This summer, the Mount Dean Stone project reached a turning point. You can now walk, run, or ride your bike from the forested slopes of Pattee Canyon up to the scenic vantage point of the Mount Dean Stone ridgeline along ten miles of new, singletrack trail.
In 2014, Five Valleys began work with the Barmeyer family, the first of more than a dozen different Mount Dean Stone landowners. By 2019, Five Valleys had acquired and protected a total of 580 acres spanning from valley floor up to the ridgeline thanks to these partnerships. Five Valleys is immensely grateful to these families for their partnership, generosity and vision.
In 2020, Five Valleys transferred the 360-acre Mount Dean Stone Preserve to the City of Missoula. The 5-mile Mount Dean Stone Preserve Trail opened in July. The Preserve Trail provides trail connections and amazing views along an accessible 8% grade and marks the culmination of the first phase of the Mount Dean Stone project. To support elk and other wildlife alongside public use, the Preserve includes an annual dog restriction from December 1 – May 15 for all points above the South Hills Spur.
Now that public access is secure, the project is focusing on landscape-wide access and natural resource needs, starting with the opening of the House of Sky Trail this June. The second phase of the larger Mount Dean Stone project also includes development of a management framework for the 2,500 acres that make up the south side of the mountain between the ridge and Miller Creek.
Once open, the House of Sky Trail will create a nearly 20-mile network of trail through connecting five trailheads: Barmeyer, Sousa, Inez Creek, Little Park Creek and Skyline Ridge. Five Valleys and the Mount Dean Stone Committee invite our community to a House of Sky Trail Grand Opening celebration and volunteer workday on Saturday, June 4th in honor of National Trails Day.
We hope you’ll join us as we put the finishing touches on the House of Sky trail and celebrate its opening to the public! Learn more and register to volunteer.