On September 8 – 9, my wife and I did the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes bike tour. The Trail of the Coeur d’ Alenes is a 72-mile paved trail between Plummer and Wallace Idaho. It’s a Rails to Trail paved path, and it’s completely off road. Because it’s an old railroad bed, the grades on it are always moderate.
There are many ways to do the trail. You can start at either end and ride the whole trail in one long day. We did it in two days can carried food and camping gear. If you do it in two days, you will have plenty of time to enjoy the scenery.
I recommend starting at Plummer. The most beautiful part of the trail is the section between Plummer and Cataldo. From Caltaldo to Wallace is very nice too, but not as nice. With a shuttle, you can start and end the ride at dozens of trailheads.
The following link has an overview map and close up maps of each section of the trail: PDF Maps of the Trail of the Coeur d’ Alenes Bike Tour.
We decided to ride the trail from Plummer to Wallace. We camped at the Wallace RV Park, conveniently located 40 feet from the City Limits Brew Pub. The RV park was friendly and quiet, and had very clean bathrooms. We set up our Cricket Trailer and walked the 40 feet to the Brew Pub for dinner. I highly recommend the City Limits Brew Pub: good food and great service.
We set up a shuttle with Richard Shaffer: firstname.lastname@example.org | 208-691-9169. Richard is a great guy and full of local mining and trail history and an avid cyclist. And he showed up promptly at the agreed upon time: 7:30 am.
If you start at the Plummer end, the first 5 miles is a gentle downhill, a lovely way to start the day. After about 8.5 miles, you cross the Chatcolet Bridge. That was one of the highlights of the ride. The trail continues along the lake for another 10 miles to Harrison, Idaho.
Harrison has the only services until you get to Cataldo. Make sure you carry food. You can find several restaurants and a small grocery store in Harrison. I recommend The Cycle Haus Bikes & Brews where you can get bike service, beer, coffee, and food in one place.
We camped at The Kahnderosa RV Park/Campgrounds in Cataldo, which is about the halfway point on the ride. The price was reasonable and they had showers. It was a bit noisy due to proximity to the freeway, but not bad. We carried a stove and dinner and breakfast. But there is a new pub and restaurant in Cataldo right after the trail crosses under the freeway, but we didn’t know about it. A cold beer would have been nice.
After Cataldo, the next services are several small towns where you can find food.