Promoting Safe, Convenient and Connected Active Transportation and Recreation
Kiwanis Trail | Photo by Kristi Drake
Project Spotlight: Billings Bikeway & Trail Network
Billings, Montana’s diverse system of trails for walkers and bicyclists includes miles of scenic areas, tunnels, bridges and multiuse pathways that have become popular recreational venues as well as preferred methods of nonmotorized travel for residents. Now, Billings is working to further connect these assets to promote citywide recreation and active transportation.
Through its Bikeway & Trail Network Master Plan, the city is creating a comprehensive network of more than 26 miles of connected trails to help achieve a vision of safe, convenient and connected active transportation networks—accessible to people of all ages and abilities for trips of all purposes—to improve the economic and physical health of the community and its citizens.
Known as the “Marathon Loop,” the project will create a continuous circle of off-road trails around Billings that complements an inner network of multiuse trails and bike lanes and takes advantage of the city’s unique geology, cultural history and natural wonders—including Yellowstone National Park, the Beartooth Range and the Big Horn River. The loop features a particularly significant part of Billing’s cultural heritage: the spot where Lewis and Clark’s famous Corps of Discovery trip crossed the Yellowstone River with their horses on July 24, 1806.
The northern part of the Marathon Loop—which runs along the approximately 500-foot natural rimrock sandstone wall (a.k.a. “the rims”) forming the town’s northern boundary—is almost complete. Plans are in the works to help complete this section via a 3-mile project along the rims and Highway 3 called the Skyline Trail.
Future plans also call for filling gaps to the east and south of town, where the Marathon Loop trail runs along the river and through the valley.
Facts and Figures
Partners: Billings City County Planning Division, City of Billings Public Works, Billings TrailNet, Billings Parks and Recreation, Billings Chamber of Commerce Trail Committee, Bike Walk Montana, Healthy by Design Coalition, Big Sky Economic Development
Featured Project: Marathon Loop
Trails: Kiwanis Trail, Jim Dutcher Trail, Coulson Park Trail, Alkali Creek Trail, BBWA Canal Trail, Gabel Road Trail, Aronson Avenue Trail, King Avenue East Trail, Lake Elmo trail, Rimrock Road Trail, Swords Park Trail, Chief Black Otter Trail, Zimmerman Trail, Big Ditch Trail, South Billings Boulevard Trail, Shiloh Road Trail, Shiloh Conservation Area Trail, Skyline Trail, Rehberg Ranch Trail, King Avenue West Trail
Goals: Outdoor tourism, economic development, health and wellness, increasing mobility for all citizens
The Skyline Trail
The Skyline Trail will be a beautiful multiuse pathway along the Billings “rims” that showcases the unique topography of the region, connects two major parks and scenic attractions, and provides a much-needed safe connection to a major hiking and biking area for walkers, bikers and people using assisted mobility devices. The only missing link in the northern section of the city’s developing Marathon Loop, the Skyline Trail will open up new opportunities for recreation and active transportation.