour’s location and length.
Only in the most extreme circumstances when severe weather events are forecast will we cancel a tour. Otherwise, we will ride on through both rain and sunshine.
Full van support means that our vehicle will regularly meet up with the group along the cycling route to offer light refreshments, water refills, and transport for riders who don’t want to bike the next leg. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there may be stretches of bike paths that have limited access for van support and your guide will let you know ahead of time so you’re aware of your options.
Any necessary adjustments will be made to your bike on arrival to ensure it’s comfortable for you to ride. When making your reservation, it’s important that you provide us with an accurate height and inseam measurement (without shoes), so we can secure the right bike for you. If you have any queries about your bicycle fit, our friendly staff are happy to assist.
Fly to Spokane, Washington (airport code GEG).
Arrive in Spokane the day prior to the trip to ensure you don’t miss the early departure on the first day of riding. Spokane is a great place to explore with many exciting culinary options, things to do and see as well as recreation stores to support any last minute purchases. We will happily provide recommendations on accommodations at your time of booking.
Our guided tours may be booked online. It is always good to start planning your trip earlier than later. Our region is a popular vacation area during the summer months, and lodging is in high demand, meaning our accommodation options become more limited the closer we are to the summer months.