North Idaho's Best Guided Bike Tour
For the best bike bike tour of North Idaho and the Route of the Hiawatha, look no further than the 40-plus years of experience that ROW Adventures offers. Join us to explore the world-class bike trails of eastern Washington, North Idaho and Montana with the local experts. As a Coeur d’Alene Idaho and Spokane, Washington-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, including the legendary Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes and the most spectacular Route of the Hiawatha are simply world-class! You ride 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 including a stay in the quiet hamlet of Harrison, Idaho. We think most cyclist would rather ride their bikes than ride in a van. 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!
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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.
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 Miles: 29 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 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 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 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 Miles: 35-mile bike ride with optional 10-20 miles
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 Miles: 20-35 miles depending on where you turn around on the Hiawatha.
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 silver 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 to the Centennial Hotel in Spokane Washington between 4 and 6 PM.
Biking Miles: about 14 miles in the morning.
ROW Adventures operates under permits and licenses from Idaho State Parks and Recreation and the Coeur d'Alene Tribe; and the USFS, Panhandle National Forest. We are also licensed by the the Idaho Outfitter and Guides Licensing Board.
Dates & Rates
If you have a group interested in a week not listed above, please give us a call.
Make it private! Available for your private tour for a group of 10-12 at a 5% per person discount. If you have a smaller group and want a private trip, contact us for a quote. All trips require a minimum of 6 participants to be confirmed.
- $2490 per person double occupancy
- $420 single supplement
- $130 standard bike rental
- $440 E-bike rental
- Services of our talented adventure consultants and professional guides
- Accommodations as noted in the itinerary
- All meals/beverages as indicated in the itinerary
- Gratuities for meals and accommodations
- On-trail drinks and snacks
- Van support
- 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
6% Idaho sales tax
Standard Bikes: Our fleet is primarily comprised of 2022 Diamondback Division 2 Bikes
E-Bikes: Electric-Assist bikes are available for rent. All of our e-bikes are Pedego brand.
E-bikes are limited to 4 bikes per departure and are intended for people traveling with another person who is riding a regular bike. If you want to ride an E-bike because that's your preference, please sign up for our E-bike tour.