Author Topic: Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes  (Read 2778 times)

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Offline tsteven4

Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
« on: February 20, 2012, 08:14:25 am »
I am interested in possible routes from Missoula that use the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes and then go west to Seattle.  Some possibilities I am considering are a connection with the Northern Tier in Sandpoint or connection with the Lewis & Clark at Lewiston or another point to the west.  This seems like a rather large deviation to pick up the 70+ mile Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, but that trail looks very nice.  I am fine with the extra miles if the connection can be done on roads that make for good cycling.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2012, 03:45:42 pm »
We did basically what you are looking at last year. From Missoula to the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, as far as I could tell there's really no great way. We used I-90 from Mullan, ID (east end of the trail) to Missoula for the most part. Where we could get off the interstate and use parallel roads we did, but there are sections where it didn't seem possible, like the 30 odd miles from Lookout Pass to St. Regis. There is the old rail-grade that goes over Lookout Pass that we could have possibly used, but since no one could give us a straight answer as to what condition it was in (we knew it was unpaved, but didn't know how graded it would be) we just took I-90 over the pass. You could use MT 135/MT 200/US 93 to get from Missoula to St. Regis, but it would be longer and you would still need to use I-90 from St. Regis to Mullan.

Westward from the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, the route we took departed the trail at Harrison, ID, headed north on ID 97 on the east shore of Coeur d'Alene lake to where it intersected I-90, got on the freeway for a couple miles, and then got off to follow the Centennial Trail through Coeur d'Alene city into Spokane. From Spokane northward we used US 395 to connect to the Northern Tier/WA 20 at Colville. (Note: when we did this trip we were travelling west-east.)

Choosing the Colville-Spokane-Coeur d'Alene-Missoula route required us to make some compromises, like quite a bit of freeway riding in Montana. We found it tolerable, if not perfect riding. Thankfully the scenery was beautiful and the traffic not so bad. Others might not like it.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2012, 12:33:01 am »
I've done the trail twice and found it to be a real gem...great scenery and, of course, no cars.  However, I would not create great deviations in a route that required lots of freeway riding to do it.  There are so many great low traffic roads throughout north Idaho and western Montana that I'd research them.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline litespeed

Re: Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2012, 09:46:45 am »
The Route of the Hiawatha is a fine ride but would have put you a bit out of your way. It has a gentle railroad grade and beautiful scenery. You need a light for the tunnels and cash for the trail fee. I have never ridden the Trail of the Cour d'Alenes but it is probably more interesting and scenic than the highway along the St. Joe River that you head west on after going down the Hiawatha Trail.

Offline commuter

Re: Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2012, 08:37:48 pm »
Hi
I rode this route a few years ago except I came up from Lewiston, ID to Plummer, ID and caught the Trail of the Coeur d' Alenes. First of all, I recommend that you include this trail because I think it is the most beautiful paved bike trail in the US.
For my route,  I started from Minnesota but for this response I started from the State Park campground in Lewiston,ID  Rode up the switchbacked Lewiston Grade. Camped at a private campground in Potlatch,ID   The next day I road the trail and camped at a campground west of Kellog near a town that started with an "E"   The next day I rode over Thompson Pass and camped in a nice campground on the western edge of the town of Thompson Falls that had an all you can eat buffet ( I tend to remember these things) The next day was a long day to Missoula on roads with traffic but with an exceptable shoulder. I opted to ride the trail from Plummer to Kellog but I think the trail extends a little farther east of Kellog

I hope this helps        Steve

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2012, 09:04:33 pm »
Quote from: commuter link=topic=10382.msg52376# I opted to ride the trail from Plummer to Kellog but I think the trail extends a little farther east of Kellog

[/quote
Yes, it extends about 20 more miles to Mullen, one of the strangest towns I've ever seen.  I'll leave it at that so as not to influence others' impressions.
The trail get somewhat steeper east of Wallace--one of the coolest towns I've ever seen.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2012, 12:43:11 am »
The next day I road the trail and camped at a campground west of Kellog near a town that started with an "E"

That would be Enaville.

The next day I rode over Thompson Pass and camped in a nice campground on the western edge of the town of Thompson Falls that had an all you can eat buffet ( I tend to remember these things)

Did you ride to Thompson Pass/Falls from Wallace via Burke? How was that? Paved? Looks like mostly forest service roads. If I was to do the ride between the trail and Missoula again, I might try that option.

Yes, it extends about 20 more miles to Mullen, one of the strangest towns I've ever seen.  I'll leave it at that so as not to influence others' impressions.
The trail get somewhat steeper east of Wallace--one of the coolest towns I've ever seen.

It's only 7 1/2 miles from Wallace to Mullan, but second the steepness of the trail section between the two (but it's not mountain steep, maybe 3% grade, tops), strangeness of Mullan, and coolness of Wallace. It was a shame we only had a half-day to spend in Wallace. Next time I'd take at least one break day there, if not two.

*****
Overall, I think incorporating the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes is a good idea, difficulties of getting from the east end to Missoula notwithstanding. It is definitely scenic, west half more so than the east. And the east half has Wallace. Plus, we saw a moose!

Offline tsteven4

Re: Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2012, 08:40:55 am »
Thanks to everyone for their ideas and information.  I am intrigued by the Lewiston grade commuter mentioned, a.k.a. the old spiral highway http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewiston,_Idaho#Highways.  I may have to turn this trip around and go east so we can climb this (and have much more favorable winds along the Columbia).

For future reference Rick Shaffer, the "Prime Minister" of the Friends of the Coeur d'Alene Trails had the following ideas. You can reach him through http://friendsofcdatrails.org/contact.html.

Quote
Ideas- take Rte 200 from Missoula to Paradise to Thompson Falls; come over the divide to Murray and Rte 456 over Dobson Pass to Wallace which is 7 miles in from the e trailhead of the Trail of the Cdlens.   All good road.

 
#2 per my knowledge, you can get most of the way from Missoula to St. Regis on the frontage road Along I-90.  Then take the 17 mile ride to Paradise and follow the above.

 
If you have tires that will take dirt, u can go all almost all the way from St. Regis to the Silver Valley on a frontage road.

 
Also from St. Regis, you can take a great ride over Gold Creek Pass to Avery – St. Marys.

 
More- after doing the trail of the Coeur d’Alenes; you can ride up 95 to Coeur d’Alene and jump on the bi state Centennial Trail into Spokane.

 
Of course, wider tires allow for more options.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2012, 01:17:27 pm »
The Dobson Pass area is very cool and fun to ride (down anyway). Be prepared for some very steep sections going over Dobson.  I rarely get off and walk, but I did there in a couple of places.  There is little traffic, so I also got to do a lot a switchbacking on steep parts.  I find this technique to be a good way to reduce the grade and stay on the bike--I use the whole road, both lanes, back and forth.  Another reason I use a mirror!
May the wind be at your back!

Offline tsteven4

Re: Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2012, 02:33:21 pm »
Quote
Be prepared for some very steep sections going over Dobson.

Well that settles it.  We managed Sonora Pass a few times fully loaded, I welcome the steep!  Bruce put some good gears on our bikes, front/rear = 22/30 and 22/32.