It’s a 73 mile paved trail for cyclists, walkers and hikers of all ages. I say that because of its mild grade with only one hill to speak of. A natural for getting into cycling shape! In particular, it was perfect for us to try out the self-support-pull all your stuff in a trailer-get in shape for cycling the Oregon coast trip. The Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes is a trail made in heaven for cyclists, walkers, runners, & nature gawkers. But its history had its moments in hell.
In the late 1880’s it was a Union Pacific rail line serving mines of silver, lead and zinc. “Much of the rock in the railbed was either waste rock from mines, or tailings containing heavy metals. The railbed was also contaminated with spillage from passing trains.”, says Wikepedia. The government and the Coeur d’Alene tribe worked together to clean it up and turn it into what it is today: a beautiful long trail through marsh lands, lily lakes, populated with abundant wildlife. But I have to say it is kind of weird seeing all the signs that say don’t let your children play in the dirt/sand because of the leftover contaminants….
Nonetheless! I was in love with the sweeping pastoral scenes
…the lovely quiet waters…
and AMAZING populations of deer & moose…
After speeding by many leagues of lovely floating lilies too fast for photos, I was hell bent to have some morning shots at my leisure. I convinced my Captain to camp nearby a particularly picturesque pond just outside of Harrison. Imagine my disappointment to learn these lilies open only in direct sunlight, and my picturesque pond was decorated with only the pads, no lilies. Wah. Ah well, I had some fun anyway, and with the help of Topaz Impressions software, the morning produced this rather impressionistic rendering. Do you like it? (you can try Topaz for yourself with a free trial download link to the right)
Later (and wiser) I did have my way with some of those lilies. And my creative belly was filled. For that day anyway…
Our trip on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes starts at Chatcolet (I challenge you to pronounce THAT) Lake because of the easy trail access, but mostly because of the delightful bridge to begin, linking the two sides of the waterway.
Besides lilies, flowers are abundant and ever changing, lacing the sides of the trail all along the way.
My perch on the back of the bike (as the Stoker) is excellent for drinking it all in. Long as my Captain is happy with my power to the pedal, I’m free to gawk, take drive by shots, and just generally ENJOY myself!
It’s fun to conclude the trip with lakeside dining,
watching the sunset at the Harrison marina.
Hope you enjoyed this mini tour of the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes. But really, it’s worth getting out there whether with your bike or your own two legs. Perfect for kids too! Doing out ‘n backs from Harrison (such a cute, tiny town with great ice cream and espresso!) would be ideal. Bet you see a moose!
Check out the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes gallery for more images.