Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes

Coeur d'Alenes is a lake, a city, a river, a Native American Tribe, a casino, and a trail in Idaho. The trail runs along the lake and the river but not through the city. This paved trail is 72 miles long starting in Plummer and running to Mullan. It is included in the Rail to Trails Hall of Fame. I cycled about half of the trail. The trail is flat except at the ends near Plummer and Mullan. The last fifteen miles near Mullan is a climb of about 1000 feet. 

The portion along Coeur d'Alene Lake is similar to riding around other lakes but on a nice trail without the worry of cars. This make for a much more relaxing ride. I started in Harrison and rode toward Plummer. About 8 miles from Harrison is the Chatcolet Bridge that seems to appear in everyone's pictures of this trail. It spans across the lake at a point where Coeur d'Alene Lake, Hidden Lake, Chatcolet Lake, Round Lake and the St Joe River blend together. After crossing the bridge with lots of picture stops I only went a short distance before turning back to Harrison.

After a break in Harrison it was back on the trail, this time toward Mullan. This portion of the trail is along the Coeur d'Alene River and passes several additional lakes. Some casual conversations with local residents seems to indicate this area north of Harrison is the area you would be most likely to spot moose.

I spotted a moose with three little ones northeast of Harrison at 47.45966, -116.77785. Spotted a second moose on the trail with on little one a bit further at 47.47835, -116.70177. Unintentionally got a bit too close to this second moose, about 10 or 15 feet.  There is no way I could be disappointed seeing six moose but I would have liked to see the impressive rack of antlers that male moose have.

I rode to the area of Old Mission State Park. Along the way were fields, marsh land, wetlands, some forested area, lakes and river views. I spotted a fox and heron. The trail was mostly smooth with a mix of sun and shade. My ride was in September 2021.

The Trail of the Coeur d'Alene is the gateway trail for the Great American Rail-Trail, a planned 4,000 mile trail that will stretch all the way to Washington, D.C. Work is under way to connect 145 existing trails to make this vision a reality.

If you visit Trail of the Coeur d'Alene, do not drink surface water even with a filter. Much of  the water is contaminated with heavy metals. Efforts are underway to mitigate this contamination.

More information may be found on these websites:

Friends of the Coeur d'Alene Trail

Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation

Visit North Idaho

Here is a video of the portion of my ride along the lake: Mark's Bike Tock

This video is along the river portion, north of Harrison: Mark's Bike Tock

Here is a moose encounter along the trail: Mark's Bike Tock

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