Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes & Silver Mountain Microbrew Festival

The Trail of the Cd’As is approximately a 71-mile trip one way. I have heard of people doing the round trip in 2 days. While I consider myself in fairly decent shape, I honestly didn’t know if I could do it, and if I could, I don’t know if I’d want to. If my thigh muscles didn’t give out, I know sitting on a bike seat for that long would do me in.

We started at Heyburn State Park with our destination being Osborn. We both drove vehicles to Heyburn and stayed the night there in the travel trailer. By the way, Chatcolet campground was so nice and empty on Thursday, but Friday it was congested and loud. It didn’t really matter to us, since we weren’t there much except to sleep, but it was definitely not for me. I would however definitely go back mid-week or in the off-season. The next morning, we loaded the bikes in 1 vehicle, drove up to Osborn, and started biking.

We got a fairly late start at 11:00. We seem to always get late starts when we’re camping, which is odd, since we’re very early morning people. Unfortunately within 10 miles of our ride, we realized it was lunchtime, and we were hungry. This was also very strange, since we’re the ultimate planners.

As we’re biking through Kellogg and realize that we’re hungry, we pass by a place called The Depot that has microbrews and burgers. Of course we had to stop. We had food with us, but this was too good to pass up. Our big mistake here was that we had big lunches and a couple beers each. Had we eaten a light lunch and just 1 beer, we would’ve been much better off. After lunch, we get back on our bikes and begin our trip. This also happened to be the hottest week of the summer, so by this time, the temperature is in the 90’s. And we still have 45 or so miles to go.

We paralleled Highway 90 from Osborn to Pinehurst, and while it was still beautiful, you couldn’t ignore the fact that the highway was there. Things changed dramatically at Pinehurst. This is where the trail veers off from civilization. When we do this again, we’ll do Plummer to Pinehurst. That’s the best stretch, I think. David has biked the Plummer to Heyburn stretch and says it’s beautiful but is relatively steep. It descends at Plummer and levels out at Heyburn, so if you went the other way (Pinehurst to Plummer), you’d be ending with an uphill ride, pretty unappealing after 40 miles or so.

There’s a bike in that tree

As soon as the highway was out of site, very quickly it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. This trail is amazing. There are trailheads scattered at different points on the trail, too, so a lot of the people you run into are doing shorter distances from trailhead to trailhead, and you see lots of families and leisure bike riders. You also see some serious bike riders, but there’s definitely a mix. We biked it on a Friday, so it wasn’t too crowded, but I can see it being a pretty busy trail on a Saturday or Sunday. We saw a moose, which evidently is a very common thing to see, and we saw lots of birds. With the river right next to us almost the entire way, we were never lacking for scenery or wildlife.

About 10 miles outside of Harrison, I felt like I needed to seriously get off the bike for good. When we finally got to Harrison, it was dinner time, so we stopped for another big meal and another couple of beers each. We evidently didn’t learn our lesson. At least now though we were only 8 or so miles away from Heyburn. We arrived at our campsite at around 7, physically exhausted, but feeling great.

The next day, we drove the second car with the travel trailer back up to Osburn, where we camped at Blue Anchor RV. We biked to the Microbrew Festival at the top of Silver Mountain in Kellogg. Surprisingly, we were able to get back on our bikes the next day. It was tempting to drive, but knowing that we’d be drinking beer in the sun all day, we figured it was a better idea to take the bikes.

While it was nice to pair the bike ride and microbrew festival together, I don’t think I’d bike the trail in August again during the hottest week of the year. While it was very doable, since you have the river to cool off in occassionally, I think I’d like to see the trail during a different time of year. I’d really like to bike the trail in the fall when the leaves are turning. I bet that’s beautiful.

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