Story Mill Spur


3 Reviews

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Story Mill Spur Facts

States: Montana
Counties: Gallatin
Length: 1.7 miles
Trail end points: N. Wallace Ave. and L St. and Bridger Creek Golf Course
Trail surfaces: Dirt, Gravel
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016387

Story Mill Spur Description


Bozeman's Story Mill Spur begins just north of a former railroad depot, passes under I-90 and over the East Gallatin River, and traverses residential neighborhoods for 1.7 miles.

About the Route

The northern endpoint of the Story Mill Spur lies at the edge of the East Gallatin Recreation Area, just south of the Bridger Creek Golf Course. From here, the trail meanders east through residential backyards and then south along Story Mill Rd.

The trail then heads west through bucolic fields and farmlands where it changes from an asphalt surface to a rougher crushed stone surface and over an old railroad trestle bridge before reaching its southern terminus at L St.


At its western endpoint, the Story Mill Spur connects to the Bozeman to Bridger Mountains Trail.

At the eastern end, the trail connects to the Front Street Connector.

The Story Mill Spur is part of the developing Great American Rail-Trail, a 3,700-mile route from Washington to Washington D.C.

Trail History

The Story Mill Spur is named after Nelson Story, who, in the 1880s, built a flour mill near the East Gallatin River. As mayor of Bozeman, Story was instrumental in convincing the first railroad across Montana to route through Bozeman, because he wanted a spur to his flour mill so he could ship flour to markets in Minneapolis and Chicago. The short rail line was the Gallatin Valley's largest and most used industrial rail spur until the mill's decline in the 1960s.

When Bozeman was one of four cities in contention to be the state capital in 1892, Bozeman convinced the Northern Pacific to build a passenger depot that was more impressive than the usual wood frame building. A brick depot with Romanesque style details was built, then expanded in 1923 with Prairie Style deep roof eaves and inverted knee brackets. When rail passenger service was discontinued in the late 1970s, the depot was shuttered. The depot was used as a set in the 1992 movie A River Runs Through It.

Parking and Trail Access

There is no designated parking for this trail.


Story Mill Spur Reviews

Ridin' the GART

This trail is a segment of the Great American Rail-Trail (GART).
Location: Bozeman, MT
Trail Condition: Gravel/natural surface. Smooth riding but unusual trail for Rail-Trail/TrailLink, as part of this is just a narrow dirt trail alongside the road. Nothing official looking about this trail, however, there is trail name signage at points along it.
Signage: Some directional, warning, and a few informational.
Comments: This is a rails-to-trails trail and a short portion of follows along the old abandoned rails that are still in place. Passes over a bridge next to an original rail trestle, past an old flour mill and ends at a forest park. Glen Lake Rotary Park has a small network of trails through the thick underbrush and trees. Take your time and wander around on this smooth dirt trails. I startled a skunk and now my bike smells just wonderful! Another diversion alongside the trail is the Story Mill Community Park with a number of easy trails to meander along. This is a good ride. Liked this enough to ride it the following day.

Story Mill Spur Trail summer closure 2010 & 2011

For the next two years, there will be no dry-season access to the Story Mill Spur Trail - connecting the south end of Wallace Ave. to Story Mill Rd. at the Stockyard Café. The MT Department of Transportation will be rebuilding the I-90 overpass across both the trail and Rouse Ave. One lane will be rebuilt this year and the other lane will be rebuilt next year. Both years, the trail will be closed from April 5th to November 5th. Bicyclists and pedestrians can use L Street as an alternative route, but the increased volume of vehicles doing the same thing to avoid construction on Rouse may compromise the safety of this alternative.

Note that in spite of the closure you can still use most of this trail north of the interstate. Coming from the north, just cut west into the parking lot right before the construction. From the parking lot take Gold to Rouse, but not that Rouse is dreadful for bikes/pedestrians.

Note that the Story Mill Spur trail is more of a key connection than a destination in itself - though the bridge over the East Gallatin River is quite nice. This trail connects Downtown with trails along Bridger Creek, and at the East Gallatin Recreation Area and Cherry River Fishing Access.

Late one Day in Bozeman

Accidentally discovered this Trail late on 27 April 09 while in Bozeman.
Parked on dirt off N Wallace Ave. at N45.69027 W111.02755 A Historical Plaque is nearby on the side of the trail before it curves under I-90 into a straight dirt path with room for my 36 inch wide Tri-Cruiser. It soon joins along side Story Mill Road and becomes wider with packed gravel surface. Then winds through a residential area to end near the Golf course. Noel J Keller

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