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The Ferry County Rail Trail runs between the communities of Republic and Danville near the Canadian border in northeast Washington. It follows the former corridor of the Great Northern Railway.
The full 25-mile rail-trail is open for non-motorized multiple use, including mountain biking, walking, and horseback riding. In winter, the trail is groomed for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The experience includes scenic views along Curlew Lake and the Kettle River, two former railroad bridges, and a short tunnel cut into the rocky hillside.
Two sections of the trail have an improved surface: a 5.5-mile section along Curlew Lake and a 3.1-mile section between the town of Curlew and the tunnel. These sections have a finely crushed stone surface that is smooth and hard-packed, offering an experience similar to pavement and suitable for use with road bikes, inline skates, and wheelchairs.
The trail's northern end, from the tunnel to Danville, is undergoing improvements. A future phase will also re-surface the railroad ballast that currently exists in the 10-mile section between Curlew Lake and the town of Curlew.
From the southern end of the trail, you can connect to the Golden Tiger Pathway, which heads 5.5 miles southwest into Republic and is open to ATVs in addition to non-motorized uses.
There are parking lots (unpaved) available at several trailheads (from south to north): Herron Creek Road, Miyoko Point Road, Blacks Beach Road, Kiwanis Road (located at the north end of Curlew Lake and considered the main trailhead), and North Curlew (near the town of Curlew).
The improved section of trail around Curlew lake was great but the majority of the trail was ballast to the town of Curlew and was either closed or unrideable. We wanted to do the trail from Curlew Lake to Danville but ended up going to Curlew on highway and then turning around. Scenery is great but multiple improvements needed for it to be a good trail.
Such a wonderful idea! Danville to Curlew is a nice ride runs along the Kettle River. Unfortunately Curlew to Curlew Lake is a nightmare of closed areas due to washouts, thick ballast that is difficult to ride and garbage. Very surprised the small towns are not jumping in to support and finish this trail, they could benefit from the biking traffic. Do not expect to find food along the way, come prepared, the Tugboat in Curlew is the only food to be found between start and finish.
We came to Curlew Lake looking for some rail trail riding. The map provided by the State park seemed to provide lots of choices but then we learned that certain trails weren't really as ready as published. We chose the trail from Curlew to Danville. Well we found out that you can't depend on the map for any accuracy, also that the trail from Curlew to even the Tunnel isn't accessible as it's taped off. We rode it anyway and walked the washed out areas that prevented riding. We continued on, to poorly maintained trails about 4 kms further on from the tunnel, that were washed out where I carried the bikes through informal creeks, to weeds growing 3-4ft high on the trail. Lastly as we got to Lone Ranch Creek Road, the washout was so bad we had to walk through to a private road to get around it. Yet, nowhere was there any of this information. We understand that weather changes the topography, but post it at trailheads! Come on, communicate with riders if you want people to use your trails!
We only did the improved parts of the trail on the west side of Lake Curlew and from the trailhead north of Curlew to the tunnel. Altogether 16.5 miles. Surface was packed fine gravel and worked well with our street cruiser bikes (Electra Townies). Trail was well maintained and beautiful! We saw wildlife from the start. Also it was not busy early am and we beat the heat 😊. Only way to get better would be to pave this trail.
I have been in Ferry For over 40 years and have been waiting for Rails To Trails for a good part of that time] I can now ride my bike from Curlew to the Tunnel. Now I can stay in shape and enjoy the Kettle river on that part of the trail. I would like to thank all the participants that were responsible for making this happen. I have donated funds in the past and will continue to do so.
Very nice job paving the trail. Recent trip about 9 miles up to bridge was excellent. Concerning that atvs and motorized vehicles have access as this destroys the peace and calmness of trail. And also erodes the upkeep of paving project. Just saying!
The Ferry County Rail Trail is in the early development stages with many
non-motorized enthusiasts lending financial, moral and hands-on support.
A lot of folks have worked really hard, against impossible odds, to make
this non-motorized rail trail a reality. This trail has it all: runs
along the largest lake in Ferry County; along the Kettle River; one day
on a 1/4 mile trestle and through a short tunnel. The Ferry County Rail
Trail has the possibility of connecting with a rail trial system in
Canada...maybe the first international rail trail. The trail can be
ridden on a bike, although the railroad ballast is kind of a rough ride.
This winter (2010-2011) a local supporter is grooming a section of the
trail for cross county skiing. The Ferry County Rail Trail will be an
exciting asset to the community. If you can, please email the Ferry
County Commissioners and express your support for the Ferry County rail trail.
[firstname.lastname@example.org] And make the journey to Ferry County and
check-out the rail trail...it's really worth it.
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