Weiser River National Recreation Trail

Trail Map

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The Weiser River National Recreation Trail is a feast of desert canyons, evergreen forests and alpine meadows, following the former right-of-way of a Union Pacific Railroad line between Tamarack and the town of Weiser. Other highlights of the trail include 62 historic rail trestles and wildlife such as deer, waterfowl, quail, turkeys, herons and eagles. You may even encounter coyotes, bears or a mountain lion. If you like to fish, bring a pole and drop a line for rainbow trout in the Weiser River, which the trail follows for pretty much all of its route.

The Weiser River NRT is the longest trail in Idaho; the southern end mainly comprises rolling hills and open canyons, while the northern end tends to be more densely forested. Beginning on the southern end of the old Union Pacific Railroad and the Idaho Northern Railroad corridor, the trail has its roots in the city of Weiser, an agricultural town with a population of roughly 4,600.

Continuing north on the trail, you will come across the Weiser River Canyons lining the banks of the Weiser River between the cities of Weiser and Midvale. The Galloway dam site is a part of the lower canyon and a popular fishing spot on the trail. North of the canyons you'll run into the small town of Midvale where you can call Eva's Place—a trailside bed-and-breakfast—home if you're on the trail for more than a day-trip. The next scenic site that you cannot miss is 8 miles from Midvale in the city of Cambridge, home of the deepest gorge in North America, Hells Canyon. Its 10-mile wide expanse showcases the differing terrain, climate and elevation of this rural landscape.

Nearly 21 miles up the trail you'll reach the small community of Council. The surrounding valley is a beautiful open green space with wooded hills, farms and ranches. The city is said to have been named after the Shoshoni Indians who inhabited the area before the arrival of settlers. Visiting pioneers told stories of the Indians gathering in the valley with their horses. To the pioneers, this seemed to represent an Indian council meeting, resulting in its current city name, Council.

North of Council the Weiser River NRT passes through the mill town of Tamarack and then slightly farther north you will find Rubicon at trail's end.

Four communities along the trail provide services, including Weiser (the largest, with many restaurants, motels and shops), Midvale, Cambridge and Council. There is an annual spring bike ride along the trail, and in May, a 4-day wagon train event beginning in Weiser and ending in Council.

The Weiser River National Recreation Trail was a Rails-to-Trail Conservancy Trail of the Month in August 2006.

Parking and Trail Access

You can access the Weiser River National Recreation Trail in dozens of places along it 85-mile route, including in every town along the way.

Reviews

Cool biking experience with grandsons.

   August, 2015 by fmbfeb

Biked this trail from Evergreen campground to Council last week with my 14 year old grandsons. We dropped off my Honda 110 trail bike in Council for a shuttle vehicle and proceeded to campground for overnighter and started down trail at noon next day. ...read more

Safe in the rail bank.

   July, 2015 by gfernow

First rode downhill from Tamarack, about 10 years ago. The bridge decks weren't finished then, so if you turned your bike sideways, the pedals stuck out far enough it wouldn't fall through the gaps between the timbers. I figured the trail needed to be ...read more

Potential for a Great Overnight Bike Ride

   July, 2015 by rkhurst

This is a great, long trail that takes you through varying landscapes. The trail itself has a variety of surfaces. There were some rocky stretches, but nothing we couldn't plow through with some effort for a mile here or there. Unfortunately, because ...read more