The North Idaho Centennial Trail is a 23 mile pedestrian/bicycle trail that was envisioned back in 1987. The idea was discussed with trail enthusiasts/visionaries in the CDA and Spokane area. Their vision was to connect Spokane and Coeur d’Alene with a trail system that would be 62 miles in length. The Spokane section was proposed to be 39 miles long and the section in North Idaho was proposed to be 23 miles long. The trail would connect people in two states, several communities, neighborhoods, parks and other points of interest. It took nearly three years of planning and a considerable amount of opposition to overcome before the first section of trail was installed in Idaho. That first section, constructed in 1990, extended from the historic state line railroad bridge to Spokane Street in downtown Post Falls. The two respective groups for Idaho and Washington had to raise the money to build the connecting trail system and that was a monumental task. The North Idaho Centennial Trail cost approximately $2.4M and the Spokane Centennial Trail cost a little over $5M.
Idaho became a state in 1890 and we wanted to celebrate our state centennial in 1990 by creating this lasting legacy of a trail system. Washington’s centennial was in 1989 so both states worked together to bring the vision of the Centennial Trail to fruition. It took nearly five more years to complete the trail in North Idaho. Perseverance, dedication and hard work by hundreds and hundreds of individuals who donated their time and money to see the project completed was finally recognized.
In the early stages of the planning process, then Governor Cecil Andrus took a tour of the trail route and said, “Fifty years from now, people will look at this trail and think; what vision you people had when you put this trail in”. It has not been quite 30 years since the first section of the trail was constructed and people already have that deep appreciation for this great trail system.
Today the North Idaho Centennial Trail is supported by the City of Coeur d’Alene, the City of Post Falls, Kootenai County, the Idaho State Parks and the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation. The foundation was formed in 1990 to help oversee the trail maintenance and assist with the long term care and capital improvements on the trail. You can visit, volunteer or join the North Idaho Centennial Trail at nictf.org. We thank the thousands of people that use, support and enjoy the trail.