The Cadillac of Biking Trails
The paved, non-motorized, mostly-flat Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes rail trail is “The Cadillac of biking trails,” says long-time Wallace resident and trail booster Rick Shaffer, who is known locally as the Prime Minister of Historic Wallace, Idaho. “It’s 72 miles of paved, non-motorized glory,” says Shaffer. “That and the Silver Valley’s great mining history and the lake portion of the trail with all of the flora and fauna, it’s just fantastic.”
The trail extends from the Plummer prairie near the Washington/Idaho state line east along Coeur d’Alene Lake and the Coeur d’Alene River past chain lakes, farmland, and forest and through the Silver Valley until its terminus in the small town of Mullan near the Montana border. There is no fee to use the fully-developed Idaho State Parks trail, which features many trailheads, outhouses, informational kiosks and options to stop in small towns along whatever section you choose to explore.
“You don’t need to do a huge section or the whole trail,” explains Shaffer. He recommends the 10-mile stretch along Lake Coeur d’Alene or the 35-mile section along the Coeur d’Alene River between Pinehurst and Harrison. “That section is like biking through a zoo. Elk, moose, deer, hundreds of birds, and there is water on both sides of the trail in some places. It’s just incredible.” Shaffer also recommends the stretch from Mullan to Osburn in the Silver Valley. “It’s downhill, in the trees, and it follows some whitewater sections along the river.”
Some of the popular trailheads recommended on the Friends of the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes website include Plummer, Harrison, Bull Run, Cataldo, Enaville, Pinehurst, Silver Mountain, Wallace, and Mullan. But don’t expect a mob of other cyclists when you go. “People often call and ask when the trail isn’t crowded,” relays Shaffer. “I tell them our most busy day is your slowest day wherever you normally ride back home.”
Plan your trip and purchase maps at Friendsofcdatrails.org/trail-of-the-coeur-dalenes or give Rick Shaffer a call for trail and lodging information at 208-691-9169. //
[Feature photo “Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes” courtesy of Silver Mountain Resort.]