Old Trail Tours

The Old North Trail was a trans-continental trail running north and south along the east side of the Rocky Mountains between Mexico and Alaska. Used by Native Americans for millennia for trading, hunting, war and seasonal migration, the Old North Trail was lost in most places in North America with American and Canadian westward colonization, quickly followed by industrial and agricultural development along much of the path of the Old North Trail.

However, on Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front, much of the Old North Trail still exists in an undisturbed state for long stretches. Here along the Front, you can still walk along the same path the Blackfeet, Metís and other indigenous peoples used. You can see the travois ruts etched into the earth over centuries of usage as you follow the rock cairns placed by Native Americans to mark the way. Along the tours of the trail, you will pass by tepee rings, buffalo jumps, eagle traps, as well as a Metís cemetery and cabin, all right at the very foot of the rugged Sawtooth Range on the Rocky Mountain Front. As most of the land along these tours are not public lands, the tours are a unique and exclusive opportunity to experience the well-preserved indigenous historical sites.

Cairn marking a buffalo jump near the Old North Trail

The Old Trail Museum offers special tours of stretches of the Old North Trail each summer. Led by Old Trail Museum Board members and former Glacier National Park backcountry rangers David and Vivi Shea, these tours cover several miles of the Old North Trail along the Rocky Mountain Front, discussing the trail, sites passed along the trail, as well as local geology, flora and fauna.

Dave Shea interpreting the site of an eagle trap.