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Continued from the previous page.


The trail is less hilly south of the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. It closely follows the river most of the way downtown as it gradually descends from about a hundred feet above the water to near-river level in the more urban miles.

These photos are in rough chronological order south of the interpretive center:

Looking down at the river, bike path, and Lewis & Clark sculptures from one of the parking areas

Closer view of the sculptures of Sacagawea, Lewis, and Clark,
depicting scouting their land portage around all the falls in the Missouri River

Where the trail is high above the river like this you can see quite a distance upstream and down:

Upstream toward town

Downstream (northeast)

There are benches and picnic tables at scenic intervals all along the bike path. This one is just north of the sculptures on the approach to Black Eagle Island, Falls, and Dam:

Here's another view closer to the dam, looking the other direction (downstream):

Black Eagle is one of the interesting falls and dams you can clearly see from the bike path. I got some good shots today of a rainbow in the water spray above part of the nearby section of falls:


The water-sculpted rocks in the foreground are interesting, too.

Below this dam the river appears low. At first we thought it was just normal low levels at the end of summer.

Then we noticed that the water is even lower above the Black Eagle Dam; a lot of sand is visible in its wide reservoir:

On the local news this evening we learned why the water level downstream and in the reservoir above the dam is so low Ė engineers have lowered the level of the reservoir about 12 feet already so they can do some maintenance on the dam.

The water was released gradually so it didnít abruptly affect anyone or anything downstream, including all the birds that are along the river:

The city will reach the low water level desired tomorrow, do the maintenance work (which is required every few years), then allow the water to build back up gradually in the reservoir.

River's Edge Trail trail goes right through eight or nine city parks as it heads toward town and has spurs to access several other parks.

We were delighted to find a beautiful fenced-in, off-leash dog park right next to the bike path in Gibson Park. It has two large fenced-in areas, one designated for large dogs and another one for small dogs, with a nice covered pavilion between them for dog lovers to mingle:


Entrance to area for little dogs

Path through the long expanse of grass for large dogs; the bike path is outside the fence to the left.

The grass is nice and green (itís brown everywhere that isnít watered regularly) in both the large and small dog areas and there are several tunnels, jumps, etc. Ė even more permanent obstacles than a regular agility course.

This is the best dog park I've ever seen!

These photos continue south toward town, where the bike path is just above river level:

Another park on the left;  River Dr. is on the right.

If the path was any closer to the river it would be IN the river!  Wonder what happens in the spring
when all the snow melts?  Maybe it's not a problem since there are several dams in the area.

Pedestrians and cyclists have to stop a couple of times to go back and forth across River Dr. but most drivers obeyed the law and stopped to let us cross the street.   

There are several underpasses, an overpass, and a short tunnel on the southern portion of the bike trail. The path goes under this bridge along River Dr.:

I like this part of the trail (above and below) with the park, trees, benches, and nice views of the river:

Note the unique bench legs made from chains:

When we went this way we lost the trail for about half a mile near the police station at Railroad Square:


We rode through some parking lots and on streets to find the remainder of the trail down to the Great Falls visitor center, then turned around at what we think is the end of the trail in that direction.

A new section of trail is being poured near the police station:

Hopefully that will connect with the southern section of trail and eliminate the "missing link" on streets and through parking lots.

Next entry:  riding and hiking along the Lewis & Clark interpretive trail by the river + photos of Giant Springs Heritage State Park

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, and Cody the ultra Lab

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© 2012 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil