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Missoula Montana

Straddling the Clark Fork River, Missoula is a far cry from its origins as Hellgate Village, founded to service the sawmills and flour mills which located on the river east of the present townsite. It's the largest city in Western Montana and is a center for the forest industry.

It's home to the University of Montana which has 9,600 students. Missoula is the take-off point for a very scenic drive to Flathead Lake & Kalispell, and on to Glacier National Park. Lying just east of the long Bitterroot Range, Missoula is a hub for wilderness adventure.

What to See & Do

The Bob Marshall Wilderness is to the north and the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness -- in the Deerlodge National Forest -- to the south. The Mission Mountains begin just north of town (in the Flathead Indian Reservation). Flathead Lake is an hour's drive north of town.

River recreation is available in all directions. The Bitterroot, Clark Fork, Blackfoot and Flathead rivers all feature fishing and river rafting expeditions. Within 50 miles of the city, there are more than 200 miles of prime floating rivers and many more miles of fishing streams. The variety of fish available is staggering: rainbow, cutthroat, brown & brook trout, Dolly Varden, kokanee, whitefish, bass and northern pike. There are many public campgrounds around the city, most of them managed by the National Forest Service, and private RV parks in the city as well.

The two museums are worth visiting. Fort Missoula includes an historical museum, a forest service lookout, and 12 historic buildings at the site of the original fort -- on South Avenue. The Missoula Museum of the Arts, at 335 North Pattee, presents changing art exhibitions along with films, lectures and concerts.

A convenient day-trip north from Missoula will take you not only to Flathead Lake but to the National Bison Range, the home of up to 500 bison in the Flathead Reservation, reached by taking Highway 93. This 19,000-acre range is also home to other wildlife including whitetail and mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goats and pronghorn antelope. The visitor center is in the community of Moise.

The city features four golf courses, two of them (Missoula Country Club and Larchmont Golf Course) with 18 holes. There are two ski areas in the area: Snow Bowl and Marshall. There are wildlife refuges located north and south of town.

The Lee Metcalf Refuge (25 miles south) hosts migratory waterfowl. Ninepipe and Pablo refuges (north via Highway 93) are on the way to Flathead Lake & the town of Polson. The area is a definite plus for hot springs fans. Lolo Pass Hot Springs is west of the city on the Montana/Idaho border. Other hot spring operations include Sleeping Child, Lost Trail and Medicine Hot Springs.

10,000 Waves Raft & Kayak Adventures
8080 West Riverside Drive, Missoula, 406-549-6670
Rafting or kayaking on the Blackfoot River, or through Alberton Gorge on the Clark Fork River offer a true Montana experience: scenic float, overnight camping trips, kayak tours, kayak instruction, guided river trips, or boat rentals. Custom trips can also be arranged. For info, go here.


Missoula Hotels

Best Western Plus Grant Creek Inn
5280 Grant Creek Road, Missoula 800-780-7234
Located three miles from downtown Missoula, this is an upscale motor inn with large rooms, free WiFi, a business center, pool and whirlpool, and a full free breakfast. Pet friendly.

Ruby's Inn
4825 North Reserve Street Missoula 406-721-0990 or toll-free at 800-221-2057
This hotel has been family owned and operated for a long time (over 30 years). The same company operates a number of national chain properties in the region. Amenities include 125 units including standard rooms and suites (including a honeymoon suite). The hotel has a heated outdoor pool, outdoor creek-side whirlpool, and free WiF. Hot breakfast is included in the room cost.

As with the other Montana cities and just about everywhere else, the city has a lot of national chain hotels, each like the others in its brand.

Camping & Recreation

Missoula El-Mar KOA
3450 Tina Avenue, Missoula 406-549-0881 or toll-free at 800-562-5366
The largest campground in the area (36 tenting and 173 RV sites) also features a swimming pool, hot tub and mini-golf. Full hook-ups. Take Exit 101 off I-90 to Reserve St. and then turn onto Tina.

Nearby towns and attractions,
go to
Bigfork, Seeley Lake, Whitefish,
Glacier National Park 

Montana Destinations






Glacier National Park

Great Falls



Red Lodge

Seeley Lake & The Swan Valley

West Yellowstone





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