Location: Along Highway 10/West Broadway west of North Reserve Street, including Grant Creek Road
Features: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation; entrance to Snow Bowl Ski Area
Public Schools: DeSmet Elementary
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Missoula’s cozy gateway to the great outdoors
By Melissa Fisher for Real Estate Marketplace
The solitude of the mountains, with the convenience of the city just down the street –that’s what draws people to the Grant Creek neighborhood, on the northwestern border of town. Simply drive north through the busy hubbub of Reserve Street, minutes past the shopping centers and the Starbucks to find a scene that is classically and idyllically “Montana,” where roaming wildlife and friendly neighbors co-exist along the rolling river, amidst the open fields and wooded hillsides.
While Grant Creek has grown in population over the years, it has maintained its natural splendor. With just over 1,000 people living in the roughly 2.5 square mile area, it’s easy to find your own little slice of Montana here. It’s a place where folks tend to spend summer evenings perched on the front porch, and winter nights nestled inside next to the fire. Homes range from small log cabins, to upscale subdivisions, to impressive mansions featuring swimming pools and tennis courts. Residents come from a variety of backgrounds, and include young families, retirees, and hardworking landowners; what they share is a love for a quiet life and the great outdoors.
Grant Creek is home to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s Elk Country Visitor Center, which features a walking trail through the Foundation’s 10 acres of wooded property and an interactive exhibit with information about elk country, habitat conservation, and the region’s rich heritage.
Grant Creek is, in fact, also home to a large elk herd that can sometimes be spotted walking through the area, their eerie bugling sometimes serving as the soundtrack to an otherwise quiet evening. A large whitetail deer population, more than a few bears, bald eagles, hummingbirds, and at least one flock of wild turkeys also call this neighborhood home.
“I’ve come outside in the morning to find my 300 pound compost box moved across the yard,” said Grant Creek resident Morgan Erickson-Davis, who lives in a wood-heated cabin on two acres. “At first I thought my neighbors were playing tricks on me. Then I saw the claw marks.” Erickson-Davis now does her composting in bear-proof containers.
“But really, it’s worth it,” continued Ms. Erickson-Davis, who moved to the area in August. “I love living in a place where deer and turkeys traipse through the yard on a daily basis, but is still within 15 minutes of downtown. I can even have a pizza delivered up here!”
The development of the Grant Creek Trail Association has brought this neighborhood together. Once completed, the 3 plus mile paved trail will provide a non-motorized path for walkers, runners and bikers to enjoy, beginning at the I-90 corridor, winding all the way up to the recreation areas at the top of the road.
The neighborhood also serves as the gateway to Missoula’s local ski hill, SnowBowl. Skiers and snowboarders scurrying quickly up Grant Creek Road to hit the slopes are treated to a snapshot of the simple life as they drive through some of the best scenery Missoula has to offer.
Melissa Fisher is a freelance writer for the Missoulian Advertising Department.