The Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes is one of the most spectacular and popular trails in the western United States and is listed as one of the top 25 by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. Here, you will find 73 miles of asphalt that’s perfect for bicycles, walkers, or skaters.
The Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes nearly spans the Panhandle of Idaho as it runs along rivers, lakes, and scenic landscapes. The uniqueness of the trail isn’t simply the beautiful scenery and attractions along its route, but it’s an innovative solution to the environmental problems caused by the early mining activities.
Silver was discovered in the area in 1884 and soon a rail line was constructed to support the growing mining, timber, and supply industries. Much of the trail today follows this original rail line, giving it a gentle grade. When the rail line was built, mine waste rock and tailings containing heavy metals were used for the original rail bed. In addition, the bed was contaminated with accidental ore concentrate spillage.
The trail itself is part of the environmental cleanup in a partnership between the Union Pacific Railroad, the U.S. Government, the State of Idaho and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. The thick layer of asphalt and gravel barriers along the trail edge serve as a clean barrier. Please stay on the trail and in designated picnic areas.
You don’t have to be fit to enjoy this trail with its gentle grade and smooth surface. There are 20 trailheads and 20 scenic waysides with picnic tables and benches. The east end passes through a narrow mountain valley once heavily mined for silver and is dotted with numerous small historic mining communities. The middle section follows the tranquil Coeur d’Alene River, passing fifteen small lakes and marshes. The west end lies within the interior boundaries of the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation and along the shoreline of scenic Coeur d’Alene Lake before crossing the 3,100-foot Chatcolet Bridge/Trestle to Heyburn State Park. The trail then follows the remote forested Plummer Creek Canyon and continues to Plummer.
The Trail is managed by the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. Many miles of private land are adjacent to the trail corridor. Please stay on the trail to respect landowner privacy and do not trespass on the numerous private docks and boats.
Winter recreation opportunities are various and rewarding. When conditions exist, sections of the trail are groomed and packed for winter recreation. Please contact trail staff at 208.682.3814 or firstname.lastname@example.org for the latest conditions.
Types of Use Allowed
- Walking, in-line skating, bicycling (including Class 1 and 2 E-bikes), skateboarding, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing.
Uses Not Allowed or Prohibited
- Hunting and/or trapping is prohibited within the trail right-of-way.
- The discharging of firearms or hunting from or across the trail corridor is prohibited.
- Horses or pack stock on or within the entire trail corridor is prohibited.
- Camping along or within the entire trail corridor is prohibited.
- Campfires and fireworks are prohibited.
Protect Yourself by Following the Rules
- Carry water for drinking and washing. Do not drink surface water even if filtered. Safe water sources can be found in most communities.
- Slower traffic has the right-of-way, bikers yield to pedestrians.
- Do not block path, ride no more than two abreast.
- Keep right except to pass, signal when approaching from the rear.
- Do not litter, and stay on the trail.
- Keep pets leashed and pack out excrement. Pets must be on a short leash at all times.
- Wash hands and face before eating, eat at designated waysides and trailheads. Remove dirt from clothes, toys, pets, shoes, and equipment before leaving the area.
- Do not let children play near shorelines or off the trail.