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Montana Birding and Nature Trail
Discover the Nature of Montana...

Trails and Maps

   

Stevensville River Trail

A Roaming River

Connected to Stevensville by a bike trail.

This popular local park has excellent riparian birding and easy access to the floodplain shaped by a roaming river.

Stevensville River Trail Site Map

Download Printable Version of Site Information

Field Notes

Walk in the river's floodplain forest where rising spring waters have nourished the cottonwood forest and cattail wetlands. A kingfisher perches in a tree, scanning the waters below. A great blue heron stalks the shallows. Spotted sandpipers bob on river gravel bars. Cliff swallows skim low to the waters while a bald eagle soars high overhead. Yellow warblers sing "sweet, sweet, sweet, so sweet." Pause to rest on a bench and listen to a western wood-pewee.

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Habitat Link

The cottonwood forests need river flooding for new seeds and saplings to take hold. The river needs room to roam and flood to support these life-filled woods. Unlike many rivers in the west, the Bitterroot flows freely and with enough water to flood annually. Look for old meanders of the river here.

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Cultural Link

This trail offers a good chance for up-close viewing of native plants known well to the Salish for food and medicinal properties, such as chokecherry. Local community members are helping to restore native plants throughout the park.

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Viewing Tip

From the parking lot closest to the river, follow a small trail north from the bridge. This 1/2-mile trail turns in through the floodplain, past a cattail marsh and loops back through a cottonwood forest to a group picnic site at the main parking area. No motorized vehicles or hunting are allowed in the park.

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Helpful Hint

A paved bike path connects the park to the town of Stevensville.

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Getting There

From Highway 93, take the turn to Stevensville. The site is immediately to the north (left) after you cross the river. From Stevensville, turn north (right) before the bridge.

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Site Information

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