Northern Idaho – Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes

Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes Idaho

The Trail passes lakes, streams, farmland and cute towns.

Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes Idaho

The Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes is 72 miles of paved

cycling bliss.

Rails-to-trails Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes Idaho

The Trail crosses old train bridges.

We started getting into cycling when we

arrived in Idaho.

Kellogg Idaho

Kellogg, Idaho is a special town that has an eclectic feeling.

St. George is popular in Kellogg, ID.

One of Kellogg's chalet homes.

Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes Idaho

It winds through the woods.

Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes Idaho

Plaques describe the ecology and history of the area.

Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes Idaho

Portions of the Trail flank a wide lake.

Moose tracks on the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes Idaho

Muddy moose tracks!

Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes bike trail Idaho

Beautifully maintained by Union Pacific, there are rest areas

and restrooms along the trail.

Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes bicycle path Idaho

The scenery is stunning.

Riverview along the bike path Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes Idaho

The water is blue-green because of the high mineral


Bicycle trail Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes Idaho

We will be back.

Northern Idaho

August 26-September 2, 2007 - Leaving the North Cascades, we visited Coeur

d'Alene briefly and headed east towards Montana.  In the town of Smelterville, 30

miles east of Coeur d'Alene we stopped overnight at Walmart.  We noticed a paved

bike path next to the

parking lot and took out

our bikes to explore.

We soon discovered

that we were in the

middle of the charming

72-mile-long Trail of the

Coeur d'Alenes rails-to-trails bike path.  We found a campground and

stayed a week so we could explore the bike path more fully.  Each day

we drove the truck to a trailhead, unloaded the bikes and rode a ten

mile segment, out and back.

The valley area 30 miles east of Coeur d'Alene is one of the

richest mineral deposits in the world, and the town of Kellogg is

the heart of this area.  In the 1940's it was poisoned by the toxic

silver mining process.  In the 1980's the mine closed, the

railroad shut down and everyone lost their jobs.  As one woman

put it, it looked like an atom bomb had gone off. A fellow who

grew up here in the 1940's said you could taste the sulphur

dioxide in your mouth all the time and the air was always hazy

blue from the smoke stacks and smelters. Rather than flee

when their world crashed in the 1980's, many townspeople

stayed.  Declared an EPA superfund site, Union Pacific cleaned

up their mess by burying their toxic waste along the tracks and creating the 72-mile long paved bike path.  The high school

students planted a million trees on the barren hills surrounding town in the 1980's, and today those hills are lush, the air is clear,

and the town is optimistic.

There is an artsy

flair to the town.

Someone in town

loves St. George

and the dragon: we

found them in a

sculpture and a

mural.  Several

homes had an

alpine look to them,

and nearby there is

a ski area complete

with gondola and chair lifts.  There is something upbeat and

offbeat about Kellogg that really appealed to us.

The Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes is a gem.  There are

trailheads along its length, each with display maps showing

the highlights.  It passes through the historic town of Wallace,

the simple mobile home town of Osburn, the former mining

towns of Smelterville and Kellogg, and through the lakeside

town of Harrison.  Some parts of the trail are busy and others

are very quiet.  Mostly alone on the trail, there were times

when we shared it with cyclists, dog walkers, and inline

skaters, but there was never any congestion.

In one lonely area, far from civilization, we discovered

some moose tracks.  I had been reading a book that talked

about how moose like to eat the roots of lilies, and this part

of the Trail passed a large lily pond.  Some workers

painting a train trestle further down told us a moose had

been in the area for several weeks.

After a week in this

charming part of the world

we ventured on eastwards

to northern Montana and

the stunning Glacier

National Park.