We all rave about hiking the North Hills. It’s time the South Hills received its due. The South Hills Trails System includes nearly a dozen different routes that provide excellent views of wildflowers, wildlife and the Missoula Valley—all from a different perspective than the well worn and often crowded Waterworks Hill. If you’re looking for a good example, try the Tonkin Trail, which starts just off the elbow where Garland Drive meets Clearview Way. The gravel path leads through private property, around a horse pasture and then cuts directly up the hill toward Hillview Way. It’s not a strenuous hike by any means, but it offers unobstructed views of the old water tower and Blue Mountain, a few glimpses of the Bitterroot River and, especially as you approach Hillview, a panoramic vista of Missoula that’s best experienced at sunset.
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)