We love riding the 72-mile bike trail called the “Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes”. It starts in Plummer, Idaho and winds its way along the southern edge of Lake Coeur d’Alene, on up the east side of the lake to Harrison, and then follows the Coeur d’Alene River on up into the mountains to Montana near Lookout Pass, Idaho. It eventually ends close to the “Route of the Hiawatha”, another fabulous Rails to Trails bike path with trestles and train tunnels.
We have not biked the entire 72 miles of the trail but we are trying, just give us time. This time we started the bike trail at Heyburn State Park on Lake Chacolet (pronounced CHAT-kot-let). This lake sits at the southern end of Lake Coeur d’Alene at the mouth of St. Joe’s River, one of the highest navigable rivers in the world. We decided to use our tandem bicycle since we usually travel with our single bikes when in the motorhome.
As we left the area the first hurdle was the historic 1921 Chacolet Bridge. The bridge has a stairway type ramp up and down to help those climbing the bridge. It was actually quite easy on our tandem to get up the ramp and even more fun going down the other side. More on that later.
After crossing the bridge we turned north and followed the eastern side of Lake Coeur d’Alene admiring the scenery and the wildlife (geese, ducks, loons, herons, etc.). No wolves or moose were spotted on this trip but we have seen them on previous bike rides on this same trail further east.
After a little less than 10 miles we arrived in the lakeside city of Harrison which at one time, a very long time ago, was the largest town on Lake Coeur d’Alene. It has a nice marina, RV park, and a restaurant, right on the water along with a cute town full of shops up on the hill.
It’s a perfect place to stop and enjoy lunch. We have stopped here at the waterfront RV Park many times in the past either on the motorcycle or on our waverunners.
And yes, the City of Harrison has a waterfront RV Park. A bit tight and not much privacy (none) but with waterfront sites, free dock, and campfire pits it can’t be beat. It has water and electric and a dump station on site AND the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes runs right by it, perfect for taking a long bike ride.
Seeing as we haven’t ridden our bikes in a few months we decided to return and take the 10 mile journey back to save our bums some!!
Have I mentioned what it is like to ride a tandem? The person who is on the front is known as the pilot or the captain and the person in the rear is known as the stoker or the rear admiral. Yours truly is the rear admiral. This means I don’t control the steering or the gears, I just pedal when told to, stop pedaling when told to, and provide MORE power when told to. Basically I don’t have much control. Pardon my French but this is what it is like coming DOWN the bridge at full speed.
And, yes, I didn’t have to pedal the whole way down the bridge nor all the way to the trail head parking to the car. And, yes, our bums were sore when we arrived back at the car.
PS – Heyburn State Park has 3 fabulous campgrounds, lots of hiking trails, and easy access to the water along with a great boat launch.