skyline trail

Completed in November, 2023:

the Skyline Trail: a connection between Swords Park and Zimmerman Park!

The Skyline Trail is the exciting new multiuse pathway along the Billings rims. Now, runners, walkers, bicyclists, and people using assistive mobility devices, can all enjoy the beautiful cityscape below, while recreating above.  This new link between Zimmerman Park and Swords Park now provides at least 7 miles of continuous trail!

quick facts about skyline trail

Connecting Parks with Path

The Skyline Trail connects two major parks: Swords Park to Zimmerman Park

Views of billings

“On top of the world,” with views of the Bighorn, Pryor and Beartooth Mountains.

airport access

Runs from the airport along the south side of Highway 3 ending at Zimmerman road.

projected build date

The City of Billings broke ground on the Skyline Trail in February 2023


2017: Billings TrailNet convened a meeting between Montana Department of Transportation, City Public Works, City County Planning and Billings Parks and Recreation, to make the concept of the Skyline Trail a reality.

2018: Billings TrailNet hired an engineering firm, Sanderson Stewart, to desing the trail.

SPRING 2020: The City of Billings applied for the second time for the $26M BUILD Grant to build the Inner Belt Loop with a trail alongside it and the Skyline Trail.

SUMMER 2020: Our first ever major gift came from Dick Charbonneau. With his help, we raised $120,000 and built the first section of the trail, which now connects the neighborhood at Zimmerman Place to Zimmerman Park.

FALL 2020: The City was notified we were awarded enough funds to build the Inner Belt Loop + trail and the Skyline Trail.

SUMMER 2021: Billings TrailNet presented $85,000 to the City of Billings to meet their need for matching funds to be eligible to receive the BUILD grant.

WINTER 2023: Grand opening celebration for the Skyline Trail.

frequently asked questions

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Why is this trail needed?
  • It will create safe access to Zimmerman park
  • It will show our community’s pride in our unique topography: the rims
  • When fully complete, it will create designated parking areas
  • It will beautify the entry to our city from Highway 3
  • It will be accessible to all types of users and will be accessible from the highway and will not disturb the mountain bike/running trail just atop the rims

There is great need for a multiuse trail along the Billings rims (with parking lots) on the west side of the airport roundabout. Zimmerman Park is a major mountain biking and hiking area, filled every weekend with outdoor enthusiasts who go there to hike, bike, rock climb and walk their dogs. We see families, friends and people of all ages using the park; however, there is currently no safe access to Zimmerman Park via bicycle.

The area between Swords Park and Zimmerman Park has no biking and walking amenities other than an unofficial running trail on the south side of many private homes on the rims. The gravel and broken glass between the rims and the highway is unsightly and parking is haphazard. The trail at Swords Park is widely used by walkers, runners and bicyclists. However, it is just 1-1/2 miles long, and ends abruptly approximately 100 yards or so west of the airport roundabout.

We have a beautiful view and the potential for a postcard amenity. There is a great mountain biking/hiking park at Zimmerman Park, and a mile of trail at Swords Park. We need to connect the two parks!

Who was involved in this project?

This was a collaborative effort between Billings TrailNet, Montana Department of Transportation, The City of Billings, Billings Parks and Recreation and City County Planning Department.  With the help of Sanderson Stewart, Billings TrailNet has organized collaboration between these public entities and has funded the design and construction.

We also worked with Parks and Recreation to ensure the trail is properly maintained and that eventually, parking will be contained to protect natural beauty of the rims.

Phillips 66 provided $60,000 in funds to build a restroom and benches along the trail. The restroom was installed at Zimmerman Park in summer 2018, and the benches will be added when the trail is in place.

In summer 2019, we broke ground on Phase 1 of the Skyline Trail, which connected Zimmerman Trail to the parking lot at Zimmerman Park.  Hundreds of people joined the celebration and ribbon cutting, and a favorite local band, Arterial Drive played their hearts out for the celebration. 

In summer of 2023, the city broke ground on the rest of the trail, and Weave Construction actually built the trail.

Billings TrailNet was a big part of making the Skyline Trail a reality! And with this collaborative effort, we are living up to our reputation as a great community!

Billings TrailNet has been tasked with helping to connect our trails in Billings. We do all of this with donations from our community. If you would like to help, please contact us by calling our office at 406-281-1244, emailing us or making a donation.

Does this trail prevent me from riding or hiking the dirt trail on the rims?

No, this trail does not replace that trail. Mountain biking is still allowed on the trail below the Skyline Trail. Some of the natural trail is on private property, so please respect the property owners’ gracious allowance of public use by staying on the trail and keeping it clean.

Who paid for the trail?

Billings TrailNet provided $346,000 to engineer, partially build and provide matching funds for the grant. The U.S. Department of  Transportation’s BUILD grants program paid most of the cost, and a small portion of gas tax paid the remainder.

skyline trail




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