Waterworks Hill Trailhead Improvements

Project Description

The new and improved Waterworks Trailhead opened to the public on August 25, 2022. Parks and Recreation partnered with Missoula Water and the Public Works and Mobility Department to expand and improve the Waterworks Hill Trailhead, the most popular and heavily used access point to Missoula’s trail system. 

The project upgraded and expanded the parking lot and kiosk at the trailhead, added an accessible interpretive loop trail and important trailhead amenities.

Trailhead access is on private property - dogs must be leashed

The first 1/2 mile of the trail from the north end of the parking lot to the Ridge Trail is on private property. Public access is permitted thanks to a conservation easement from the Peschel Family and Five Valleys Land Trust. Dogs must be leashed for the first 1/2 mile to protect wildlife, other trail visitors and delicate native plant communities. Thanks for respecting the rights of the private property owners who have so generously donated public access.

Project Benefits

  1. Expanded the existing parking lot to a 40-car lot with two dedicated handicapped-accessible spaces.
  2. Constructed a ½-mile packed-gravel universal trail providing access to a scenic overlook of downtown Missoula and the Missoula Valley.
  3. Reconstructed the access road with a dedicated sidewalk to provide safe pedestrian access.
  4. Improved trailhead facilities:  information kiosk, native species demonstration garden, seasonal restroom.

The expanded trailhead facilities address capacity needs and provide a safer parking area with support amenities to promote cleanliness, social equity, environmental stewardship and restoration of the City’s conservation land values.

Of all of the city’s open space lands, the Waterworks Hill Trailhead and the North Hills Preserve are closest to Missoula's densest population centers. The Waterworks Hill Trailhead Improvement and Accessible Trail Project expands recreation opportunities within Missoula’s rapidly-growing urban area.

Maps/Site Plan/Documents

Conceptual Site PlanSite MapEnvironmental Analysis

Project Costs and Funding

Total project cost: $798,143

Please hike responsibly:

For the enjoyment and safety of yourself and others:

  • Parking is limited at the trailhead. Please carpool or use non-motorized transportation when possible.
  • Please park ONLY in designated parking areas. Vehicles illegally parked along the road may be ticketed.
  • Leash your dog in the parking lot and for the first 1/2 mile of trail to protect wildlife, other trail users and native vegetation.
  • Pick up your pet's waste and dispose of it properly.
  • Please do not use the Waterworks or Froelich trailhead lots (Orange and I-90) as park-and-ride lots.