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Wallace, Idaho: 5 Things We Love

This northern Idaho mining town is rich in great eats and outdoor adventures.

a biker takes in the view along the Route of the Hiawatha, image
Photo credit
Photo: Joel Riner/Quicksilver
Photo caption
Trails along the scenic Route of the Hiawatha serve bikers and hikers.

The entire downtown of this Silver Valley mining town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, its crenellated brick buildings in proud repose near a freeway bypass built to preserve them. Area code is 208.

1  Go to the Red Light Garage for huckleberry pancakes and shakes. Owners Jamie and Barbara Baker buy 30 gallons of the fruit from local pickers every year. Stay to gawk at the flying saucer out front and the 500 license plates nailed to the ceiling. 556-0575, redlightgarage.com.

2  Fainting Goat Wine Bar’s fancy Enomatic machine dispenses 16 red wines, and the vibe is comfy. Diners crowd around amid upcycled furniture—a trough from the family farm is now a wine bar—to enjoy bacon-and-smoked-Gouda mac and cheese. 556-1650, faintinggoatwinebar.com.

3  Wander two miles through forests of pine, cedar, spruce, and fir and alongside cascading Placer Creek on the Pulaski Tunnel Trail to learn about the Big Blowup of 1910, believed to be the largest fire in U.S. history. Read how Big Ed Pulaski saved most of his Forest Service crew by holding them at gunpoint. 664-2318, tinyurl.com/opw73z9.

4  The Wallace District Mining Museum highlights the industry that once made this the state’s third-largest town (556-1592, wallace miningmuseum.org). At the nearby Oasis Bordello Museum (753-0801, facebook.com/oasisbordellomuseum), it’s as if the last occupants just stepped out.

5  More than 90 miles of trails crisscross the area, but the star path is the Route of the Hiawatha, reopening May 23. Bike the 15-mile Idaho section downhill, then grab a shuttle back to the start. 744-1301, ridethehiawatha.com.

This article was first published in May 2015. Some facts my have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.