Building what should be…
The Skyline Trail will be a beautiful new multiuse pathway along the Billings rims. It will make the beautiful vista atop the rims accessible to runners, walkers, bicyclists, and people using assistive mobility devices, and it will provide them with at least seven miles of continuous trail.
Why is this trail needed?
- It will create safe access to Zimmerman park
- It will show our community’s pride in our unique topography: the rims
- In its entirety, it will create designated parking areas where it is currently haphazard
- It will beautify the entry to our city from Highway 3
- While there is a single track trail south of Highway 3, it is not accessible to people who use assistive mobility devices
There is great need for a multiuse trail on top of the rims (with parking lots) on the west side of the airport roundabout. Zimmerman Park is a major mountain biking and hiking area, filled every weekend with outdoor enthusiasts who go there to hike, bike, rock climb and walk their dogs. We see families, friends and people of all ages using the park; however, there is currently no safe access to Zimmerman Park via bicycle, and parking lot is often filled.
The area between Swords Park and Zimmerman Park has no biking and walking amenities other than an unofficial running trail on the south side of many private homes on the rims. The gravel and broken glass between the rims and the highway is unsightly and parking is haphazard. The trail at Swords Park is widely used by walkers, runners and bicyclists. However, it is just 1-1/2 miles long, and ends abruptly approximately 100 yards or so west of the airport roundabout. We have a beautiful view and the potential for a postcard amenity. There is a great mountain biking/hiking park at Zimmerman Park, and a mile of trail at Swords Park. We need to connect the two parks!
Who is involved in this project?
This is a collaborative effort betweenBillings TrailNet, Montana Department of Transportation, The City of Billings, Billings Parks and Recreation and City County Planning Department. Billings TrailNet has been the collaborator in this project with these public entities and has paid for the preliminary engineering design.
We are also working with Parks and Recreation to ensure that parking is contained and the natural beauty of the rims is protected.
Phillips 66 provided $60,000 in funds to build a restroom and benches along the trail. The restroom will be installed at Zimmerman Park in summer 2018, and the benches will be added when the trail is in place.
Spotlight Productions donated all the video footage for this campaign, and numerous other agencies have contributed to the promotion and engineering of this trail project.
During the next few summers until 2020, Montana Department of Transportation will be resurfacing several major roads in Billings. MDT is willing to work with Billings TrailNet to provide the millings (ground up asphalt) for the base layer of a trail, which would save us about $100,000 for a 3-mile long, 10-foot wide multiuse trail on top of the rims.
Our city has been recognized in Outside Magazine as the Best Town of 2016 for our multiuse trails, the Yellowstone River running right through it, rappelling off rims, our dirt biking & hiking trails, our microbreweries and dining scene. Billings was also recognized in Sunset Magazine’s February 2016 issue as the second runner up of the West’s most livable, sustainable communities.
We have momentum! And with this collaborative effort, we are living up to our reputation as a great community!
Billings TrailNet has been tasked with helping to connect our trails in Billings. We do all of this with donations from our community. If you would like to help, please contact us by calling our office at 406-281-1244, emailing us or making a donation.
What people say about this upcoming trail:
“At 60+ in age, we don’t bike in traffic, but we love to bike on dedicated trails. We would pay more taxes for more dedicated trails. These trails are great for Billings.”
“The Swords Park trail is a jewel of the Billings trail system … and one that I use to show off how great Billings is to visiting family. Extending that trail to Zimmerman Park would be great for all the runners, walkers and cyclists that I see on the Rims. It would make the City more livable and would be a draw when recruiting people to Billings.”
“I would absolutely make this a part of my regular biking and running loops, in particular to get to Zimmerman Park (which I only visit by car right now).”
“Trails are very necessary for any community. Please do whatever you can to expand these trail and connect portions of other trails.”
“I would use the trail often. I think it would be great for improving the entrance to Billings.”
“Its a natural connection from Swords Rimrock Park to Zimmerman Trail and one of the best views in the state. There just needs to be a safe route.”
“A paved path along this section of the Rims is sorely needed. The Rimrocks are the most overlooked and undervalued asset our city has.”
A few facts:
- The Skyline Trail will connect two major parks, the Yellowstone Kelly Interpretive Site, and provide scenic attractions.
- This will extend the Swords Park Trail to Zimmerman Park
- Currently, the trail ends just west of the airport roundabout
- The trail will run from the airport roundabout, along the south side of Highway 3, all the way to Zimmerman road.
- This extension is approximately three miles
- The trail is in the MDT right-of-way. No private properties will be impacted.