News

Mount Dean Stone Update: Spring 2018 Access

This past year, we've been busy working with our many partners to thoughtfully plan public access on Mount Dean Stone, work to create spaces for people of all abilities to access the mountain, and answer questions about wildlife habitat and wildfire close to Missoula's urban interface.

Volunteers building the Barmeyer Loop Trail for National Public Lands Day last September. Photo by LJ Dawson.
Volunteers building the Barmeyer Loop Trail for National Public Lands Day last September. Photo by LJ Dawson.

Leading off our trail building day last fall, we're beyond excited that the Barmeyer Loop Trail is set to open later this summer! 

While trail construction is still underway this spring, the Northern Section of Mount Dean Stone, including the Barmeyer Loop Trail, access from Pattee Canyon, the South Hills Spur, and the areas above the South Hills and Stone Mountain neighborhoods, are NOT YET open to public access. Stay tuned for news about an early summer opening of this area. 

In the meantime, please be patient and respect the private property owners in this area by not trespassing. For more detail, please see the map below.

However, the beautiful southern section of the complex, which is accessed via Upper Miller Creek Road, is currently open to the public.  Read below to learn how to get out and start exploring Missoula's next open space legacy.

Southern section public access

The southern section of Mount Dean Stone, a vast 2,500-acre parcel which encompasses the southeastern flanks of the mountain, is still under ownership of our partner, The Nature Conservancy. TNC is generously allowing the public to explore this rugged and scenic area, which runs from the ridgeline south to Miller Creek, while Five Valleys continues to raise funds for its purchase. Eventually, we hope this parcel will connect to trails in the Pattee Canyon National Recreation Area.

The TNC parcel is currently the only part of Mount Dean Stone that is open to public exploration. Before you hit the trail, please read our access guidelines, take a look at our newest project map, and check out the for driving directions to the southern section's access point at Little Park Creek:

Please help the Mount Dean Stone effort by:

• Respecting our neighbors and posted no trespassing signs.

• Being observant and gathering information about things you see—wildlife, plants, people, uses, etc., and submitting it here.

• Being patient. Some areas are already open to exploration and others need more time and planning. Please respect this process.

• Supporting this community effort with your time, money, or observations.

Directions to Little Park Creek

Click here for a Google Map of driving directions

• From Highway 93/South Brooks Street, turn east onto Miller Creek Road (heading towards the south Walmart).

• A half mile up Miller Creek Road you'll arrive at a roundabout.

• From the roundabout, continue on Upper Miller Creek Road for 8.5 miles. Drive with caution. The road will change from pavement to gravel and will narrow.

• At 8.5 miles you'll notice a green gate to your left. This is the future Little Park Creek trailhead! Park your vehicle in front of the gate. The trail is only accessible by foot, bike, wheelchair or horse.

This map shows the northern section (not open for public access) and southern section (currently open) of the Mount Dean Stone open space complex project. Click here to download this map.

While accessing Mount Dean Stone from Little Park Creek, keep to your left when going up the trail, with Little Park Creek to your right. Crossing Little Park Creek will lead you off of TNC-owned lands. Some of these adjacent parcels are managed by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Access to DNRC parcels, for recreational uses, requires a State Land Recreational Use License. A Montana Conservation License includes access to DNRC lands. Learn more and purchase State Land Recreational Use Licenses here.

The North to South Connector Corridor is a work-in-progress and NOT currently open for public use. Please help us by respecting private property while we work through these efforts. If you see a private property or no trespassing sign, even if you think it’s old, please respect it. 

If you have any questions about access, please call the Five Valleys office at 406.549.0755. Together we can help make Mount Dean Stone an open space for all.

Thank you to our partners: The Nature Conservancy, City of Missoula Parks and Recreation, Run Wild Missoula, MTB Missoula, Hellgate Hunters & Anglers, Backcountry Hunters & AnglersREI Co-opBig Sky Brewing Company, Providence Health & Services Western Montana and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

Header photo of Little Park Creek by Five Valleys staff.

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