This isn't one of Missoula's more scenic trails, but nevertheless it's a great connector from downtown to the western edges of suburbia. The trail was completed in 2011 and zigzags along an asphalt corridor with occassional on-road segments. The short, on-road segments are widened shoulders separated from traffic with flagged markings, making for a highly visible route on which cars are not permitted.
This part of town is undergoing changes, so you'll find dismantled light industrial areas, vacant lots and a few not-so-attactive back yards. But the trail is well marked with excellent at-grade road crossings...and Missoula drivers tend to be polite, stopping to let you cross.
On the east end, the trail begins at a hub just south of McCormick Park and Ogren Field, where the city's baseball team plays. At the hub the Bitterroot Branch Trail
heads south and the Riverfront Trail
heads north and east (both going toward downtown Missoula).
The best place to park is at McCormick Park then take the Riverfront Trail west to the trail hub, where the Bitterroot Branch, Riverfront and Milwaukee trails meet.
As the description notes, this ain't purty but it's a great link for people who live on the west side of town to access downtown and the university. The trail is in great shape, having just opened in 2011, and is well marked, especially the at-grade crossings. ...