The 25-mile trail is open year round, so while the fall biking and hiking are great, winter opens up the opportunity for fat bike, snowshoe, and Nordic ski adventures once the snow flies. When planning a trip, in addition to weather considerations, be sure to have the latest trail info, including which sections have been surfaced and if there are any public closures. (As of September 2018, there are three washouts that have closed sections of the trail.)
As of fall 2018, two 6+ mile segments of the trail are surfaced and are prime for day hiking and biking outings. The Curlew Lake section, accessed from one of three trailheads, is the best bet for exploring a 5.6-mile section of the trail along the lake that includes a scenic trestle crossing.
Volunteers are working on the other improved section of trail along the Kettle River near Curlew to fix a washout there in hopes of having that stretch open in time for fall colors.
Longer rides on the full 25-mile-long trail (on a mountain bike or fat bike that can handle the ballast railroad rock sections) will have to wait until the washout-damaged sections have been re-opened to the public. However, right now riders can start in Republic on the 5.5-mile Golden Tiger Pathway (mix of asphalt and gravel also open to ATVs) and pedal to the junction with the Ferry County Rail Trail and then all the way to the north end of Curlew Lake and back to town (Republic Brewing Company anyone?). This makes a 25+ mile adventure ride with a section of ballast rock that will be best on the right bike with fat tires and/or suspension.
To plan your trip, and make a donation to this volunteer-led rail-trail effort, visit the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners (FCRTP) website at Ferrycountyrailtrail.com. The map on the FCRTP site highlights the improved sections, trailheads, campgrounds, and other facilities along the trail and is a great trip-planning resource. For up-to-date trail information, follow the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners on Facebook. //
[Feature photo: Courtesy of Ferry County Rail Trail]