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The Kim Williams Nature Trail provides a scenic stroll or bike ride alongside the Clark Fork River, connecting several parks in downtown Missoula. It also connects to the Riverfront Trail, giving users additional opportunities to enjoy the river and access Missoula's neighborhoods, commercials areas, and parks. Just four blocks west of the trail, travelers can also pick up the Bitterroot Trail, that heads south for 51 paved miles.
The Kim Williams Nature Trail lies on the corridor of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific railroad, commonly known as the Milwaukee Road. The portions in Montana were built between 1906 and 1909. Having more than 656 miles of electrified track, the Milwaukee Road was ground breaking in terms of long distance electrification. In addition, this line supported both freight and passenger trains, including high-speed intercity trains, such as the steam-powered Hiawatha.
The trail was named in memory of Kim Williams, a long-time Missoula resident, in 1987. With a degree in human ecology from Cornell University, she was a naturalist with a knack for writing, publishing the book Eating Wild Plants (among others) and penning a nature column in The Missoulian. For more than a decade, she also frequently appeared as a guest commentator on the popular National Public Radio program “All Things Considered.” The pathway runs by the University of Montana, where she earned a master’s degree and taught classes on plants; today, the school offers a fellowship in her name for journalism students interested in the environment.
Parking is available at John Toole Park (at S. 4th St. E., one block east of Gerald Ave.) and at Madison Park, off S. 5th St. E.
This trail is now signed as The Milwaukee Road Path.
Parking for Kim Williams Nature Trail / Ron Mac Donald Riverfront is available in McCormick Park, N46.87245 W114.00314 The Zero Mile Marker for the Bitterroot Branch Trail, Montana Rail Link, Milwaukee Rail Trail/Kim Williams Nature trail is at N46.87077 W114.00797 The Kim Williams Nature Trail is gravel/rock surface for the eastern 2.5 miles of the 4.2 total miles on the Milwaukee RR Grade from the Zero Mile Post. The Milwaukee extends 0.5 miles west to parking at Trailhead at Dakota St / S Russell St. N46.87067 W114.01805 Very active use of these trails. An enjoyable morning ride in Missoula the “Garden City”. Noel Keller 18 Apr 09
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