Missoula Trails: Kim Williams Nature Trail

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Kim Williams Nature Trail

The Kim Williams Trail transports you to the wilderness without ever leaving the city, with its scenic views of the Clark Fork River and the shadow of Mt. Sentinel looming overhead. Read More

  • 2.5 miles, with options to connect to other trails 
  • Easy, with zero elevation gain
  • Trailhead: Van Buren and 4th St
  • Scenic trail that runs along the Clark Fork River.
  • Perfect for all fitness types.


Following the old Milwaukee Railroad, the 2.5 mile Kim Willliams Trail passes through the 134-acre natural area in Hellgate Canyon. This is the eastern-most segment of the riverfront city trail system, which continues along the Clark Fork River past downtown Missoula.

Mt. Sentinel looms over head, as the trail takes you along the Clark Fork River. In the thick riparian zones you may see bald eagles, osprey, kingfishers, song sparrows and dippers. Watch for deer drinking at the rivers edge and keep your eyes open for mountain lion and beers that often use the trail as a corridor.

Take a walk, run, bicycle ride or horseback ride along the wide, flat path. With zero elevation gain, this is a great trail for those that want to get out but may not be interested or are unable to hike some of the more strenuous trails around town. Also, great for parents with strollers or kids.


Access to the Kim Williams Trail can be found at Van Buren and 4th St. From I-90 west, take the Van Buren St. exit and turn left. Park in the Albertson's parking lot and cross the footbridge over the Clark Fork River.

The Kim Williams portion of the riverfront trail proceeds to the left, while the riverfront trail is on the right. Note: The riverfront trail is often referred to as the Kim Williams Trail by the locals.


  • Distance- 2.5 miles, with options to continue along the riverfront trail, connect into the 'M' trail that heads up Mt. Sentinel or connect to the Hellgate Canyon Trail.
  • Average Time of Hike- One hour based on slow walking speed.
  • Elevation Gain- Zero, it's great.
  • Difficulty- Easy
  • Trail Type- Out and Back
  • Trailhead- Van Buren and 4th St

Plan & Prepare

The Kim Williams trail is easily accessed from downtown Missoula. While you should prepare for inclement weather, this trail doesn't require much preparation. Make sure you bring water, as there is non along the way. Beware of wildlife.

For safety, avoid the trail after dark. If you do want to run at night, bring a head lamp, there are no overhead lights on this portion of the trail.