Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
0.00 ft (0.00 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
5.50 mi (8.85 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Kim Williams Trail is the easternmost segment of Missoula’s Riverfront Trail system. This non-paved trail starts near Grizzly Stadium and heads east along the Clark Fork River through Hellgate Canyon. Including Mount Sentinel, a long and steep flank of the Sapphire Mountains border the entire trail. 

Named after a local naturalist, the Kim Williams Trail is a product of rail-to-trail conversion. The now-hiking path follows what used to be the tracks of the old Milwaukee Railroad. As a result, the hiking trail is very wide and flat, and universally accessible for anyone interested in an outdoor experience. No motor vehicles are allowed on the trail.

For being so close to town, the Kim Williams transports hikers and bicyclists deep into a beautiful landscape. The further east from Missoula on this 2.5-mile trail, the better the views. Visitors get a great glance at Mt. Jumbo across the river. Eventually the trail opens to big vistas overlooking the Clark Fork and surrounding mountainsides. Keep your eyes peeled for birds along the entire trail, as common sightings include great blue herons, bald eagles, and song sparrows. 

For those looking for a more challenging hike, the Smokejumpers Trail up Mount Sentinel is accessible halfway down the Kim. This steep route is also known as Hellgate Canyon Trail. Impromptu and unofficial trails also wind throughout the woodlands separating the Kim Williams Trail from the Clark Fork, offering good singletrack for those looking to get off the gravel road. 

The trail ends at a red gate, 2.5 miles from where the Riverfront Trail turns to gravel near the stadium. A new extension to the Riverfront Trail system turns left right before this red gate and crosses the Clark Fork River. From there, a paved path continues and leads to the new North Loop of the Kim Williams Trail.

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Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Easy to get to. Multiple side-hike options. Wide path.

Cons

None.

Trailhead Elevation

3,200.00 ft (975.36 m)

Highest point

3,200.00 ft (975.36 m)

Features

Family friendly
Near lake or river
Wildlife
Fishing

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Biking

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

Missoula + Bitterroot Mountains, Montana
Missoula + Bitterroot Mountains, Montana

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