Connect with us

Local News

Billings to get two additional trails by the fall of 2023



Billings, Montana – It’s easy to assume that residents of Billings adore their parks because the Magic City is home to more than 70 miles of trails. This year, two brand-new trails are launching in two high-demand locales.

Long considered a secret jewel of the city, Riverfront Park now gets a fresh new design on its eastern side.

“You can see a couple of the big cottonwoods laying down over there that they had to take down,” said Billings superintendent of parks, Mike Piig on Thursday.

The first stage in creating a roughly mile-long new trail was simply to grind up the cottonwood and buckthorn trees that covered the region.

“We got a couple of grants that allowed us to come through and extend the trail back from the eastern edge of Riverfront, all the way to the Washington Street Bridge streets,” Piig said.

Piig stated that the route, which cost $500,000 and was entirely funded by grants, should have its first paved segment by the end of June.

“It’s a true multipurpose trail so it’ll be ten feet wide. So bikers and walkers and joggers can all use it at the same time,” said Piig.

The beginning of the accessible trail for people with disabilities will be on Washington Street, where a bridge will link park visitors to where a parking lot will eventually be built.

“There’s the thought that we want to do the marathon loop, you know connect the Rims to the river and get all that going so there are plans in the works for all of that,” Piig said.

It’s an ambitious idea, comparable to the one Billings TrailNet, a nonprofit organization, is pursuing on the Rims.

“It’ll just go from Zimmerman Trail all the way to that stub right on the west side of the airport roundabout,” said executive director of Billings TrailNet, Kristi Drake.

Work on the three-mile Skyline Trail just got underway this week. The almost three-million-dollar trail was funded by grants and donations.

“They’re moving the dirt from the airport over to here because they’re just excavating over there for that project and repurposing the dirt over here,” Drake said.

She’s hopeful that by this fall, the handicapped-accessible trail will be finished.

“There will be three designated parking areas here, a truck turnout, a couple of turnouts. We’re hoping there’s going to be some amenities also,” said Drake.

A few of bike repair stations are among the amenities. According to Drake, residents from Zimmerman Park all the way to Swords and even Coulson Park will be connected by the Skyline Trail.

“It’s going to give us 16 miles of continuous trail,” Drake said.

Like Piig, Drake also hopes that ultimately all of these pathways will be connected to others throughout the city. “What better view than right here of the entire city,” said Drake.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *