Rails to Trails

By Beacon Staff

Summer has arrived and for those looking for an easy yet beautiful place to be outside take a stroll along the Rails to Trails of Northwest Montana.

Built on the former Great Northern Railroad bed, the trail winds its way through currently undeveloped pristine Montana. A paved section from Kalispell west to Ashley Creek, 5.5 miles, has a slight upgrade while going west which provides for an easy coast back to Kalispell. The trail is the perfect place for pedestrians of all abilities to run, walk or bike.

From Ashley Creek, one can keep moving west to Kila and Smith Lake on an unpaved section of the trail. The improved gravel section along U.S. Highway 2 is well groomed and easy to navigate. Once you’re on the trail, feel free to pause at any of the benches along the way and bird watch. “It’s a nature ride,” said Kalispell resident Krissa Muonio. “You don’t have cars whizzing past you. I like the scenery and wildlife.” Yellow-headed and Red-winged blackbirds, Sandhill cranes, Canada geese are just a few of a great number of species that frequent the area around the trail.

How to get there:
Access the trail off the intersection of Appleway Drive and Meridian Road. From Kila, access at Kila Road and U.S. Highway 2, near the Cottage Inn.