Missoula is a medium size city in Western Montana. Though it’s physically part of the Rocky Mountains region, culturally Missoula identifies closely with the Pacific Northwest.

Home to the University of Montana and often considered by residents as the most liberal city in Montana, it’s an interesting mix of ranchers, cowboys, hippies, yuppies, students, artists, athletes, and recreationalists.

Fun Fact: Graduates from the University of Montana frequently remain in Missoula, creating a large over-qualified workforce. A local barista or cook may have, at the very least, a Bachelor’s degree. Tip well; they have loans to pay off!

Things To Do In Missoula

Missoula is a geologically historic area where the floods of ice age left its mark. This phenomenon has taken a piece of land in the Northwest and made it the land of vineyards.

The vibrant scenic landscape is accentuated by warm sunshine to lure travelers in. Go biking, walking, picnicking and experience the magic of Missoula’s outdoors.

A Trip to Fort Missoula

The quaint fort of Missoula is the perfect spot for families. History geeks can visit the Historical Museum, or simply enjoy the age-old architecture and artifacts.

Nature lovers can roam in the free garden fields, where a colorful blanket awaits them. There are quiet picnic spots where your family can take a break.

Hiking in Mount Sentinel

The natural enigma which describes the identity of Missoula perfectly is Mount Sentinel.

The landscape here is appropriate for outdoor activities. Then you should not wait and set off on your journey to the top of the peak.

Have a mountain top view of the sprawling University of Montana Campus. On your way back, take trails that will lead you to the epic “M”: just at foothills of the mountain.

Taste the Missoula Wine

This region abounds in vineyards. That is why you can see numerous wineries and breweries. Even if you are not an alcoholic, you should not miss tasting the warm wine and beer.

It is not only about drinks; sometimes it is more than that. Groove to live music, while you sip down a bottle of finely brewed drink or wolf down some tastiest food in Missoula. Lake Missoula Cellars and Lolo Peak Winery are some of them.

Become a Sports Buff

We told you that natives of Missoula love outdoors. Outdoor is not always biking and cycling but also sports. The Stadium of the University of Montana is generally filled up.

People come to cheer at every match. May it be a football, baseball or hockey match. If you do not find tickets to popular games, go for Grizzlies basketball games. That is also fun to watch.

Outdoor Recreation in Caras Park

On the fringes of the Clark Fork River is Caras Park. Nestled between downtown and the River, Caras Park is an active outdoor recreational area.

You can follow the Riverfront Trail, which is popular among bikers, cyclists as well as walkers. Kids can have their time at the Dragon Hollow play area.

A whole family fun idea is picnicking or camping in a vibrant green space. Meditate in the quietness, or join concerts which are held on the premises.

Nearby Destinations

Missoula’s immediate surroundings offer a wide array of activities for all seasons, including the outdoor recreation afforded by vast tracts of public lands, the Old West flavor of several nearby ghost towns, several ski slopes, and a range of unique Montana businesses.

Hamilton, Montana

An hour south of Missoula on US-93, the small town of Hamilton offers several worthwhile attractions and proximity to the spectacular Bitterroot Mountains.

Hidden Legend Winery, just to the north of Hamilton on US-93, offers tastings of several varieties of mead (honey wine). The winery also produces dandelion wine.

Bitterroot Brewery in Hamilton serves about six of its microbrews on any given date. Their taproom and restaurant also occasionally hosts live music.

The Daly Mansion preserves the summer home of mining magnate Marcus Daly, one of Montana’s founding fathers.

Hot Springs

About 40 minutes’ drive southwest of Missoula, the Lolo Hot Springs offer two pools fed by geothermal springs: an outdoor swimming pool and a hotter (110-116 degree) indoor soaking pool.

Fun Fact: The springs are clothing-optional after 9 PM on Wednesday and Sunday nights.

Jerry Johnson hot spring

More adventurous soakers may prefer to hike out to some natural hot springs just across the Idaho border (about an hour from Missoula). Driving from Montana, the Jerry Johnson hot springs’ trailhead will be the first.

The trailhead is clearly marked–watch for a suspension bridge crossing the river to your left. The springs themselves are less than a mile hike in and are large enough to accommodate a couple of dozen people.

If the springs are packed, as they often are, try hiking a quarter-mile further down the trail to two smaller hot springs.

Note: These springs are also clothing optional.

Weir Hot Spring is a smaller hot spring about five miles further down the road from Montana. It is about a mile in on a narrow and hilly trail, which can be treacherously icy in the winter and spring.

Although the drive is longer and the hike harder, visitors to Weir are compensated by smaller crowds than at Jerry Johnson. In addition, the Forest Service allows camping at Weir, unlike at Jerry Johnson.


The Montana Snowbowl, just north of Missoula, sports 950 lift-served acres.
Pattee Canyon has Nordic ski trails groomed regularly when there’s enough snow by the missoulanordic.org club, for skating and classic techniques with mostly easy flat terrain, though its often icey.

Lolo Pass, 45 miles southwest of Missoula, has good Nordic Ski trails groomed Saturday/Sunday early mornings by the Clearwater National Forest contractor, which offer excellent classic and skating tracks. There’s also a warming hut and a staffed lodge at the pass.

Garnet Ghost Town

Garnet Ghost Town, about an hour’s drive east on MT-200, is the closest significant ghost town to Missoula.

Maintained by the BLM in a state of suspended decay, the small mining camp of Garnet is an open-air museum of gold rush life on the frontier.

It is only accessible by car during the summer and early fall, but two cabins in the town are rented through the winter to adventurous skiers or snowmobilers.

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is just three hours’ drive north on US-93.

June 26, 2019 1:36 pm Published by

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