Pedal the Palouse
The Palouse is a great place for biking with everything from 35 miles of paved bike paths to full-on single track mountain biking, and some great hilly low traffic road riding thrown in just for fun. We will get you rolling in the right direction! For your safety, helmets are always recommended. Hand signal your stops and turns. There are endless possibilities for loops on gravel roads in the Palouse, but gravel riding is not everyone’s cup of tea. If it is yours, grab a county map from Dissmore’s IGA and head out for your own adventure. Bring tools food, water and use fat tires for washboard. Click here for your Big Picture Map.
Extended trip planned? Secure parking is available at Wheatland Express.
Top Palouse Road Rides
Tour of the Palouse Loop
Moderate traffic, moderate to very hilly, 50 miles.
The route for the Annual Tour de Lentil during the National Lentil Festival, this 50 mile course has flat areas with rolling climbs and fast descents, and 2 steep inclines. Head north from Pullman on State Rt 27 for 14 miles, turn left on Clear Creek Rd. Bear right near the Kamiak Butte turnoff and continue straight. Turn right at the stop sign and pedal up a 1.5 mile hill with stair-stepping climbs near the top. Watch the railroad tracks as you cross them going into and out of Palouse, and head south on State Rt 27 back to Pullman.
Scenic Palouse Loop
Light traffic, steep hills, 2.5 miles.
This scenic loop has classic Palouse views of fields and forested valleys. Start in Palouse, head south on State Rt 27, turn right on Clear Creek Rd. and right again on 272, and back to Palouse to visit the Green Frog Cafe, four antique stores, The Left Bank Gallery and Roy M. Chatters Printing Museum.
Light traffic, scenic, one killer hill, approx 14 miles.
Begin in Moscow on the Latah Trail at the corner of Mountain View and the Troy Highway. Head toward Troy on the trail for about a mile, then turn right on Lenville Road, follow Lenville up and over a big climb, then through flatter countryside. Turn left on Genessee-Troy Rd with an easier climb then down to the hamlet of Joel where you reconnect with the Latah Trail (turn left) which will take you back to town.
Steptoe Butte Out and Back
Light to moderate traffic, for the athletic rider only, 30 miles from Pullman, one way.
An athletic route to the top of the 3,612 ft. butte, which is a favorite viewpoint for visitors and photographers. Steep climb and descent, paved ride all the way to the top. From Pullman, head north to Palouse on State Rt 27, continue through Garfield. Turn left onto Hume Rd, follow signs to Steptoe Butte State Park. You could start at the bottom of the hill off Hume Rd. Watch for grain trucks in the summer.
Palouse Mountain Biking
Various length rides, singletrack and doubletrack, moderately technical.
For real mountain biking, Moscow Mountain is the crown jewel, as there are miles and miles of lovingly handcrafted
singletrack covering the mountain, most of which are open to hikers and bikers and closed to motorized use, thanks to the generosity of landowners (Bennett Lumber in particular).
See MAMBA website for current trail conditions and directions. Headwaters Loop is a good place to start, with rolling singletrack, moderate technical features and enough climbing to work up a good appetite as you sit on a promontory and enjoy the view.
Take a look at this video for an added thrill!
Moscow Mountain – the Best Trail
Giant White Pine
Latah County, various length rides, all quite steep and challenging but fun.
Begin your ride at the Giant White Pine Campground for your own adventure through old-growth forest. There is a network of dirt trails in the area ranging from 1-mile to an 18-mile loop, beginning and ending at the campground. A Forest Service map is recommended. Drive north out of Moscow on Hwy 95, turn right onto State Hwy 6, proceeding through Potlatch to the Giant White Pine Campground, which is about 36 driving miles from Moscow.
Hell’s Gate State Park
Lewiston, various length rides, moderate to quite technical
Hell’s Gate State Park near Lewiston has good mountain biking with an easy-to-navigate loop of single and double track. There are challenging climbs and descents, as well as easy rolling trails in this open, dry park. Although hot in summer, this is another good winter destination. Bring slime tubes or be prepared to fix some flats.
See also Mountain Bike Guide to Hog Heaven by Jim LaFortune.
Paved Non-Motorized Trails
Bill Chipman Palouse Trail
Pullman to Moscow, 7 miles, easy, often busy
The centerpiece of Palouse riding has to be the much-loved Chipman Trail, connecting Moscow to Pullman with 7 miles of smooth pathway ideal for walking, running, biking and skating parallel to Hwy 270. Open from dawn till dusk year-round, the Chipman Trail connects with Moscow’s Paradise Path, a 1.5 mile route between the University of Idaho campus, downtown Moscow and the Latah Trail. From Moscow, users may continue onto the Latah Trail to Troy. The Chipman Trail is flat overall with only a slight elevation gain from Pullman to Moscow. This is a busy trail and users should practice good trail etiquette: keep to the right, maintain appropriate speed, and signal to pass.
Pullman Trail System
Distance varies, encompasses over 7 miles, easy, urban
A growing system of trails running throughout Pullman connecting to the Chipman Trail to downtown at Pine Street Plaza Bridge. Includes paths alongside Grand Avenue and Terre View Streets, Pine Street Plaza Bridge, Downtown Riverwalk, Koppel Fam, City Playfields and the recently completed Johnson Road Spur.
Moscow, 1.5 miles, easy, urban
A system of connected paths and bike lanes running roughly east-west through Moscow. Gain entrance to the Paradise Path from the Chipman Trail on the west, the Latah Trail on the east, and from many points within Moscow, including 6th St. in downtown Moscow. Stop for coffee or frozen yogurt along the trail.
Moscow to Troy, 11 miles, easy to moderate climbs, scenic
This is another smooth, paved path connecting the towns of Moscow and Troy, Idaho. Used by pedestrians, bikers, inline skaters, walkers, runners, wheel-chair users and cross country skiers, the trail parallels Hwy 8 to Howell Rd where it winds north through heavily forested areas to complete the last few miles of its journey.
Lewiston Levee Recreation Trail & Clarkston Greenbelt Trail
Distance varies, easy
There is an extensive system of paved paths running alongside the Lewiston and Clarkston river levees. These are very flat and easy riding and can almost always be ridden in the winter when other paths in the area may be snow-covered. There are parks along the trail for rest stops. On the Lewiston side, access the trail off the Hwy 12 by-pass and other locations along Snake River Avenue. On the Clarkston side, cross the Snake River Bridge (Hwy 12) and follow the signs to Asotin, go through downtown Clarkston and stop at Swallows Park along the river. The trail goes up and downriver from there.
Ed Corkill Memorial Trail
Distance varies, easy
The trail begins near the Kendrick High School and runs along Hwy 3 and scenic Potlatch Creek for 5.3 miles ending at the Juliaetta Centennial Park and baseball field.
Regional Must-Do Rides
Plummer to Mullen Idaho, Distance 72 miles, mostly flat with steady, gentle climbing on eastern end
Cyclists come from around the country to experience this stunning rail-trail. See lakes, bridges, and miles of wilderness-quality scenery as well as a peek into Idaho’s industrial past from this beautiful smooth path finished in 2004.
Idaho-Montana Border, distance 15 miles, all down-hill if you shuttle
With 10 tunnels (including the 1.66 mile-long Taft tunnel) and 7 high trestles, this is a tell-folks-back-home bike ride. Bring the kids. Bring good lights. Shuttle service begins in summer.
Area Bike Tours & Races
Usually in June. Just 18 miles long, this bike ride gains 2,000 feet in elevation on the Old Spiral Highway outside Lewiston, Idaho. Not a race; but finishers do get a T-shirt. Sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church of Clarkston for many years; now a fund-raiser for the Clarkston High School Band.
This ride features huckleberry ice cream in Elk River. The 54-miler starts in Deary City Park. Presented by Twin Rivers Cyclists.
Usually in July, 70 miles with 4000 feet of climbing, you get to admire the panoramic views to the south and east as you climb the Old Grade and spot the wild flowers in yellows, purples and blues and hear the birds twitter.
Usually in March, cross country mountain bike race at Hell’s Gate State Park.
Usually in August, this 50 mile course with rolling climbs and fast decents, as well as flat areas and steep inclines. Ends at Reaney Park for the National Lentil Festival.
Usually in June. Join riders who face the challenging switchbacks of the Old White Bird Grade. Experience 13 miles with a gentle climb starting at Hammer Creek at 1600’ and continuing to the summit at 3800’. All ages are welcome to come & join in the fun! Souvenir T-shirt and picnic lunch at Hammer Creek Recreational Park.