Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes - Springston Trailhead — Springston, ID
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Dunbar Loop
N 47° 28.717 W 116° 43.908
11T E 520207 N 5258387
Quick Description: When the railroad closed in 1991 the State of Idaho was faced with a serious environmental issue. After mining ore was hauled since 1884, the railbed was full of heavy metals. The answer -- pave it and turning it into a rails-to-trails.
Location: Idaho, United States
Date Posted: 12/20/2019 10:52:42 AM
Waymark Code: WM11V2W
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member wayfrog
Views: 2

Long Description:
Stretching from Plummer to Mullan, this branch of the Union Pacific Railroad hauled mining ore and tailings from Idaho's Coeur d'Alene (Silver Valley) Mining District to smelters.

With silver, zinc, and lead mines proliferating the area the total yield was impressive. The total quantities produced are impressive: over a billion ounces of silver, 3 million tons of zinc, and 8 million tons of lead totalling over $6 billion in value, ranking the valley among the top ten mining districts in world history.

After operating this branch from 1884 until 1991, the Union Pacific Railroad abandoned the route. But the State of Idaho was left with a serious issue. Over 107 years of operation, a lot of tailings loaded with heavy metals had spilt along the railroad. The state was left really two options – digging up the entire 74 miles of roadbed or capping it. The latter was chosen.

Capping it meant paving it to prevent rainwater penetrating the ground and leaching the heavy metals into the surrounding waterways. But this produced an unique recreational opportunity – a paved rails-to-trails stretching across Idaho’s Panhandle. The trail almost touches Washington and Montana.

Riding this trail there are very few points where you access the trail between Plummer and Cataldo. This produces a trail running through the Coeur d’Alene River wetlands where you can see plenty of wildlife up close.

East of Cataldo the rails-to-trails turns more eastward and enters into the narrowing Silver Valley where it passes through a line of old mining towns that have seen better days.

For many reasons – access to wildlife areas, running beside lakes, and history – this is a very impressive rails-to-trails.
Country: United States

State/Province/etc.: Idaho

Trail Start (town): Plummer

Trail Finish (town): Mullan

Trail Length: 73

Trail Surface: Paved

Pack Animals Allowed: no

Fees: no

Internet Link(s):
https://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/trail-coeur-d-alenes


Rail-to-Trail Sign: Not listed

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