From almost anywhere in Livingston, one can look up at the Crazy Mountains, the Absaroka Range or the Gallatin Mountains. Trails wind through all these ranges, touching their peaks, crossing their streams, and providing glimpses of the plants and animals that make these mountains home.
But you dont have to leave town or climb a mountain to get on a trail. Livingston has a growing trail system that surprises even me from time to time. When I moved here almost nine years ago (!) There were just a couple short trailsmore like trail sections. Now, there are trails all over town and a master plan to keep expanding the system.
Pick one of the trails below and wind along the Yellowstone River, climb over sculptures, or spy a beaver lodge in local wetlands.
This one-mile trail passes by wetlands filled with willow, red-winged blackbirds in the spring, chickadees and other birds, deer and beaver ponds. There are two dog bag stations; dogs must be on a leash.
Make this trail longer by walking from the ball fields to the other terminus at Meredith Ranch Road, turn right and walk around (or through) the cemetery.
Access: Northern Lights Road, west of Star Road, between Jack Weimer Memorial Park and Mountain View Cemetery.
Livingston Depot Center Trail
This paved and gravel trail parallels Park Street and Highway 89 from the Depot to a bench across from East River Road. Its flat and exposedread windblown in the winter and hot in middle of summer. But, on the right day, its a great way to cover some miles on foot or bike and reach a few river access points, including Carters Bridge. There are plans to extend this bike trail all the way to Yellowstone National Park in the future.
Access: Livingston Depot, or various points along the trail.
This off leash dog park, used to be a landfill. Its pretty mowed down and more dirt patch with than park, but its still better than a landfill. The Mayors Landing Boat Ramp is well used in summer. The trail loops beside the Yellowstone River and Fleshman Creek and winds into the woods.
We used to walk here a lot more often. Now that we are dogless, it doesnt have quite the same allure, but the boys always like climbing over bike jumps and running in and out of the trees.
Access: At the end of View Vista Road, at the Mayors Landing Fishing Access Site
This two-mile lollipop loop is one of the newer trails in town. Theres wildlife and nature signage along the trail. In the fall of 2008, Remote Studio, a college level architectural program of the Artemis Institute designed and built structures along the Yellowstone River and in the parkland of the trail. These structures are part sculpture, part art installation, and part reflecting areas.
The Artemis structures are designed to blend into the surrounding landscape and become a place of discovery for the community visitors. It is built of reclaimed lumber, reclaimed steel members, pipe and screen, some new steel, woven willow and planted materials including: willow, wild rose and wild clematis. Cairns built of steel pipe sound like flutes when the wind blows and guide visitors from the trail to the structure along a footpath.
The trail is flat, good for walking or biking. Dogs must be on a leash.
Access: On East Park, just east of the Yellowstone River bridge.
This popular gravel trail follows the Yellowstone River dike from the 9th Street bridge to a bench behind the ball fields. The trail from the Miles Park Bandshell to the bench is off-leash for dogs.
Access: Sacajawea Park near the river, behind the Civic Center, or from the baseball fields behind Park High.
Livingstons newest trail is the Bitterroot Trail leading from Bitterroot Street to North 9th Street and the Northside Soccer Fields. Its short, but part of the trail connectivity developing in town and a nice way to get to soccer practice.
Access: Near North 12th Street and Bitterroot Street.