Places: Rails to Trails

By Beacon Staff

The Rails to Trails project has new momentum with the installation of two bridges over Ashley Creek east of Kila, making the dream of a paved trail from Kila to Somers one step closer to reality.

With the new bridges in place, the Rails-to-Trail Conservancy hopes the final section of trail, about 2.5 miles, will be prepped and paved by next summer, completing a 12-mile section from Meridian Road in Kalispell west through Kila along Ashley Creek.

Built on the former Great Northern Railroad bed, the trail winds its way through currently undeveloped pristine Montana. The paved sections, with slight upgrades, provides for an easy walk, run or bike ride for any ability.

Pause at any of the benches along the way and relax in the surrounding solitude or bird watch. Yellow-headed and Red-winged blackbirds, Sandhill cranes and Canada geese are just a few of a great number of species that frequent the area around the trail.

Jeff Shriner and Parsons Tractor, Harmon Crane, Pacific Steel and Knife River are a few businesses that have contributed to the project. If you would like more information on the history of the conservancy or how to support the project, visit www.railstotrailsofnwmt.com.

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.