The Lookout Pass ski and recreation area outside of Mullan, Idaho, plans to open the Hiawatha Scenic Bike Trail route on Friday.
Considered a crown jewel of the National Rail-to-Trail Initiative, the Route of the Hiawatha winds through the Bitterroot Mountains in the St. Joe Ranger District of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest along a abandoned section of the Milwaukee Railroad. Its 1.6-2%, all-downhill trail straddles the Idaho-Montana state line for 15 miles, includes 10 tunnels, and passes through seven steel train trestles. Along the way, interpretive panels tell the story of the railway, the forest and the history of the region. The trail will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily until September 19.
More than 70,000 cyclists rode the trail last summer, said Matt Sawyer, marketing manager for Lookout Pass Resort in a press release.
The ski area will open on June 12 and feature mountain biking and hiking downhill served by ski lifts, scenic chairlift rides up the mountain, a nine hole frisbee golf course at the top, bungee jumping and picking blueberries later in the season. The resort will be open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until September 19, with the exception of July 9-11, when only panoramic elevators and bungee jumping will be offered during the archery festival in Mountain.
Lookout Pass has developed five top-to-bottom downhill mountain bike trails and more are planned. The trails are suitable for families and do not include jumps or wooden elements.
People planning to hike the trail are encouraged to make reservations for the day they plan to visit, especially when renting equipment. A variety of different styles of bikes, lights, bike trailers and other equipment are available for hire. Rental bikes can be delivered to the trailhead for an additional fee, or people can rent bikes themselves from the Lookout Pass ski area to the trailhead, a distance of 7 miles. The resort provides hitch-mounted bicycle racks or strap racks at no additional cost to those who rent bicycles.
Special events this summer include three full moon night hikes on the trail on June 24, July 24, and August 22. The Hiawatha Back to Nature Trail run is scheduled for June 13.