Drinking Horse TLC


Everyone’s beloved trail, Drinking Horse Mountain, is getting some much needed TLC after years of heavy use. This gem of a trail is deserving of a little extra love. She hosts 150 visits per day in the winter and 500 (yes, 500!) each day in the summer months. All those visitors (and their dogs) put some expected wear and tear on the trail.  Sections of the trail have eroded over time and the surfaces have become uneven. GVLT will be establishing some drainage features to prevent future rutting and erosion, and reworking switchbacks for a safer and more sustainable trail. Pro Tip: When using trails, don’t cut switchbacks or corners, they cause the damage we’re repairing!  Starting Monday June 19th, trail users will see maintenance work with heavy machinery (some things you just can’t do with volunteer hands!). Don’t fret, you’ll still be able to visit. Certain sections of the trail will be closed during our work but it will be passable and we’ll have plenty of signage. The trail maintenance will last about 3-4 weeks. This important work was made possible by a grant from the State of Montana Trails Stewardship Program.

Do you know the history of Drinking Horse Mountain? Beloved trails like this don’t happen by accident (or overnight)! Drinking Horse Mountain Trail got its name quite literally. The mountain looks like a horse drinking from a creek. When the owners of the property called us in 2000 and said they wanted to donate this land for public access, we knew we had an opportunity to create something special. Adjacent to land owned by the United States Forest Service and US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), with an ascent that offers spectacular views in four directions, the parcel was perfectly positioned for a new trail. GVLT helped facilitate the donation of the land to USFWS and raised money from the community to create two routes the top and install the locally-designed Kevin Mundy Memorial Bridge, named for a local ski patroller.

All told, it took GVLT and our partners eight years to permit, design, fund, and construct the Drinking Horse Mountain trail, but it was well worth the wait. The property is still owned by the USFWS but maintained by GVLT. On September 27, 2008, the trail opened to the public and it has been popular ever since.