Future House of Sky Trai

Credit: Brian Williams

MISSOULA -- With more people are trying to get outside due to Covid-19 restrictions, trails in and around Missoula are more crowded than ever. Which means new hiking trails are a welcomed addition.

Five Valleys Land Trust received a $75,000 grant from Montana, Fish, Wildlife, Parks in April. With the money, they are creating a new trail to be named House of Sky Trail.

The trail head will be at the Skyline Ridge Access above Deer Creek Road. It will run 4.6 miles from the Skyline Ridge Access, below the ridge line and over towards the peak of Mount Dean Stone.

The non-motorized trail will expand access on the ridge of Dean Stone, and is part of the larger Mount Dean Stone project that's headed into its 5th year. 

The trail will protect wildlife, while allowing people to connect with the land. Once finished, hikers will get views of the Northern Sapphire Mountains and the Bitterroot Valley.

Five Valleys' new Executive Director Whitney Schwab said the project wouldn't be possible without the support of the community.

"It's been a tremendous community effort so far, and will continue to be. We just really appreciate that our community values these important places to connect to the land," Schwab said.

Schwab says the grant funding can be used after July 1, 2020. She hopes to start the trail project late this summer and fall, with a goal of finishing it by summer 2021.

Schwab also wanted to remind people that they shouldn't try and find the trail until it's finished because it's surrounded by private property. 

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