Length: 8 miles (out-and-back)
Duration: 1-3 hours
Elevation Gain: 700 feet
Activities: Hiking, trail running, mountain biking
Crowds: Heavy traffic
The Painted Hills trail and "Painted Hills Connector Trail" (we'll refer to them together here) run from Kagy Blvd. on the south end of town to the Triple Tree trail in the Gallatin Range foothills. This trail makes a great way to get decently long run or ride in without leaving town, especially when linked with Highland Glen and Triple Tree for a 15-mile loop with 2,000 feet of climbing. The Painted Hills trail itself gradually gains elevation as you climb southward towards the mountains, but you'll barely notice the uphill until you're coasting down on the way back. There are several road crossings on the trail and some portions that weave through residential areas, so be mindful and respectful when using this trail.
This trail usually dries out early in the spring, but it can get extremely muddy following even a moderate amount of rain or snowmelt. If it's been raining or snowing lately, avoid this trail for a few days to keep it nice and smooth.
The trailhead for Painted Hills is right off Kagy Blvd. just east of the Painted Hills housing development. This trailhead is also right across Kagy from the southern access point for Highland Glen.