When a weeklong bike ride begins with a 25-mile boat cruise, you know it’s going to be something special. And it is. Of course, special doesn’t seem like a strong enough way to describe this incredible 400-mile bike tour across the panhandle of Northern Idaho. It’s an incredible loop that takes you through the impressive variety of the Idaho wilderness, and you may choose to ride with hundreds of other cyclists that love riding just as much as they love Idaho. This is Ride Idaho, an annual bike tour of epic proportions, that draws the support of local communities and organizations to ensure that this is one bike ride you’ll ever forget.
Ride Idaho kicks off this year on Sunday, August 16th. You’ll depart from Coeur d’Alene after a three-hour boat cruise across the beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene. After breakfast on the boat, you'll meet your bike and kick off along the famous Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes. The trail is a favorite of the Ride Idaho tour, and it features miles of scenery amongst fir trees. You’ll pass though Harrison, and can enjoy the Cataldo Mission which is home of the oldest standing building in the state. The first day ends in Kellogg, where you’ll setup camp, and enjoy the resort and waterpark.
On the second day, you’ll head from Kellogg to Wallace. If you’d like, you can sign up for a special side trip, and bike along the Hiawatha Trail. This trail was originally a railroad line, and it’s packed full with bridges and tunnels. In all, there are seven bridges and ten tunnels. The longest tunnel is over a mile and a half long. If you don’t join the trip along the Hiawatha Trail, you’ll have plenty to do in Wallace, and other rides to enjoy.
You’ll leave Wallace and head toward Noxon, Montana. This is both an incredible and challenging leg of the journey. You’ll go over both Dobson Pass and Thompson Pass, and while challenging, they boast incredible views of the mountains. From the seat of a bike, these views are absolutely stunning. And you’ll be rewarded, and ready, for the Beer Garden waiting for you at the camp in Noxon. Plus, you can enjoy a dip in the Clark Fork River, which is right next to camp.
From Noxon, you’ll head to Troy, Montana. This is an incredibly scenic ride, with wide-open skies, forests, mountain peaks, and you’ll ride along rivers and a lake. The small town of Troy is known as the “Gateway to Montana,” and you’ll be able to dive into the Kootenai River when you come into camp.
You’ll head out of Montana and back to Idaho on your way to Sandpoint on this leg of the trip. You’ll travel through Bonner’s Ferry, which boasts “a population of about 2,500 of Idaho’s friendliest people” and the day will end in the city named “Most Beautiful Town in America,” by USA Today and Rand McNally. Once you arrive, you’ll see why, and you’ll be camping on the beach next to the lake.
The sixth day of the Ride Idaho tour is a layover day. Instead of continuing on the tour, you can enjoy either the Bird Aviation Museum and Bottle Bay loop, or the Schweitzer Mountain loop. The museum holds collections of planes, cars, and more, while celebrating inventors that have made everyday items, like kitty litter. Schweitzer Mountain features a steady climb, but has fun shops and games of disc golf.
On the final day of this seven-day adventure, you’ll leave Sandpoint across the incredible Long Bridge that crosses Lake Pend Oreille. The views are spectacular here, and you’ll be crossing the fifth deepest lake in the United States. You’ll follow Priest River before breaking off and heading to Spirit Lake before making the final push back to the starting point of this entire ride: Coeur d’Alene.
The End of the Ride
At the end, you’ll have travelled 400 miles (or more) through some of the most beautiful landscapes of Idaho and Montana. You’ll have had the time of your life, and have made memories that will stay with you forever. You’ll have met other people that share your passion for the outdoors and biking. And you might have even found a reason to come back next year. Ride Idaho is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to see Idaho, and it’s one you won’t want to miss if you love biking and the outdoors.