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The creation of the Silver Bow Creek Greenway is part of a massive Superfund cleanup of Silver Bow Creek, which has suffered more than a century of pollution from the copper and silver mining operations during the 19th century in Butte and Anaconda. The project includes the creation of the Greenway Service District (GSD), a collaboration of Anaconda-Deer Lodge and Butte-Silver Bow counties, which is responsible for the planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of the Greenway System Corridor along the Silver Bow Creek.
For those who knew what this area used to look like in recent decades, the clean-up effort would amaze you. Rust-colored soils and mine tailings are now sprouting tall grasses, clover and willows. And Silver Bow Creek? Crystal clear.
The planned trail will span 26 miles. Currently, 8 miles of the trail are open in two disconnected segments, with more segments under construction. The longer segment begins in Rocker, a western suburb of Butte, and travels to the Rocker Depot before continuing west to I-15. It includes several pedestrian bridges across Silver Bow Creek and a pedestrian underpass (below a railroad bridge). Only about a mile-long gap exists between this segment and the next. The shorter segment—about a mile long—runs between the Silver Bow and Ramsay communities.
For a longer ride, it’s easy to connect from the Silver Bow Creek Greenway to the BA&P Hill Trail, which leads up to Butte Hill. From the Rocker Depot parking area, travel east about 2 blocks on Grizzly Trail road. When you see the trestle bridge ahead, look for a narrow yellow gravel trail on the right that leads up to the top of the trestle. The BA&P Hill Trail is gravel for the first 2 miles, then paved for the rest of the way uphill, but it gets much steeper at the eastern end.
To access the eastern end of the Rocker section, from Butte take Centennial Avenue to Santa Claus Lane and turn west (left). Go under the Interstate and when you come to the first major bend in the road, you will see an access point marked with a gate on the right (west) side of the road. Parking is limited on the dirt shoulder at the bend.
To reach the western end of the Rocker section, continue along Santa Claus Road and turn right onto S. Rocker Road; you will immediately go over the railroad tracks. (Use caution as there is no gate and the tracks are still being used.) A short distance later, S. Rocker Road T-bones Grizzly Trail road; turn left and look for the large gravel parking area just past the IT Club bar on the left. Future plans call for picnic tables, interpretive signs and a play park here.
To reach the Ramsay section, take Exit 216 off I-90 and head (south into the little hamlet of Ramsay along Palmer Street. There is very limited parking at the end of Palmer Street near the trailhead (1-2 cars). You can also park along Palmer Street on the side with the houses but not on the other side of Palmer.
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