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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.
11.9 miles of the trail are 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 a third of the way down, at Kohls Crossing/Rock Creek Cattle Road. About 6.4 miles from the northern end, the trail splits—the western branch continues as the main route to Deer Lodge and the eastern branch comes to a dead end in about a mile. The trail heads south 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 multiuse 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. Visit the TrailLink map for all options and detailed directions.
The first 7 miles from Garrison isn't just "crushed stone" The trail is dirt, some crushed stone, and big rocks. It's so bumpy. We didn't enjoy riding 14 miles round trip on the rocks.
The Old Yellowstone Trail is done! The connection from Garrison to Deer Lodge is completed. The County is working on provided a crushed aggregate base to improve the trail terrain. I've used this trail to xc ski, run, bike and fish. It's a wonderful place to get away.
This trail is a segment of the Great American Rail-Trail (GART).
Location: Deer Lodge, MT
Parking: Garrison Trailhead
Trail Condition: Gravel with some real rough patches and a short nice section of compacted road base. A work in progress.
Signage: Information sign at both trailheads. Trail map at trailhead indicates a distance of 10 miles but really is only 7.5 miles as stated on TrailLink. Looks like some mileage (.5 mile increments) signage will be going up but not there yet.
Comments: This trail takes you through the countryside a distance from I-90. I saw several deer near the trail and no other trail users. Most certainly a Mt. Bike trail at this time. Hopefully the goal is put in compacted road base the full length as they have in a short length of the trail. The trail is still being worked but is passable. As with other rail-trails, long straight stretches and level. Potential for a nice trail away from it all.
Loving the development of this trail! Beautiful surroundings and fairly smooth terrain.
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