Riding the Route of the Hiawatha

About the Route of the Hiawatha

The Route of the Hiawatha was once known as one of the most scenic railways in the country.  It has now been converted to rails to trails.  USA Today ranks the Route of the Hiawatha in the top ten rails to trails and it is on the Rails to Trails Conservancy’s Hall of Fame list.

The trail begins on the western edge of Montana and crosses the border into Idaho. There is a sign which marks the state lines inside the first tunnel, for which it is famous.  The 1.66 mile Taft Tunnel is dark, cold, and wet!  The Route of the Hiawatha also travels along 7 trestles and through an additional 8 tunnels while featuring views of the Bitterroots.

While the trail passes through the National Forest, it is not free to ride, as it is operated by a private company.  Tickets may be purchased at Lookout Pass Ski Area, online, or at the recommended starting trailhead a few miles up the road at the East Portal. National Parks passes do not apply.