Skies ablaze as the sun sets over the city
Horseback riding at dawn along the river bank
Surfing and kayaking in the man-made Brennan’s Wave in the Clark Fork River
Fly-fishing on the Blackfoot River
The Bitterroot Mountains east of the city
Stargazing delight as the Milky Way lights up the night sky
Biking along the trail on Mount Sentinel
Caras Park trails along the Clark Fork River in the fall
- Major Airports:
- Missoula (MSO)
University town offers outdoor fun mixed with big-city culture
Step Back in Time
There are several landmarks in Missoula that allow visitors to learn about the adventures of explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, whose famous expedition took them through the area in the early 1800s. Visit the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, an 1877 military post and historic building. East of Missoula, tour the Garnet Ghost Town, Montana’s best-preserved ghost town, where gold miners and their families thrived in the late 1800s.
Create Your Own Fish Tale
Brad Pitt starred in the popular 1992 movie “A River Runs Through It,” which is set in Missoula and uses fly-fishing in the Blackfoot River as its central thread. But there’s more than one river here: The Clark Fork and Bitterroot rivers and Rock Creek also run through the town. Several outfitters offer fishing tours and charters. Guides take you to the best spots and teach the art of fly-fishing, helping improve casting skills so you can reel in trout, walleye, whitefish and more. Other nearby fishing spots include picturesque Flathead Lake, Frenchtown Pond State Park, Georgetown Lake, Placid Lake State Park, Seeley Lake and Salmon Lake State Park.
Nature and the Great Outdoors
At the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area in Lolo National Forest, find a scenic trail and hike to a cluster of alpine lakes; elsewhere in the forest, go camping, horseback riding, bicycling, skiing and snowmobiling on Lolo Peak, depending on the season. Float on a tube down one of three rivers. Hike Mount Jumbo or the switchback up to the giant “M” on Mount Sentinel. Grab a bucket and go huckleberry picking (keep an eye out for bears). Need more outdoor fun? Go skiing at the Montana Snowbowl; in summer, try mountain biking and zip-lining.
A Cultural Hub in the Region
This university town has a vibrant art, culture and literary scene. Missoula has three shopping districts as well as farm-to-table restaurants, local coffeehouses and roasters, craft breweries, distilleries, art galleries and bookstores. See a ballet, opera or play. Catch a concert or festival at bustling Caras Park downtown on the Clark Fork River. Hang out with locals at the city’s thriving weekly farmers market. Visit the Missoula Art Museum and the Montana Museum of Art & Culture to see Native American art, artifacts and more.
Some 14,000 years ago, Missoula, which sits in a valley, was completely covered by glacial Lake Missoula.