Maclay Flat Nature Trail


Bitterroot River at McClay Flats

The Maclay Flat Nature Trail is a great place to birdwatch or to take a quiet walk along the Bitterroot River. Maclay Flat is located on the west edge of Missoula, making this a local favorite spot for walking and jogging.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: This is a day use area only. Area closed 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: Pets must be leashed. No horses. No bikes. Please view our Blue Mountain Recreation Area brochure and Lolo National Forest Visitor Guidelines.
Closest Towns: Missoula, Montana
Water: No drinking water available
Restroom: Handicap accessible vault toilets
Information Center: Missoula Ranger District, 406-329-3814

General Information

Directions: From Interstate 90, take the Highway 93, Reserve Street, exit and head south. Turn right onto Blue Mountain Road (has a light signal) and head west 2 miles to the Maclay Flat Nature Trail.
General Notes: This site is accessible and has nature trails, parking, restrooms, river access, and interpretive signs. Benches are available along the trail. The parking lot is paved and the path is gravelled. In the spring, the Bitterroot River sometimes overflows and temporarily submerges portions of the trail.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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Nature Viewing

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Outdoor Learning

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Water Activities

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Boating - Non-Motorized

Non-motorized boating is a great way to view wildlife and appreciate the riverside scenery/vegetation in the area. Carry your boat or canoe 150 yards down the trail to access the river. See our brochure, "Clark Fork River Float" for maps and details which you can request from or pick up at the front desk of the Missoula Ranger District office. The brochure also has wonderful descriptions of the wildlife and vegetation seen along the float.
Type of Craftcanoe, raft, kayak
Launch Rampsyes, carry boat to river

Winter Sports

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Areas & Activities


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  • Click here to find a map to take on your adventures.

  • Click here to find out more about obtaining permits or passes for certain activities on the forest.

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  Area/Length : 
1.25 mile and 1.8 mile loops

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
3200 feet