Friday, August 28, 2015

Biking Idaho's Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes

The Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes is a 10 foot wide paved trail that runs for 72 miles from Mullan to Plummer in Idaho following the Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way, which in turn traced a path used by the  Coeur d'Alene tribe -- a name given to the local Native Americans by the French traders which is translated to the "discovered ones."

There are 20 trailheads and signage such as this is available along the trail. 

About 12 miles follow the shore of the beautiful Coeur d'Alene Lake. The eastern segment runs along the Coeur d'Alene River and later parallels Interstate 90, crossing under it several times on the way to Mullen. Wayside Rest Areas are available at regular intervals, many with restrooms as seen below -- a very user-friendly trail indeed!

This bridge over Coeur d'Alene Lake goes up in small increments with level sections between, and I was told it was to allow wheelchairs to more easily make it up and down the grades. It also made for interesting bike riding -- a very different experience. Called the Chatcolet Bridge, it was newly reconstructed in 2004 just before I biked over it. Formerly lower in height by 20 feet, the bridge used to rotate 90 degrees to allow boats to pass through the waterway, but now it is in a fixed position and elevated to allow boats under it.

Below is a view from the bridge looking down as it steps down section by section.

After 12 miles, the trail heads inland though the terrain and scenery remain just as lovely...

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