Author Topic: Spokane - Missoula - Spokane Loop  (Read 1458 times)

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Offline roadrunner

Spokane - Missoula - Spokane Loop
« on: March 29, 2012, 02:02:52 am »
I'm planning a tour this summer of a loop from Spokane to Missoua, taking in the Spokane an North Idaho Centennial Trails, Trail of the Coeur d'Alene and Route of the Hiawatha, and back to Spokane including the Lewis & Clark Route to Lewiston.  I'm seeking information regarding traffic, terrain, services, etc. on the following portions of the route:
   a. Getting from the North Idaho Centennial Trail to the beginning of the Trail of the Couer d'Alene.  Alternatives appear to be US-95 west of the Lake of the Couer d'Alene or Highway 97 east of the lake.
   b. Between the east end of the Trail of the Hiawatha and St. Regis, MT., are frontage roads passable for touring bikes with 35 mm tires present or is riding the I-90 shoulder the way to go?
   c. Lewiston, ID, to Spokane -- US-195 through Colvax vs. US-95 and Highways 58 and 278 through Potlatch and Plummer. 

Thanks for any information and advice.

Offline CMajernik

Re: Spokane - Missoula - Spokane Loop
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2012, 10:33:03 am »
I can answer question B. There are no continuous frontage roads between Taft (exit 5 on I-90 where you access the east portal of the Hiawatha Route) and St. Regis (exit 33). So you'll have to ride I-90 shoulders. There is a road, and it was paved many years ago, called the Mullan Gulch Rd., between Henderson (exit 22) and St. Regis but it goes up and over a pass. I don't know if it is still paved. From the east portal of the Hiawatha there's about 2-3 miles of dirt/gravel to reach the Taft exit. And it costs to ride the Hiawatha. http://www.skilookout.com/hiawatha/pdf/map.pdfhttp://g.co/maps/tr5z5
And I just noticed on this map at the east end it shows Forest Service gravel/dirt routing between Mullan and Taft: http://friendsofcdatrails.org/our_map.html
Carla Majernik
Routes and Mapping Program Director

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
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Offline John Nettles

Re: Spokane - Missoula - Spokane Loop
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2012, 11:43:00 am »
Wow, it is $10 for a day pass to ride this short rail trail!  Is the trail that nice?

I hope to be doing some off-road touring this summer in the Clearwater and Boise National Forests so I thought of doing the trail.  I probably will but gotta admit, the $10 seems awfully steep for the length.  Heck, I could buy a new 400 mile ACA map for that  ;D!
Happy trails and may the wind be at your back!
John

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Spokane - Missoula - Spokane Loop
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2012, 05:04:00 pm »
a. Getting from the North Idaho Centennial Trail to the beginning of the Trail of the Couer d'Alene.  Alternatives appear to be US-95 west of the Lake of the Couer d'Alene or Highway 97 east of the lake.

My girlfriend April and I rode between Spokane and Missoula via Couer d'Alene Trail last summer as part of a bigger trip. I thought the Trail was great!

Getting between the Centennial Trail and the Trail of the Couer d'Alene we used the Idaho 97 routing. We thought it was good. A few things to note about it:
  • To get from the end of the Centennial trail to ID-97 you'll have to ride on the shoulder of I-90 for a couple miles. There didn't seem like any other way to go that didn't involve bushwacking or swimming. At the end of the trail there is a part of the chainlink fence bordering I-90 that is "bent". You can move this section to get onto the freeway.
  • 97 is windy/rolly with small climbs (500 or so feet) on either end of the windy/rolly section. We were warned about traffic and poor sight distances, but found the road was fine. There really wasn't much traffic on it. And the road was quite scenic.
  • There's a nice USFS campground a couple miles south of the I-90/ID-97 interchange. (Beauty Creek)
  • You'll get on the trail in the town of Harrison, which is several miles east of the western terminus of the trail. So if you wanted to ride the whole trail you'll have to do an out-and-back from here.

 
b. Between the east end of the Trail of the Hiawatha and St. Regis, MT., are frontage roads passable for touring bikes with 35 mm tires present or is riding the I-90 shoulder the way to go?

As Carla pointed out, you'll have to use the I-90 shoulder.
We used I-90 from Mullan, ID (east end of the Couer d'Alene 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.

More about the trail can be found in this thread:
http://www.adventurecycling.org/forums/index.php?topic=10382.msg52387#msg52387