MONTANA

Lake McDonald, Glacier NP
Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park

Montana has a number of trails with minimal obstacles.  Some are very easy and others are wheelchair accessible.  Here are just a few of them.
Most of the links given were found through Internet search. Some places I have been able to visit and a few have been recommended to me by other people who have been there. With your help, we can share our knowledge with disabled people everywhere and also increase awareness of the need for more accessibility. Please e-mail me with your suggestions using the form to the right.
Federal
State
Local
Private
Miscellaneous

Federal

  • Beaverhead – Deerlodge National Forest
    HikerwithcaneCliff and Wade Lakes Interpretive trail  described on Montana’s Official State Travel Site as “An easy, interpretive nature walk.”  It is a  2 mile loop between Hilltop and Wade Lake Campgrounds.  Call 406-682-4253 to be sure of difficulty and conditions.

  • Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area   Phone 406-666-2412 or 307-548-5406  Hiking Guide
    This recreation area bridges Montana and Wyoming.
    Driving directions from Montana and Wyoming  Links to Trail Descriptions   Accessibility     Map 
    Wheelchair AccessibleTwo Eagles Interpretive Trail 0.25 miles round trip
    Wheelchair AccessibleVisitor Center Pond  0.26 mile  “…a great place to see red-winged blackbirds and boreal chorus frogs during the summer.”
    HikerwithcaneBighorn Headgate Trail rated as an easy gravel path of 0.1 mile round trip to “quiet picnic area”.
    HikerwithcaneLockhart Ranch Trail consists of a choice of loops, one 0.5 miles, the other 2 miles.  Both are old dirt roads.

  • Flathead National Forest
    Wheelchair AccessibleKrause Basin Interpretive Trail  is a 0.25 mile loop with ” 12 numbered stations with interpretive information provided via a trail guide brochure available at the trail head. The trail loops through a stand of old-growth western hemlock forest and a regenerating clearcut logged in the 1960s. The trail guide provides information on how forests recycle themselves and provide benefits to humans from medicine to lumber.  The trail has a compacted gravel surface suitable for baby strollers and wheelchairs.”

  • Logan Pass Nature Trail
    Nature Trail on Logan Pass.

     

    Glacier National Park  official site.  As described in The Disabled Traveler’s Companion.  PDF of Accessible Facilities and Services.

    Wheelchair AccessibleThere is an accessible nature trail from the Visitors Center on Logan Pass.  Be sure to bring warm, wind and rain-proof clothing.

    Wheelchair Accessible

    Trail of the Cedars
    Avalanche Creek photographed from the Trail of the Cedars

    Trail of the Cedars – a short wheelchair accessible loop trail through cedar forest.
    As described in EveryTrail.com.

    Wheelchair AccessibleRunning Eagle Falls – According to Glacier Guides Montana Raft, this is a “1 mile loop with 15 feet elevation gain.”  It is “on your way into the Two Medicine valley.”

  • Helena National Forest   
    Wheelchair AccessibleTrout Creek Canyon Trail The first mile of this three mile trail through Trout Creek Canyon is wheelchair accessible.  The remaining two miles are described as easy with an elevation gain of 800′.  “Hikers can pick up an interpretive brochure at the trailhead signboard that hikers can refer to as they reach one of the ten numbered benchmarks along the first mile of their hike.”
    HikerwithcaneTenmile Environmental Trail   Interpretive Guide  1.1 mile loop

  • Lolo National Forest  Day Hikes
    Wheelchair AccessibleMaclay Flat Nature Trail  has accessible 1.25 and 1.8  mile loops.  There are “nature trails, parking, restrooms, river access, and interpretive signs. Benches are available along the trail. The parking lot is paved and the path is gravelled. In the spring, the Bitterroot River sometimes overflows and temporarily submerges portions of the trail.” Description in Missoula Trails Guide.
    Wheelchair AccessibleRattlesnake Main Trail #515 is an “old logging road so it is wide, has a relatively gentle grade for the first 9 miles, and roughly parallels Rattlesnake Creek.  ….. The main trail winds through open ground, dry forested areas, and progresses into western larch and Engelmann spruce farther up the drainage.  … Beaver dams can often be seen in Rattlesnake Creek about 5 miles up from trailhead.” There are accessible restrooms at the trailhead.  Description in Missoula Trails Guide.
    HikerwithcaneSawmill Trail #24.0  1.3 miles. The trail “starts out on a wide path (old road bed) in open ground at the edge of the meadow where it is level and gentle. The trail grade then increases as it travels through the forest. ”
    Wheelchair AccessibleBlue Mountain Nature Trail is a 0.25 mile interpretive loop. ” You can learn about prescribed fire, Glacial Lake Missoula, forest “recycling,” Montana’s state tree, and about lichen, kinnikinnick, nine-bark, serviceberry and many other plants. …..Midway down the trail, you’ll come upon a rock outcrop where there’s a vista of distant mountains, the Missoula Valley and the Bitterroot River winding toward its confluence with the Clark Fork. There is wheelchair access from the trailhead to this viewing area.”

  • Yellowstone National Park    The park is in both Wyoming and Montana, so I am posting in both states.
    Accessibility Guide    The Accessibility Guide is very thorough so I am posting just a bit about some of the accessible places in Yellowstone.
    “Manual wheelchairs can be rented at medical clinics for $10 per day with a credit card (or $300 cash) deposit.  Wheelchairs are available for loan at each lodging facility, except Roosevelt Lodge, and the Old Faithful, Canyon, and Albright (Mammoth) visitors centers while in those areas.”
    The use of Segways is somewhat limited.  Check ahead.

    Geysers, Yellowstone National Park
    Anemone Geyser, Old Faithful Geyser and Old Faithful Inn, in background.
    Visitors Yellowstone National Park
    Visitors near Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Wheelchair AccessibleMammoth Hot Springs.   There are accessible boardwalk from which you can view the Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces.
    Wheelchair AccessibleNorris Geyser Basin and Area.  There are boardwalks here, but you may need assistance.  The lower section of the Artists Paintpots is wheelchair accessible.
    Wheelchair AccessibleOld Faithful.  There are accessible paved trails and boardwalks going to Old Faithful Geyser, Geyser Hill, and Castle Geyser

    Old Faithful Geyser & Old Faithful Inn
    Old Faithful Geyser and Old Faithful Inn
    Plume Geyser
    Plume Geyser

     

     

     

     

     

    Wheelchair AccessibleWest Thumb Geyser Area.  You may require some assistance on these boardwalks, which are by Yellowstone Lake.

    West Thumb Basin
    Boardwalk, West Thumb Basin
    Lake Yellowstone
    Boardwalk by Lake Yellowstone

     

     

     

     

     

    Wheelchair Accessible

    Fishing Bridge Area.  There is an accessible trail to the Mud Volcano, 6 miles north of Fishing Bridge.

    Wheelchair AccessibleGrand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.  There are a number of accessible trails to overlooks.  See the map in the Accessibility Guide.
    Phone  307-344-7381

Back to top

State

Back to top

Local

  • Billings
    Wheelchair AccessibleTwo Moon Park “Two Moon Park (Yellowstone County) contains several narrow, gravel-surfaced trails that wind through stands of cottonwoods above and beside the storied Yellowstone River. The trails – Roche Jeune, Dull Knife, Mallard and Weeping Wall – can be linked together in various ways to come up with a number of do-it-yourself of loops and out-and-backs.” ….”At the Two Moon Park entrance you can jump onto the paved Dutcher Trail ,…. which from there winds down to the Yellowstone then upstream to Coulson Park.”
    Wheelchair AccessibleSwords Park Trail is 3.8 miles and described by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy as wheelchair accessible.
    Wheelchair AccessibleNorm Schoenthal Island Trail  1.9 miles.  Reviewers on AllTrails.com describe it as easy, and full of off-leash dogs and mosquitos.  Best to go early in the morning.

    Here is a website from Billings Parks and Recreation.  It describes local trails by categories such as soft or hard surface.   I suspect many of these trails would qualify for this website, but ease and accessibility are not directly addressed.   Their telephone number is (406) 657-8371.

  • Butte-Silver Bow
    Wheelchair AccessibleUlrich/Schotte Nature Trail “is a paved two-mile trail along wetlands, pond and a restored creek. The trail follows Blacktail Creek near Interstate 90, from the Visitors Center on George Street. The …. creek has willowed banks populated with ducks, geese and other birds”
    Wheelchair AccessibleAccording to the Montana Disability and Health Program website, there are 22 miles of “paved, handicapped accessible trails [that] wrap through and around the city of Butte.”  It doesn’t say to what degree any of these go into natural areas.

  • Missoula  Parks & Recreation
    Greenough Park
    Wheelchair AccessibleGreenough Park Trail is a 0.8 mile loop described on TrailLink as “one of urban Missoula’s best”.
    Hikerwithcane“…. Rattlesnake Creek …. courses through the park’s center. Cottonwoods and conifers are thick throughout, as are willows and other woody and herbaceous plants. It’s a great place for bird-watching”  “Several dirt paths wind through the trees and along Rattlesnake Creek”
    Wheelchair AccessibleKim Williams Nature Trail 4.2 miles from TrailLink:  the trail  “…meanders alongside the Clark Fork River in downtown Missoula. It connects to the Riverfront Trail, giving users an uninterrupted 4 miles of trail from which to enjoy the river or access Missoula’s neighborhoods, commercials areas, parks, and the university.”
    Wheelchair AccessibleRiverfront Trail 3.5 miles “follows an abandoned right-of-way along the old Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific railroad, commonly known as the Milwaukee Road.”

    This guide to “trails in & around Missoula” has excellent descriptions and directions.

Back to top

Private

  • Teller Wildlife Refuge is 1200 acres of bottom land in the Bitteroot Valley.  The refuge is on private land, but has a one mile nature trail.  I am guessing that this trail is easy enough for inclusion here, but please call 406-961-3507 to be sure.   More information.
    Hikerwithcane? The Teller Trail goes  “…. along the banks of the Bitterroot River ……. Moose, deer, mountain lion and over 145 species of birds have called Teller home. The approximate mile long trail loop can be used for hiking, bird watching and fishing the Bitterroot River.”  From Montana Birding & Nature Trail:  “Walking quietly along the one-mile private nature trail through riverside cottonwood and ponderosas, you may spot all three species of nuthatches – white-breasted, red-breasted and pygmy. Note tracks in the mud of muskrat, beaver, red foxes and even otters, and the shrill piping of spotted sandpipers along gravel bars. Great blue herons fly by in spring from a nearby rookery.”

Back to top

Miscellaneous

  • Wheelchair AccessibleHeadwaters Trail System
    From the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy: This is a “paved network of trails that runs along the former Milwaukee Railroad bed through the town of Three Forks to the Missouri Headwaters State Park. Future plans include extending the trail to Manhattan, Mont., and other parts of Gallatin Valley.  The scenic trail provides views of the surrounding mountains and grasslands, winds around ponds and through old growth cottonwood trees, and ends on the banks of the Jefferson River. “

  • MonTECH ‘s website is an outstanding resource.   They are  “…focused on increasing outdoor recreation opportunities for Montanans with disabilities and those who experience limitations through aging in a variety of ways.”   A search of their interactive site for “hiking” came up with 30 matching locations with links to descriptions and contacts for each.  Phone; (406) 243-5751 Voice/TTY  (877) 243-5511 Voice/TTY Toll-Free

  • Montana Birding Trail   This is an excellent guide to places for birding.  Difficulty and accessibility are not addressed, but there is contact information at the bottom of each birding place’s page.

  • The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy lists wheelchair accessible trails in Montana.

  • Wheelchair AccessibleRiver’s Edge Trail   From Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks: “This 25-mile trail around Great Falls is a collaborative effort between several agencies, counties, and the city of Great Falls. The trail offers 11 miles of paved surface and is ADA accessible. The Rivers Edge Trail connects several parks including Giant Springs State Park and other points of interest along the Missouri River including Black Eagle Falls, Rainbow Falls, Crooked Falls, and Great Falls of the Missouri just below Ryan Dam.”

  • TravelMT.com has a long alphabetical list of hikes.  They do give length and difficulty, once you click on each link.  Useful if you already know where you want to go, but time consuming if you are searching for ideas.

Back to top