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The Old Yellowstone Trail follows the old right-of-way of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad in southwestern Montana. The CMSPP, more commonly called the Milwaukee Road, was active in this part of the country until the 1980s when it filed for bankruptcy. Powell County purchased the corridor in 2017 using funds from the Natural Resource Damage Program with the aim of building a non-motorized trail stretching from the small community of Garrison south to Deer Lodge. The trail combines the scenic outdoors and compelling frontier history in the ways that only Montana can.
The first 7.5 miles of the trail is open for use. Starting at the Garrison trailhead near Sawmill Road & Garrison Back Road, trail users will enjoy the proximity to the meandering Clark Fork River. Refurbished railroad bridges take users over the river at different points. A second trailhead is located about two-thirds of the way down, at Kohls Crossing/ Rock Creek Cattle Road. The trail currently ends about 2 miles south of this trailhead, and about 4.5 miles north of Deer Lodge.
A second phase of construction will close the gap to Deer Lodge through Grant-Kohrs Ranch, a historic site and working ranch run by the National Parks Service where the history and development of the Western cattle industry comes to life.
This trail is a link in the series of cross-country bike-ped pathways known as the Great American Rail Trail.
There are two designated access points: In Garrison, the trailhead is near Sawmill Road at the north end of the trail. There is a second trailhead at Kohrs Bend/ Rock Creek Cattle Road. Both trailheads have parking, vault toilets, trash cans and picnic benches.
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