The Hiawatha Bike Trail travels through tunnels (one is 1.1 miles long!), several converted railroad trestles and through some of the most beautiful scenery in the US.
I’m new to the world of mountain biking, but from what I’ve tried so far it may be my next favorite thing. When I told my family and friends we were biking at parks on the National Park to Park Highway several people suggested we try out the Route of the Hiawatha.
Hiawatha Bike Trail Details
While this trail is not in a National Park, it does run through US National Forest land. The fifteen mile rails-to-trails bike path follows an old mining railroad, complete with tunnels and tressles through wooded beauty.
Managed by Lookout Pass ski resort, the Hiawatha bike trail is located on the border of Montana and Idaho. It’s a must for any bike enthusiast, and great for families. Mostly downhill, the Route of the Hiawatha bike trail begins with a 1.1 mile ride through a mountain tunnel (bring your flashlights). From there you travel through forests, over trestle bridges more than 100 feet high, and along a path with beautiful views of mountains. The cost to ride is $10 for adults, $6 for kids, but you’ll also want to take the shuttle so you don’t have to bike back up. That’s $9 for adults and $6 for kids.
The Route of the Hiawatha bike trail was really fun and only made possible by one of our favorite trip sponsors, Woom (pronounced Voom). Woom builds bikes specifically designed for kids. They are lightweight and high quality, and have been awesome to ride. On the Hiawatha trail, Big E rode the Woom 4. With 20 inch tires, eight speeds, a shifter integrated into the handle, and a pre-installed bell and kickstand, it was perfect for him.
Learning to Ride
Watching him ride the 15 miles, it was hard to believe that he was still on training wheels this spring. When he was first learning to ride we started him on a bike with training wheels that I bought for ten bucks at a garage sale. Not only did Big E outgrow that beginner bike before learning to ride without training wheels, it weighed as much as my bike did, if not more. I think it was part tank. When Woom sent the Woom 4 to try out we transitioned away from training wheels, adopting the balance bike mentality.
I love that Woom’s philosophy is to start kids with a balance bike – no pedals, no problem. Without pedals to worry about, kids learn the basics of balance first. Speed and control are already ingrained in your kid. By the time they’re big enough for a real bike with pedals, they already know the mechanics of riding. Balance bikes allow the kid to use their feet to stop and go.
With Big E we had a bit of backtracking to do. When we took of the training wheels, he got super frustrated, not a good start to learning something new. So we decided to make the Woom 4 a balance bike by removing the pedals and letting him learn balance, speed and control with his own two feet.
The results were miraculous. After one ride we put the pedals back on and he raced away like he’d been biking for years. As a mom, watching your child accomplish something they’ve worked hard for is a payoff moment. I couldn’t have been prouder.
The only drawback of Woom bikes is the price. At $449 for the Woom 4, these bikes are not cheap, especially for something your child will inevitably outgrow. That’s where Woom’s Upcycle System comes in. When your child outgrows their Woom bike you can send it in for a 40% discount on the next size up. I love when companies really think about how people use their product.
Watching Big E ride the Route of the Hiawatha was a proud mama moment for me. The 15 mile trail was at the edge of Big E’s abilities but he rode without complaining. Almost. A flat tire halfway through the mile long tunnel at the end left him scared and tired.