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  1. #1
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    Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes

    Dear All-

    I'm heading to Spokane, Washington for work and hoping to take two days on the back-end to ride the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes. I found an FAQ suggesting that cycling West (Plummer, ID) to East (Mullan, ID) is the preferred route so that the biggest elevation gains are on the outbound route instead of the return.

    Wondering if anyone here has ridden the trail and has any words of wisdom to impart, any suggestions on places to stop along the way?

    I am going to have a rental car and planning to rent a bike close to Plummer.

    Does anyone know if it's safe to let a car overnight at the trail-head in Plummer?

    There are some chamber-of-commerce recommended bike rental shops, but, seemingly none relatively near the Plummer trail-head.

    I'd appreciate hearing from those who have made the journey...

    Thanks!
    Last edited by IGH_Newbie; 04-09-15 at 11:08 PM. Reason: Correction of a directional error

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    When I've done the trail, I've started at Plummer. The only potential downside is that the last 5 miles going back into Plummer the steepest, but it is a rail grade, so nothing is that steep.

    Plummer is a pretty small town and I don't know of any bike place there (that does not mean there is not one, I just don't know of one). You may have to rent something in Cour d'Alene or Spokane. Since Plummer is small, I don't think I would worry about leaving a car overnight.

    Sounds like your plan is to Ride to Mullan and spend the night, then ride back. If that's the case, what are you planning to do for the night?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Black wallnut's Avatar
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    Somewhere near Plummer rents bikes as I've seen what appeared to be rental comfort bikes on the trail several times. It is also more likely that they come from Harrison, which has a bike shop. If I see any on Sunday when I'm there I'll ask the rider for the details. BTW Plummer is West and Mullan is East. The drive down the East side of Cd'A is quite scenic and Harrision would be a good place to park. You could then ride to Plummer first and get the hill out of the way return to Harrison, stop and get ice cream and then go all the way to Mullan.
    Sir Mark, Knight of Sufferlandria

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    Quote Originally Posted by hyegeek View Post
    When I've done the trail, I've started at Plummer. The only potential downside is that the last 5 miles going back into Plummer the steepest, but it is a rail grade, so nothing is that steep.

    Plummer is a pretty small town and I don't know of any bike place there (that does not mean there is not one, I just don't know of one). You may have to rent something in Cour d'Alene or Spokane. Since Plummer is small, I don't think I would worry about leaving a car overnight.

    Sounds like your plan is to Ride to Mullan and spend the night, then ride back. If that's the case, what are you planning to do for the night?
    I was going to stay in Wallace (at the Inn or Starlight Motel) or other, turn-around, and head back...

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    That sounds reasonable. A much better idea than trying to find something in Mullan. You will also find some pretty good spots to eat in Wallace. I thought the food at the 1313 club was pretty good for a reasonable price and I was able to get a rather good beer there as well.

    Have fun. When are you going?

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    Quote Originally Posted by hyegeek View Post
    That sounds reasonable. A much better idea than trying to find something in Mullan. You will also find some pretty good spots to eat in Wallace. I thought the food at the 1313 club was pretty good for a reasonable price and I was able to get a rather good beer there as well.

    Have fun. When are you going?
    Hoping to get there in late May-2015...

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    That should be a good time. While we can get rain and cold any time of the year, by later in the summer, it can get quite hot and there is not much in the way of water after you get past Harrison until you get closer to Kellogg.

    One bit of advice, enjoy the scenery. I have found it quite easy to just get into the ride and pedal past all kinds of things that would be better enjoyed by stopping and just taking it in. If you manage to get started early in the day, you will probably come across lots of wildlife on the trail, so you will want to be ready for the unexpected. I've had to work my way around all kinds of animals from turkeys to moose.

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    Senior Member bossco11's Avatar
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    I rode the trail from Wallace to Chatcolet Park last summer. I stayed overnight in the campground then rode to Plummer the next morning. It wasn't a bad ride, a little steep in places, watch for moose, as I ran smack dab into one in the morning.
    I don't think I would be able to do the whole ride from end to end, but that's just me.
    Enjoy!

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    Senior Member toddles's Avatar
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    I used to live in Liberty Lake -- near the Washington/Idaho state line and I-90. Do yourself a favor and rent a bike in Coeur d'Alene.
    Last edited by toddles; 05-13-15 at 04:51 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by baron von trail View Post
    Turn off brain, hike up skirt. Welcome to show biz.

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    Senior Member Black wallnut's Avatar
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    I had to cancel my ride Sunday due to sickness.

    You might look in Spokane for a bike rental as well.
    Sir Mark, Knight of Sufferlandria

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    Senior Member SquidPuppet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IGH_Newbie View Post
    Dear All-

    I'm heading to Spokane, Washington for work and hoping to take two days on the back-end to ride the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes. I found an FAQ suggesting that cycling West (Plummer, ID) to East (Mullan, ID) is the preferred route so that the biggest elevation gains are on the outbound route instead of the return.

    Wondering if anyone here has ridden the trail and has any words of wisdom to impart, any suggestions on places to stop along the way?

    I am going to have a rental car and planning to rent a bike close to Plummer.

    Does anyone know if it's safe to let a car overnight at the trail-head in Plummer?

    There are some chamber-of-commerce recommended bike rental shops, but, seemingly none relatively near the Plummer trail-head.

    I'd appreciate hearing from those who have made the journey...

    Thanks!
    I live in CdA and frequent the trail.

    Personally, I don't bother with anything east of Enaville. You run close enough to major highways to see, hear and smell them. It's not nearly as scenic (I don't like it) as the western portion which is photo worthy every 50 yards. Literally. The western section between Enaville and Plummer is a very special trail. Smooth as a billiard table, gorgeous mountain, meadow, river and lake views, and filled with wildlife.

    Enaville to Wallace = "Just a trail"
    Enaville to Plummer = "Awe inspiring"

    Kellogg, Wallace, and Mullan are worth a peek to explore the historic stuff and check out the mines. But that's best done on a dedicated trip and by car.

    Here's what I do. I drive east to Enaville and park there. I ride west to Plummer.

    Depending on your desired mileage per day, I recommend designing a route that would have you doing your overnight stay in Harrison. It's a very small, bike friendly town, right on the lake with lovely views and a couple good places to stay and eat. Campgrounds and beaches too. Don't miss Harrison Creamery and Fudge Factory for their Huckleberry ice cream.



    Lakeview Lodge....

    Last edited by SquidPuppet; 05-12-15 at 11:41 AM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member toddles's Avatar
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    ^^^ Great info. My wife and I were trying to figure out a way to ride the whole thing and it was just turning into a logistic nightmare as we were trying to include the Hiawatha Trail too. But driving from Seattle in 3 days with one car and adequate lodging in the late summer proved to be much more difficult than thpught. We ultimately decided on CDA as a hub and ride the section of trail you speak of. But then our plans changed entirely. Still, we probably will do it next summer.

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    Senior Member SquidPuppet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
    ^^^ Great info. My wife and I were trying to figure out a way to ride the whole thing and it was just turning into a logistic nightmare as we were trying to include the Hiawatha Trail too. But driving from Seattle in 3 days with one car and adequate lodging in the late summer proved to be much more difficult than thpught. We ultimately decided on CDA as a hub and ride the section of trail you speak of. But then our plans changed entirely. Still, we probably will do it next summer.
    If you haven't done the Hiawatha, get ready for some fun. I'm sure you know all about the trestles, but be cautious if you or your wife are even the slightest bit acrophobic.

    I rode Hiawatha something like twenty years ago before it was made official. No charge, but no tram service either. Ride in and ride out. Also, there were NO chains or handrails at the edge of the trestles. Just wooden planks covered with gravel. If you made a mistake, hello 1,200 foot drop.

    It's a good idea to learn what bear prints and droppings look like if you plan to venture of the trail to pick berries. I'd recommend reading up on bear behavior and how to behave if you come in contact with one.


  14. #14
    Senior Member toddles's Avatar
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    Can you be more specific on where in Enaville you park? In particular, I'm wondering where I could go and safely park. Also, we may be interested in starting at the CDA Casino and then catch the trail in Plummer. That would be a 40 mile ride roughly (please correct me if I'm wrong) to Enaville and about another 10 miles to Kellogg. I'm bring Kellogg up because ideally we'd like to west to east and spend the night out there somewhere before returning the next day.

    Thoughts?
    Quote Originally Posted by baron von trail View Post
    Turn off brain, hike up skirt. Welcome to show biz.

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    Senior Member SquidPuppet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
    Can you be more specific on where in Enaville you park? In particular, I'm wondering where I could go and safely park. Also, we may be interested in starting at the CDA Casino and then catch the trail in Plummer. That would be a 40 mile ride roughly (please correct me if I'm wrong) to Enaville and about another 10 miles to Kellogg. I'm bring Kellogg up because ideally we'd like to west to east and spend the night out there somewhere before returning the next day.

    Thoughts?
    Plummer to Kelogg would be nice enough. If you depart early AM you'll have sun directly in your face. Just FYI because some folks don't care for that. There is a trail head with dedicated parking at Plummer. The return trip from Kellogg to Plummer in the morning will be nice because the sun will be at your back.

    Enaville: Right off the freeway is a marked trailhead with dedicated parking as well. Right across the street is "The Snake Pit." A bar and restaurant converted from an 1800s saloon and brothel. Lots of character.

    To get there, take I-90 east. Take exit #43 toward Kingston (north). That will put you on Coeur d Alene River Rd. Go approx 1.6 miles and you cant miss it. Snake Pit on the right, trailhead and Parking on the left.

    The steepest "grade" you'll experience is from Plummer down to the lake. If you put that at the end of your return trip, your final ~7 miles will look like this. Depending on you fitness level, that could be tough, or effortless.



    Last edited by SquidPuppet; 05-13-15 at 04:16 PM.

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    Senior Member toddles's Avatar
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    You da man Squid! Grateful for the info. We may actually try to hit it this Memorial Day weekend with an extended Monday night stay. I had seen the elevation map before and think we'll be OK. Well, I know I will and pretty sure the wifey will be fine as well.
    Last edited by toddles; 05-13-15 at 04:51 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by baron von trail View Post
    Turn off brain, hike up skirt. Welcome to show biz.

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    Senior Member toddles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by baron von trail View Post
    Turn off brain, hike up skirt. Welcome to show biz.

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    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
    You da man Squid! Grateful for the info. We may actually try to hit it this Memorial Day weekend with an extended Monday night stay. I had seen the elevation map before and think we'll be OK. Well, I know I will and pretty sure the wifey will be fine as well.
    Bring your camera and double your expected riding time. Stop often. Although the trail is perfect for hauling a$$, there is too much beauty to not stop and absorb it.

    I ride it single speed. Going west always has a tiny headwind, but it's downhill, so that's cool. Going east is slightly uphill, but that tiny tailwind let's me spin along.

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    Senior Member toddles's Avatar
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    Looks like we landed in Pinehurst for the weekend. Right in the middle. I'm hoping we make it out to Harrison and return in a day but may be ambitious for wifey.

    Last edited by toddles; 05-14-15 at 09:37 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by baron von trail View Post
    Turn off brain, hike up skirt. Welcome to show biz.

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    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
    Looks like we landed in Pinehurst for the weekend. Right in the middle. I'm hoping we make it out to Harrison and return in a day but may be ambitious for wifey.

    That would be about 80ish miles. That's too fast.

    Will you have a backup plan (accommodations) in case the return trip would be too much?

    You'll be inches from this, for MILES, in case your feet get too warm.





    Last edited by SquidPuppet; 05-14-15 at 10:26 AM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member toddles's Avatar
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    That's going to work. I used to live out near Liberty Lake and spent many weekends exploring the panhandle. And then I moved and they built this trail. Very excited. The plan is to ride from Pinehurst to Harrison and back. The back up plan will be to ride to the midpoint between the two and then drive around to Heyburn State Park and ride to the midpoint another day. Even if we make the 35 miles out and back to Harrision -- we'll be driving around for the short ride from Heyburn to Harrision regardless.
    Quote Originally Posted by baron von trail View Post
    Turn off brain, hike up skirt. Welcome to show biz.

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    Senior Member SquidPuppet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
    That's going to work. I used to live out near Liberty Lake and spent many weekends exploring the panhandle. And then I moved and they built this trail. Very excited. The plan is to ride from Pinehurst to Harrison and back. The back up plan will be to ride to the midpoint between the two and then drive around to Heyburn State Park and ride to the midpoint another day. Even if we make the 35 miles out and back to Harrision -- we'll be driving around for the short ride from Heyburn to Harrision regardless.
    Did you get out there, or did the rain kill the trip?

  23. #23
    Senior Member toddles's Avatar
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    FWIW, Squid, you gave excellent advice. You were 100% on everything... including the exact trail entrance in Enaville. We rode on Sunday and had great weather. We stayed here A Unique Place to Stay in the Silver Valley - VRBO in Pinehurst and were a mile from the trail.

    The homeowner was able to find us a guy who drove us out to Plummer for $50 and we started there and ended at our cabin. I could have ridden the round trip but I knew my wife could not so that money was worth it. We rode 52 miles in all and it was some of the best trail riding I've done and it completely lived up to its expectations. The weakest part, arguably, was the middle section of farmland between Cataldo and Harrision -- and even that was better than most sections of other trails I've ridden on. Dropping down to the lake from Plummer and riding around it to Harrison was exhilerating. We surprisingly had a very good lunch out on the deck overlooking the lake at the Landing bar or whatever in Harrison... next to the ice cream joint. These first 16 miles were some of the easiest and sadly some of the fastest riding we've done (together). This was not planned. We were just so immersed in our ride that we were pedaling with ease and made it a point to slow down afterwards.

    It was in the late morning that we saw a young male moose just 2 miles into the ride and yet again later in the afternoon at the 42 mile mark. We also ran into deer, saw dozens of herons, an eagle or two, and plenty of other wildlife all from the seat of our bicycles. Kudos to all the agencies involved for designing an environmental solution to the mining runoff problem. They did a great job in spacing trailheads, stops, and bathrooms along it as well. My favorite part was probably from Bull Run to Enaville in which we were hugging the Coeur d'Alene River. In short, the trail hugs a lot of water bodies... lakes, rivers, streams, marshes... while tucked away in the mountains. I can see why you're proud of it.

    And you were correct in stating that everything east of Enaville is just a trail. From where we exited, there was only 20 miles of it left and I doubt I'll ever complete the rest of it. Hugging I-90 through industrial mining waste land just doesn't have the same appeal.

    If you haven't ridden this trail at least once in your life, your missing out IMHO.
    Last edited by toddles; 05-27-15 at 01:10 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by baron von trail View Post
    Turn off brain, hike up skirt. Welcome to show biz.

  24. #24
    Senior Member SquidPuppet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
    FWIW, Squid, you gave excellent advice. You were 100% on everything... including the exact trail entrance in Enaville. We rode on Sunday and had great weather. We stayed here A Unique Place to Stay in the Silver Valley - VRBO in Pinehurst and were a mile from the trail.

    The homeowner was able to find us a guy who drove us out to Plummer for $50 and we started there and ended at our cabin. I could have ridden the round trip but I knew my wife could not so that money was worth it. We rode 52 miles in all and it was some of the best trail riding I've done and it completely lived up to its expectations. The weakest part, arguably, was the middle section of farmland between Cataldo and Harrision -- and even that was better than most sections of other trails I've ridden on. Dropping down to the lake from Plummer and riding around it to Harrison was exhilerating. We surprisingly had a very good lunch out on the deck overlooking the lake at the Landing bar or whatever in Harrison... next to the ice cream joint. These first 16 miles were some of the easiest and sadly some of the fastest riding we've done (together). This was not planned. We were just so immersed in our ride that we were pedaling with ease and made it a point to slow down afterwards.

    It was in the late morning that we saw a young male moose just 2 miles into the ride and yet again later in the afternoon at the 42 mile mark. We also ran into deer, saw dozens of herons, an eagle or two, and plenty of other wildlife all from the seat of our bicycles. Kudos to all the agencies involved for designing an environmental solution to the mining runoff problem. They did a great job in spacing trailheads, stops, and bathrooms along it as well. My favorite part was probably from Bull Run to Enaville in which we were hugging the Coeur d'Alene River. In short, the trail hugs a lot of water bodies... lakes, rivers, streams, marshes... while tucked away in the mountains. I can see why you're proud of it.

    And you were correct in stating that everything east of Enaville is just a trail. From where we exited, there was only 20 miles of it left and I doubt I'll ever complete the rest of it. Hugging I-90 through industrial mining waste land just doesn't have the same appeal.

    If you haven't ridden this trail at least once in your life, your missing out IMHO.
    I'm glad to hear it all went well and that you caught some wildlife.

    Time for knobby tires and the Hiawatha next.

    Oh, BTW, if you ever get the hankering to return to the Trail of the CdAs, do it in the Fall. The COLORS will Make you in a good way of course.

  25. #25
    Senior Member toddles's Avatar
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    The Hiawatha will not be a bike 'ride' per se. We've already decided we'll stay in CDA for 3 nights late spring/early summer and do it as a casual photo op journey. It was just too much this time around to cram it in comfortably in our 3 days.

    Oh, and we haven't ruled out a return trip to the CDA trail sometime either.
    Last edited by toddles; 05-27-15 at 01:48 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by baron von trail View Post
    Turn off brain, hike up skirt. Welcome to show biz.

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