Rain, Snow, etc. will not be sufficient reason to cancel a reservation. We can issue a Rain-Check for inclement weather experienced along the trail.
NO Refunds or Credit will be issued for NO SHOWS!
Confirmed Cancelations received within 72 Hours of your reservation date will be assessed a 25% cancelation fee.
Lookout Pass may cancel shuttle operations due to unsafe road conditions without notice. Fortunately this has not been necessary at any time over the last few years.
Lookout Pass Ski Area operates the Route of the Hiawatha. The Ski Area is located adjacent to I-90 at the Idaho-Montana state line at Exit 0, 12 miles east of historic town of Wallace, ID. The actual Trailhead for the Route of the Hiawatha is located 5 mile down I-90 into MT (Take Exit 5) and then 2 miles up (Rte 506) a dirt road. This area is called the Taft Trailhead and is located just off Rte 506.
Bikes, helmets & rental lights, breakfast, lunch and picnic food service, a retail/souvenir shop plus day use passes and shuttle tickets are all available at the Lookout Pass ski area. Credit cards are accepted there. The Ski Area base lodge is open daily from 8 am to 4 pm, (PDT).
Bike Rentals are NOT available at any of the trailheads without prior reservations. The main trailhead (East Portal or Taft Trailhead) is located 7 miles to the east of Lookout Pass off I-90 at Taft, Exit 5 in Montana. Just follow the signs from the exit ramp to the East Portal trailhead. There is a large parking area and two restrooms at the East Portal. At Ski Lookout Pass we supply bike racks, as a courtesy service, for those needing a means to transport our rental bikes to the trail head. Our strap on racks can carry up to 3 bikes. Our receiver hitch racks can carry up to 5 bikes. If you do not wish to transport bikes with your vehicle, you can arrange for delivery of bikes to the trailhead by calling the area. There is understandably a fee charged for this service. See the Rental Page of the website for details & fees. Please make sure to give us at least 48 hours notice regarding delivery requests so we can get them into the cue! Later requests may be delayed due to other orders already in the cue before yours.
Q. Do we need reservations for bike rentals?
A. YES Reservations are strongly recomended, especially on busy weekends and during the peak season which starts when kids get out of school thru Labor Day weekend. Guests are responsible for transporting bike rentals from Lookout Pass to the Hiawatha trailhead at East Portal. Complimentary bike racks are available for guests to transport rented bikes to the trailhead. Make your RESERVATIONS ON OUR WEBSITE a minimum of 24 hours in advance and ideally weeks or months in advance as some dates sell out very early: Questions Call 208.744.1234 x19.
Q. Are Helmets and Lights required to ride the trail?
A. YES, lights are required. You may bring your own, or rent a 300-400 lumen light and/or helmet from us.
A. The use of Helmets is highly recommended for all Trail riders and REQUIRED for those younger than 18yrs of age in compliance with Idaho state law.
Q. Are e-bikes allowed on the trail?
A. YES Class 1 E-Bikes & Class 2 e-bikes with disabled throttles can be used on the trail. See full answer below:
Lookout Associates operates under a Special Use Permit thruough the USDA Forest Service (FS). Within our permit we are authorized to operate Class 1 e-bikes. The FS definition of a Class 1 e-bike is that the e-bike is equipped with a motor that provides assistance ONLY when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches the speed of 20 MPH.
Class 2 e-bikes are allowed within the Special Permit area so long as the e-bike throttle has been disabled for the entire trail, and checked by Hiawatha Trail staff to fit within the FS definition of a Class 1 e-bike.
Class 3 e-bikes are prohibited at all times.
See our RULES PAGE (item #6) for a little more insight on this current directive by the US Forest Service.
Q. Do you offer group discounts?
A. Group Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more who make a reservation in advance. Group Reservation can be booked thru our new online RESERVATION SYSTEM To use this system you will need to know everyones Full Name, Date of Birth: mm/dd/yyyy, their height to reserve bikes and what they may want for lunch Turkey, Ham or Vegitarian subs etc. For groups over 50 people you can call 208.744.1234 x 19, 8am to 5pm. to learn more.
Q. Where can we Buy Trail Pass Tickets to ride the Hiawatha trail? Please note RESERVATIONS ARE NOW STRONGLY ENCOURAGED SO NO ONE GETS TURNED AWAY! We suggest you go first to Ski Lookout Pass to get Trail Tickets, Shuttle Passes, Pick up Rental Bikes and while here visit our food court for drinks, snacks, sack lunches to go & check out our gift shop.
Lookout Pass Ski Area is located just - 200 yards off I-90 at Exit 0 on the ID-MT Border.
Q. If we bring our own bikes, can we take them on the trail & shuttle?
A. Yes. The shuttles are equipped to transport regular bikes from the Pearson Trailhead to the Roland Trailhead or vice versa. We currently transport regular bikes, mtn bikes, recumbent bikes, bikes built for two, canvas type child trailers and adult tricycles. We ask that you make special arrangements thru our reservations office 208.744.1234 x19 for wheel chairs.
NOTE: E-Bikes & Fat Bikes are considerably heavier or have fatter tires. We charge an additional $10 over and above the standard shuttle fee to deal with any oversized or heavier bikes. See prices on the shuttle page. Yes we transport them either in our busses, trucks or trailers along with all the other bikes. These services are available to use but please understand - all bikes and other conveyances transported using the shuttles are transported at your own risk. A higher fee is being charged for all e-Bikes, Fat Tire Bikes and any bikes that are heavier, or longer than one of our standard rental bikes.
(Shuttles for people are NOT available from Lookout Pass Ski Area to the Hiawatha), they only run from the Pearson trailhead (which is the bottom of the trail) up to Roland. Our shuttle bus service stops at Roland. This allows you to ride back through the St. Paul Pass (aka Taft Tunnel) a second time. And YES shuttle rides are available for guests who want to ride the shuttle DOWN from Roland to Pearson, so they can start their ride going up the trail. Note this service doesn't start until roughly 11 am each day.
Q. Is it best to park at the bottom of the trail or at the top? Where can we park should we wish to avoid the 1.66 mile long St. Paul Pass Tunnel?
A. Parking at the Top is BEST for most - The true answer depends on how long of a ride you would like to take. Most folks access the trail from the top - off I-90 at Taft, MT (which is Exit 5), in Montana (5 miles east of Ski Lookout Pass). You will then need to drive your vehicle up the route 506 following the Hiawatha Trail signs for ~ 2 more miles to reach the top trailhead where you make a left turn into the parking area at the East Portal of the tunnel. The more scenic portion of the trail, where most of the tunnels and trestles are located, is near the top. Therefore many visitors start at the East Portal (top of the trail); or at the Roland trail heads (if they want to bypass the long dark Taft Tunnel). These guests ride down the trail to Pearson, ID and then take the shuttle bus back up to Roland (this is the far side of the St. Paul Pass tunnel). After departing from your shuttle for those parked at the East Portal you will bicycle back through the big St. Paul Pass Tunnel to reach your vehicles.
Stronger riders who want more exercise can start their ride at the top or the bottom. If riding from the bottom you will encounter a 1.6% to 2% uphill grade. Then they can ride the downhill portion on the way back for a total ride of a little over 30 miles. Just note the car ride to Pearson is not an easy one and in many places the road narrows to 1 & 1/2 lanes. Making for even slower traffice on busy weekends. We do not recomend this option due to the congestion.
For those wishing to by-pass the St. Paul Pass Tunnel, simply drive past the East Portal parking area turnoff and follow the Road 506 signs for 5 miles to the Roland trailhead. This section of Road 506 climbs up over Roland Summit. Please be aware, it becomes a single lane road in some segments, but there is two way traffic. The distance from Roland to the bottom trailhead at Pearson is approximately 12.6 miles. but the drive can take 50 minutes.
Q. How long is the trail?
A. The ride from East Portal (top) to Pearson (bottom) is 14.4 miles and is a very gentle 1.6% to 2% downhill ride all the way. You will then ride back thru the St. Paul Pass Tunnel after the shuttle drops you off at Roland which ads another 2 miles to your ride. For most riders, the ride from East Portal to Pearson represents a leisurely 2.5 to 3.5 hour pedal. Add to this the time to get on your shuttle (average wait time is ~ 45 min. for a shuttle at Pearson), it will then take 30-40 minutes for your shuttle to get you up to Roland. You then bike back thru the St. Paul Pass Tunnel adding another 15-20 minutes to your ride time.
Q. How do I avoid a long wait for a shuttle at the bottom of the trail at Pearson.
4-Tips just for you:
#1 Ride when schools are in session - Usually the beginning of the season like late May and then also the end of August and midweek days in September.
#2 Ride Midweek - We always have less traffic midweek especially Monday thru Thursday.
#3 Start your ride EARLY. The trail opens at 8:30 am. If you are one of the first on the trail you'll usually catch one of the first shuttles without much of a wait. Understandably lines can get long for any popular activity later into the day.
#4 Make a Reservation for an Early Shuttle if available on the day you want to go. The Shuttle doesn't cost any more but it will leave pretty much on time regardless if you have arrived at the Pearson Trailhead or not. If you miss the scheduled shuttle you will need to cue up and wait your turn. Most people will not want to rush thru this ride to catch an Early Shuttle. Yes it is important for you to enjoy the ride.
Q. Can we take our time biking down, or is there a time limit?
A. There is NO Time Limit, and we encourage you to take as long as is comfortable to enjoy the trail. You can ride the trail every day from 8:30 AM to 4:15 PM (Pacific Standard Time). For those wishing to take the shuttle back from Pearson to Roland, the last shuttle leaves Pearson at 4:15 PM in the early and late season. Then on Weekends during the Peak Season the last shuttle departs at roughly 5:45 PM (The Peak Season runs roughly mid June through Labor Day weekend).
Q. What is the trail surface? Is this trip dangerous in any way? Is there anything we have to watch out for while riding down?
A. The trail is a high quality, firm fine changing to medium gravel/dirt surface, with some small cobble in places, so that some ability to ride a bicycle is desirable.
Mountain bike tires are recommended.
Hybrid tires are OK.
Narrow road bike tires are seen on the trail but NOT recommended.
The tunnels are dark and a powerful light 300-400 lumen is required.
There are NO LIGHTS in the tunnels, if this is bothersome, it is recommended that riders walk their bicycles through the tunnels. The St. Paul Pass ("Taft") Tunnel is lined with gutters and can be very dark, cold and wet. Extra caution is recommended.
All of the trestles have guard rails on them the whole lenghth of the span. The trail is wide enough for a train to pass. Stay to the middle of the trail if you are uncomfortable with the terrain but do give way to others that are riding toward you and share the trail evenly. Please understand there is 2-way bike traffice all along the trail so as others approach give them room and stay to your right.
Q. Can you tell me if the trail is OK for a ten year old - i.e. are there railings on the trestles?
A. In general the trail is OK to ride downhill from Taft or Roland to Pearson for most youngsters of 5 to 6 years of age and older, provided they know how to ride a bicycle by themselves. All children age 13 & under must be accompanied by an adult. All trestles have railings as pictured here. FYI: We have had 3yr olds finish the ride each year.
Q. Are the bike rentals near the trailhead or will we need to transport the bikes in our vehicle?
A. The nearest bike rentals are available at Lookout Pass Ski Area which opperates the concession for the trail. The Ski Area is located at I-90 Exit 0, Right Smack on the Idaho/Montana state line. This is about 7 miles from the East Portal of the St. Paul Pass ("Taft") Tunnel. Mountain bikes, Comfort bikes, Tag-a-longs, Tandems, 3-Wheeled Recumbents (for physically or balance impaired), Burley trailers for young children who are not able to pedal (roughly used for ages up to 5 years), children's bikes, helmets and lights are all available at the Lookout Pass Rental Shop. We recently started a bike delivery service so you can pay a little extra to have any rental bike we offer transported from Lookout to the trailhead at East Portal.
Q. If we need to transport the bikes, how far away is the trailhead and do you have racks available that can carry several bikes?
A. The East Portal of the St. Paul Pass ("Taft") Tunnel is about a 7 mile ride by automobile. The West Portal at Roland is an additional 5 miles going up and over Roland Summit. When you rent bicycles at the Lookout Pass rental shop, bicycle racks for your vehicle are provided at no extra charge.
Strap racks can hold up to 3 bikes.
Receiver hitch insert racks can hold up to 5 bikes.
Q. Does the helmet rental come with a light attached, or is it just a flashlight that we have to carry?
A. The bike lights provided at the Lookout Pass Rental Shop clip to the handlebar of a bicycle (Not the helmet - handlebar lights are much better as they point where your bike is going).
Tip - Be sure your light is pointing down at the trail (Aim the light about 10-15 feet in front of your front tire) so you can see where you are going in the tunnels.
NOTE: Most helmet mounted lights that guests bring themselves are NOT powerful enough, or the light casts a wide beam and does not adequately illuminate the trail surface enough for safe riding through the tunnels. It really is very dark. The signature 1.661 mile long St. Paul Pass Tunnel is a treasure to ride provided you have enough light.
We recomend a 300-400 Lumen tightly focused light beam as the minimum. Our bikes are outfitted with either 300 or 400 lumen lights. We have these same lights available for rent if you are bringing your own bike. We also offer bike lights for sale in our gift shop at Lookout Pass. Some people choose to rent two lights as they feel more confident with two lights illuminating their way.
Q. If we DO NOT bring bicycles, would you recommend we rent a helmet and light, or should we bring our own?
A. When you rent a bicycle at the Lookout Pass rental shop, helmets and lights are provided as a part of the rental fee.
If you have your own bikes you can rent helmets and/or lights separately from us. Both are required for the ride.
Q. Can one buy refreshments or food along the trail?
A. YES - There is a Food Concession set up at the East Portal (the start) and most days also at the Pearson Trailhead (at the bottom) where most pick up the shuttle and have more time to enjoy a snack. You'll find beverages like water & gatorade, snacks, and even great turkey, ham or vegetarian sandwiches available at these Trailheads. Also available will be cold beverages (soft drinks and water) and bike specific water bottles, Sweatshirts, T-Shirts, stickers, magnets etc...Bag lunches (with an easy to carry sling pack) are available from the Lookout Pass Ski Area Deli and are made to go when pre-ordered with your reservation. Or we can pack a Sack Lunch for you while you are up at Lookout Pass getting your bikes or while shopping in our gift shop.
Q. Who owns The Hiawatha Bike Trail?
A. The Hiawatha Bike Trail is owned by all of us. It is on U.S. National Forest land administered by the St. Joe Ranger District of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. It is operated by Lookout Pass Ski Area under a special use permit of the U. S. Forest Service. There is a fee charged to use the trail. Please Note: National Parks Passes do not cover the fee to use this trail.