This area is an old railroad bed that starts at the Orange St. Bridge in downtown Missoula and follows the south bank of the Clark Fork River upstream through the University and beyond for about three miles.
The habitat includes several islands, riparian trees and shrubs, and nearby Douglas-fir forest. Common birds in spring and summer include Osprey, Calliope Hummingbird, Vaux’s Swift, Willow Flycatcher, Cordilleran Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, swallows, warblers, Gray Catbird, Bullock’s Oriole, Western Tanager, and Lazuli Bunting. Winter birds include Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, Bald Eagle, Bohemian Waxwing, and Song Sparrow. Look for American Dippers where Rattlesnake Creek enters the Clark Fork.
Mountain habitat can be reached by taking the Hellgate Canyon Trail marked by a sign 1.5 miles from the start.