“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.”Sylvia Plath
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Flat, easy riding (and gliding!) makes traversing the trails connecting Montana, Idaho, and Washington a breeze. Our adventure begins on the border of Montana and Idaho on a stunning trail you won’t soon forget, crossing into Idaho’s scenic Silver Valley, and eventually dipping into Washington, ending on the smooth paths of charming Spokane.
The Silver Valley of Idaho is packed full of Mother Nature’s beauty. Thick forests, rambling rivers, and vivid-blue mountain lakes will have you asking yourself why you haven’t explored this paradise sooner. Set in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains in the northern part of the state, the valley gets its name from gold rushers panning for gold but finding an abundance of silver instead. In fact, a few of the trails we’ll be riding on were once old mine railroad lines.
The local and statewide communities have made huge efforts to create fabulous recreational tree-lined trails cutting through mountainsides via train tunnels and skirting around beautiful rivers and lakes. We’ll enjoy a number of these on our adventure – from the 72-mile Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, originally used as a footpath by the Coeur d’Alene Indians, to the Route of the Hiawatha, a 15-mile long, all downhill trail that runs through 10 train tunnels (including one that is 1.66 miles long!) and 7 sky-high trestles.
All trails but the Route of the Hiawatha are mostly flat and well-maintained making them excellent skating trails. Those who choose to skate on this tour will need to bike on the second day.
Private Tour Info
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Trip Favorite Moments & Reviews
“My overall impression was outstanding and my hope is there will be several more just like it! I loved the latitude to come and go as we pleased which eliminated the “herding” feel that normally turns me off of group tours.”Jane S.
“The variety of trails, oh my! I loved the beauty and challenge of both Trail of Hiawatha and Trail of Couer d’Alene.”Marlena C
- Dates: July 13 - 17, 2020
- Cost Per Person: $2,600
- Optional Single Supplement: $500
- Private Tour Minimum: 8
- Activities: Biking, Skating
- Difficulty: All Abilities
- Guides: Sonya Mapp, Aaron Rothfolk, Jeff Whitmire
Other Info: -> Optional bike rental of $35/day.
-> If you are a skater, or are only renting a bike for the Trail of the Hiawatha day, the bike rental for this day only is $45.
-> Private tour can be biking only. Possible to have a lower group size of 4 - 5 ($2,700/person) or 6 - 7 ($2,550).
- Skate or bike 72 miles on the continuous, car-free paved Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes.
- Meet the "Prime Minister" of historic Wallace, Idaho and have your photo taken at the "Center of the Universe."
- Explore the fun lake resort town of Couer d'Alene.
- Bike through tunnels and over soaring trestles on the Route of the Hiawatha.
- Cross off three states (Montana, Idaho, and Washington) on your skating/biking bucket list!
We meet after lunch in Spokane, Washington either at the airport if you fly in that morning or downtown if you arrive the day before. We then shuttle to the nearby Fish Lake Trail for introductions to our bicycles (if applicable) and each other! Part of the 130-mile-long Columbia Plateau State Park Trail, this short and flat paved portion of the trail is just outside Spokane and a short drive from the airport. The route is a former railroad corridor that cuts through scenic forests. This out-and-back ride offers the perfect warmup for the trip. From there it is a 90-minute drive to the small but memorable mountain town of Wallace, Idaho - population 759! We'll check into our hotel and get cleaned up before meeting with the unforgettable "Prime Minister" of Wallace on a walking tour of town (also known as a journey to the Center of the Universe) before our dinner at The Fainting Goat, a local tapas restaurant.
Distance: 10 Miles
Everybody is on bikes today! Our destination? The "Crown Jewel" of Rail-to-Trail Adventures: The Route of the Hiawatha! This section of the Milwaukee rail line boasts 15 miles of blissful biking with ten train tunnels, including the 1.6 mile-long St. Paul Pass Tunnel (also known as the Taft Tunnel) and seven sky-high trestles. The best part? It's all slightly downhill! There will be plenty of time to enjoy our ride, stopping for photos and interpretive markers. We'll then head back to Wallace where you can choose from a number of activities including a hike on the Pulaski Trail commemorating Big Ed Pulaski, his crew and the Fires of 1910; the Oasis Bordello Museum; the Northern Pacific Railroad Depot Museum; or a locally brewed beer at Wallace Brewing. (Please note that skating is not possible on the Route of the Hiawatha. We will rent a bicycle for this day for those who need it.)
Distances: 15 or 27 Miles
Yesterday's trail was the "Crown Jewel" of rail trails, but today's trail, the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, is in the Rails-to-Trails Hall of Fame, and likely to be a day of skating and bicycling you will never forget! Whether you choose to do all 72 miles or just a portion you'll be amazed at how the miles fly by as you skate or bike almost all the way across the Panhandle of Idaho along the Coeur d'Alene River, through forests, farmlands, wetlands and over Lake Couer d'Alene via the Chatcolet Bridge. Keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife such as osprey, waterfowl, deer, and even moose! We'll then head to the beautiful lake resort town of Coeur d'Alene, which will be our home for the next two nights.
Distances: 27, 49, or 72 Miles
This morning, we'll start our day directly out the door from our hotel, skating and biking along the beautiful lake and onto the North Idaho Centennial Trail. We'll make our way out of Coeur d'Alene and head towards the Idaho/Washington state line, gliding and riding alongside rivers and bridges, and through small towns. You'll have the choice to meet your guides at the state line to shuttle back to Coeur d'Alene, head back to town on your skates or bike, or continue on to Mirabeau for some added mileage. Tonight, we'll enjoy a delicious farewell dinner served up by one of the local restaurants.
Distances: 16, 32, or 48 Miles
Our final morning is a perfect out-and-back on the North Idaho Centennial Trail along the shores of Lake Coeur d'Alene. We turn around at the trail's end, Higgens Point, where you can stop for a break to take in the stunning lake views. You can then choose to skate or pedal back to the hotel or hop in our shuttle, arriving in time for a shower before checking out. You are then free to grab lunch before we depart for the Spokane Airport.
Distances: 7 or 14 MilesBook this Tour
NIGHTS 1 & 2 >> WALLACE INN / WALLACE, ID
At the base of the Bitterroot Mountains, the Wallace Inn is the perfect base camp for us to explore Idaho's Silver Valley. It is is also located in a charmingly cute little town.
NIGHTS 3 & 4 >> BLACKWELL BOUTIQUE HOTEL / COEUR d'ALENE, ID
The Blackwell is the juxtaposition of historical grandeur blended with contemporary comforts and design. It's located in a quiet, tucked away neighborhood yet close to trails, downtown and the lake.Book this Tour
Arrival & Departure
We meet you just after lunch in Spokane, WA either at the airport (airport code: GEG) or at a designated hotel. We then shuttle straight to our first trailhead so you'll want to dress ready to skate or ride. On the last day of the tour, we'll have time for a morning skate/ride and a quick shower before we check out of the hotel and head to the airport, arriving by 1:00 pm.
- At least two Zephyr guides accompany each trip and a third is added as necessary.
- Double occupancy lodging is included. If you are traveling solo, we will match you with another traveler of the same gender. However, you may pay a single supplement to have your own room.
- All of your dinners and breakfasts are included. Gratuity for these meals is also included. In general, we leave lunches open so that you have time to explore and enjoy the local flavors en route.
- All your transportation is included once you meet your guides on the first day.
- All trail fees and permits are included.
- NOT INCLUDED Beverages, desserts, lunches, gratuities to your guides, personal expenses and travel to and from the destination.
July is a great time to visit the Silver Valley, with mostly blue skies and very little chance of rain (though we'd still recommend packing rain gear just in case!). The average high temperate is 81 degrees so it can get quite warm during the day and the average low temperature is 50 degrees.
Extending Your Stay
You might consider spending an extra day in Spokane before or after the tour, as we don’t spend much time there during the tour. There is also plenty of additional biking as well as hiking and water sports to be found in North Idaho, and we'd be happy to make recommendations based on your interests.
Changes to Your Itinerary
While everything under “What is Included” will remain the same, the actual restaurants, hotels, and activities listed in our itineraries are subject to modifications. Changes that are out of our control are common – a restaurant closes or loses its awesome chef, a winery changes its visiting hours, a hotel gets remodeled, a road or trail undergoes construction. You are entrusting us to create an outstanding vacation for you and so it is possible we may take the liberty of making necessary changes (even at the last minute, during the guides’ scout trip) to the itinerary that will improve your overall trip experience. If there is any one experience that is going to make or break your trip, please discuss this with us in advance! We will attempt to keep our website itinerary as current as possible and communicate any major changes with you in the weeks prior to the tour.
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