Trail of the Coeur D’Alenes

  • Bunker Hill lead smelter in Kellogg, Idaho. (credit Town of Kellogg, Idaho)
  • Railroad bridges were resurfaced so bicyclists and pedestrians could use them. (credit Friends of the Coeur D’Alene Trails)
  • Segment of the rails to trails conversion. (credit credit
  • Trail of Coeur D’Alenes Map. (credit Friends of the Coeur D’Alene Trails)

Case Study

Trail of the Coeur D’Alenes | Silver Valley, ID


1983 – 2005


Union Pacific Railroad
U.S. Government
State of Idaho
Coeur D’Alene Tribe

Major Reclamation Issues

Extensive Water and Groundwater Contamination
Diversity of settings on site, including residential and industrial facilities, as well as natural areas


Trail of Coeur D’Alene’s Brochure

In the late 1800s, a railroad was constructed in Silver Valley to transport silver and lead ore from nearby mines to a local smelter. The original railbed was built using mine waste rock and tailings and contamination was exacerbated from continued accidental ore spillings along the railway.
The State of Idaho, Union Pacific, and the Coeur D’Alene Tribe worked together to cleanup and remake this superfund site into a recreational area. Approximately 200,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil were removed. Railroad tracks were removed, and paved trailways serve to cap and contain contaminants. The recreational area consists of more than 70 miles of paved trails, has over 150,000 annual users, and generates $14 million of economic activity. The cleanup of the trail area was certified complete in 2005 and in 2008 Union Pacific transferred ownership to the State of Idaho and the Coeur D’Alene Tribe.