Monday, September 2, 2013

The Trail of the Coeur D’Alenes

Sunday Aug 25, 2013 – After a nice relaxed morning, we hitched up the camper and drove north a couple of hours to  Heyburn State Park. This State Park is one of the oldest state parks in the country and it sits on the south end of Chatcolet Lake, just south of I 90 and the town of Coeur D’Alene.

The campground was nice, a bit crowded, though,  (I forgot to take pictures).  I was really expecting lots of tall old growth trees. The area was wooded, but maybe the trees just don’t really get that big here in Idaho…..

Heyburn State Park was right on the Trail of the Coeur D ‘Alenes. We kept reading about this trail but really did not know much about it.


As it turns out, the Trail of the Coeur D ‘Alenes is a well maintained 72 mile paved bike / hike trail that spans the Idaho pan handle from Plummer to Mullen. It follows the former Union Pacific rail line which was built to serve Idaho’s silver mining industry. When Union Pacific decided to shut down this rail line, it was found to have been contaminated with heavy metals from the mining tailings.To contain the contamination, the rail bed and sides were paved, creating this unique trail. No motorized vehicles or motor bikes are allowed.


We took to the trail one morning for a nice walk……


The trail runs right along the lake…..


And crosses Chatcolet Bridge……



This bridge was built in 1921 and originally swung open to let steamboats cruise up the St. Joe River.


The bridge was retrofitted with a unique stair step design that adds strength and makes the assent easier.

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As we crossed the bridge, we heard some squawking and looked up to see a male osprey and his mate sitting on her nest. Osprey’s nests are easy to recognize, They build these huge nests out of branches which sit on top of a flat, high surface. We watched as the male flew out over the water….then BAM! He hit the water and pulled out a fish!


We walked across the bridge and on down the trail about another mile before heading back. The morning was cool and beautiful. The trail was quiet, with just a few bicycles passing us……It felt good to get out and really stretch our legs.

With this kind of bike trail available, we wished that we had a couple of bikes with us. We would content ourselves with walking short sections of this trail as we will be crossing it several times.. Later in the week, we have planned to rent a couple of bikes to ride a section of this trail system, the Hiawatha trail.

1 comment:

  1. Cool. I stayed at Heyburn State Park for a couple of days the latter part of September 2011 (after we had met up in Glacier) and walked that same trail! At the time I sure wished that I'd had a bike too. The trail was very nice! And even then the campground was crowded, especially over the weekend. I enjoyed my visit there.