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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. 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 the trail's end on Whispering Pine Road, past Rubicon.
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.
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.
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