Missoula’s most popular trail gets an extreme makeover
Kevin Moriarty/Missoula Current
On Thursday morning, city officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to formally unveil the brand-new Waterworks Hill Trailhead.
Waterworks Hill is the most popular trail in Missoula’s trail system, and it has undergone a complete transformation.
A paved road now leads up to the trailhead parking lot with space for 40 vehicles and a half mile, packed gravel trail was installed to allow access for people in wheelchairs or anyone with mobility issues.
“This is going to provide a great opportunity for residents and visitors alike to come up and see the beauty that is Missoula,” said Jeff Gicklhorn, conservation lands program Manager for the city of Missoula.
The Waterworks Hill trail project was a collaborative effort between several departments within the city including Parks and Recreation, Public Works and Missoula Water.
Ecosystem Services Superintendent for Parks and Rec, Morgan Valliant, said the project has been eight years in the making. Moving it along became easier once the city acquired the water utility back in 2017.
“We were no longer having negotiations with a private entity, we were having talks with colleagues in different departments,” said Valliant.
The trailhead is located just past the I-90 underpass on Greenough Drive. Construction at the site began in April and finished about a week ago, but there are just a few remaining things to be done.
Native plants will be grown and maintained around the trailhead and interpretive signage will be installed.
The entire cost of the project was about $800,000, and a large share of that cost was covered by the Bridge and Road Safety and Accountability Act (BaRSAA). This is funding that the state Legislature created in 2017 to help communities improve their local roads and infrastructure.
Several representatives from different departments in the city spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony, and many shared similar sentiments.
They were excited about the half-mile universal trail that will allow greater access for more Missoulians, and they were pleased with the teamwork and collaboration among different departments that went into making the project a reality.
“That’s what happens day in and day out in the city of Missoula, and it makes me really proud as a resident of our community to see us working together to accomplish mutually shared objectives like we did here today,” said City Council member Jordan Hess.