Headwaters Trail System

Montana

8 Reviews

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Headwaters Trail System Facts

States: Montana
Counties: Gallatin
Length: 11.8 miles
Trail end points: Missouri Headwaters State Park and Droulliard Fishing Access on State Route 2
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6515705

Headwaters Trail System Description

The Headwaters Trail System is a paved network of trails, portions of which run along the former Milwaukee Railroad corridor, through the City of Three Forks to Missouri Headwaters State Park. As its name implies, the park contains the origin of the Missouri River, formed where the Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin rivers meet. Visitors can camp where Lewis and Clark stayed on their famous expedition across the country.

The scenic trail provides stunning views of the surrounding mountains and grasslands, winds around ponds and through old growth cottonwood trees, and ends on the banks of the Jefferson River. In 2007, the system was selected as the Montana Trail of the Year by the state's Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Eventually, the trail will be extended to Manhattan, Montana, and other parts of the gorgeous Gallatin Valley.

This trail is a gateway to the Great American Rail-Trail, a nearly 4,000 mile developing trail that will connect the country from Washington, D.C., to Washington state. Gateway trails represent those iconic trails that make possible the Great American Rail-Trail in each of the states it connects. Learn more at www.greatamericanrailtrail.org

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at the western tip of the trail. From US 287, turn onto State Route 2. After a half mile, turn left (just after you cross the Jefferson River); the turn will be marked with a "Droulliard Fishing Access" sign. The access road will terminate in an unpaved parking area where the trail begins.

On the eastern end of the trail, parking and restrooms are available in Missouri Headwaters State Park (1585 Trident Road).

Headwaters Trail System Reviews

Great trails for small town

s

I parked downtown on main street, then rode to both ends of the paved trails and got 20 miles. That would include a few blocks of riding on residential streets, but impossible to get lost as it is a small town. Trails are flat and smooth. Three Forks has a couple of historic hotels and several restaurants.

Nice trail, but noisy.

s

Very nice trail but very noisy because trails runs parallel to I-90 so lots of car and truck noise. Lots of history in Headwaters State Park.

Great ride

s

Love this ride..over 20 miles of paved trail through marshlands, streams, rivers ending at Headwaters state park. Lots of birds, moose, deer. All under the Big Sky!!

Downtown Three Forks to Headwaters SP

s

This trail is not well marked (if at all). The visitor center in Three Forks couldn’t give us definitive directions for connecting to the trail from downtown. We located it ourselves.

If you’d like to start the trail in downtown Three Forks, you’ll find the path located on 4th Avenue East and Oak Street behind the school. The path starts behind the field track and playground and will run adjacent to the golf course. The trail in town is a mixed bag. Sometimes it is narrow with tree roots growing onto the path.

The nicest part of the trail runs 4 miles north of town into Missouri Headwaters State Park. You can then cycle further on the lightly-traveled road to a picnic area and historical display before working your way back into town. The section we rode on was all paved. It is an easy ride and one I would recommend if you happen to be in Three Forks.

Accordion

Great Little Trail System

s

I rode this trail yesterday and was really impressed. For a small community, they have a great trail system. Beautiful views, lots of clean air. I rode in from the east and the trail ends up at the High School track, kinda awkward. The ride to Drouillard Boat Launch was great, as was the ride around the lakes near the golf course.

Fun for the family

s

Rode through the state park and into Three Forks. It's a combination of paved, gravel, and dirt trails. Not too demanding but some areas can be tough for an inexperienced rider. There's no problem with pushing a bike when you need to! Several historical markers in the park made the ride interesting. The trail to Three Forks was paved. Nice scenery. Heard the traffic but didn't have to deal with it. Wish I had time to explore the town. Maybe on the next trip.

EZ -mostly level out & back from our camp @Headwaters State Park

s

Beautiful ride, follows highway but not ON highway; the trail winds through a city garden between 3-Forks and State Park. We went N to boat launch, past day-use area on Trident highway as the (?a) trail continues through SP but it is not paved.

nice family ride near Bozeman

s

We rode this recently, we did an out and back from the Headwaters State Park to the ponds in Three Forks, its an easy ride, flat and paved but fun for even the littlest ones including those riding pedal-less Skuut bikes (too far to do the whole length for my 2.5 year old but we were towing a Chariot as well) doesn't seem very crowded as we only saw a few other bikers on a Sunday afternoon in August. The views of the surrounding mountains and of the valley are very nice however the trail does run very close to I90 so you will hear it much of the time. If you plan on starting or finishing in the Headwaters State Park be careful, I cannot recommend the first/last mile of the trail (ending at the state campground) for kids or anyone not on a mountain bike or not good at technical riding. That first/last mile is not paved and is very loose deep sand and gravel, an accident waiting to happen. On our return segment I got on the road right where the trail turns to sand and left the family there to catch butterflies while I road the mile to get the car, there is one good safe parking spot to load bikes and passengers just off the road where the trail turns to sand.

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