The Great Northern Historic Trail is a Rails to Trails project to convert old railroad beds to multi-use trails that is organized by the citizens of Northwest Montana. We ran 4 miles of paved bike trail as training for my son’s cross country season near Somers, but the Great Northern Historic Trail is a network of over 20 miles of converted railroad beds stretching across Northwest Montana. The trail can be hiked, biked, jogged, cross country skiied, or snowshoed.
We started 4 miles north of Somers by picking a starting spot along the trail 4 miles from where we wanted to finish and ran south into town. The first mile and a half was not shaded and very hot in 80- to 90- degree heat. It also followed Then, the trail dipped into a little shade and took us past a very pretty slough with a variety of animal and plant life. We ran through downtown up a decent hill towards the waterfront for the big payoff. As we headed towards the finish, Flathead Lake came into view on our left, with beaches, boats and even an island flashing by. A waterfront finish made our cool down oh so cool.
Whatever part of the trail you choose to use, you will traverse a piece of history of the region. In the early 1900s, the Great Northern Railway hauled both passengers and freight across Northwestern Montana using this railroad. You could flag the train down from about any crossing, and it would stop and pick you up and drop you at your desired connection. The railway was also used to ship freight to and from Whitefish, the resort town.