Latah TrailDistance: 12 miles paved from Moscow to the far end of Troy, 4 miles compact gravel trail south of Troy in Bear Creek Canyon.
Difficulty: Easy to moderate. Mostly flat with a few hills, climbing slightly in elevation from Moscow to Troy.
Access: Parking for the Latah Trail is available in Moscow at Blaine Street and state Highway 8 in the NRS parking lot and on the edge of Moscow, near Carmichael Road. There is also a parking lot on Highway 8 about 6 miles toward Troy. In Troy, parking is available at the City Park. Be considerate of private property when parking in other locations.
Trail features: The trail is a non-motorized 10-foot-wide well-paved path along a former rail line that parallels Highway 8 from Moscow to Troy, running through rolling farm land. At Howell Road, it veers away from the highway through a forested area for the last couple of miles before reaching Troy.
Miles from both cities are marked along the way. Vaulted toilets, picnic shelters and benches are situated along the trail. Interpretive signs on the path provide information ranging from American Indian history to modern agricultural use of the land to the geological processes that formed the landscape.
While riding through the farmland, watch for birds and other small wildlife like rabbits and squirrels. Through this stretch, there are few trees to block wind or provide shade. Protect yourself from elements and bring adequate water for your ride, as it is not available along the trail.
The trail gets high use on warm, sunny days, so watch for other trail users. Leashes are required on the trail, but even so, cyclists should use caution while passing folks walking dogs. In addition, the trail crosses several roads along the way, so watch for cars.
Ride the full loop between Moscow and Troy for a total of 24 miles. Those riding from Moscow to Troy often spend time at Troy City Park, the library or Filling Station Café on Main Street, a favorite refueling spot for cyclists. For a shorter ride, arrange for a shuttle to pick you up at one end of the trail or just ride a portion of the trail. The Latah Trail also connects with the Bill Chipman Trail that runs between Moscow and Pullman.
Bear Creek Canyon, past Troy, is forested and peaceful, but much more isolated than the other parts of the trail. Watch wild animals from a distance and use care around the creek area. Part of the rail bed corridor from Troy to Kendrick runs through private property and is not open to the public. Please respect private property rights and obey all “no tresspassing” signs.
—by Michelle Schmidt