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Overview

Missoula, tucked in a fertile valley and filled with students, loggers, truck drivers, and writers, is the hub of western Montana. The Missoula Valley has always been a crossroads, first for Indians, then for white settlers, and nowadays for Montana’s major highways. As home to the University of Montana, Missoula is a one of the state’s major cultural centers. Missoula has preserved much of its historic architectural character, and offers good restaurants and a full-bodied nightlife. For a traveler, Missoula is an agreeable home base for excursions to the nearby Bitterroot Valley, with great fishing, hiking, and Lewis and Clark historic ...

Missoula, tucked in a fertile valley and filled with students, loggers, truck drivers, and writers, is the hub of western Montana. The Missoula Valley has always been a crossroads, first for Indians, then for white settlers, and nowadays for Montana’s major highways. As home to the University of Montana, Missoula is a one of the state’s major cultural centers. Missoula has preserved much of its historic architectural character, and offers good restaurants and a full-bodied nightlife. For a traveler, Missoula is an agreeable home base for excursions to the nearby Bitterroot Valley, with great fishing, hiking, and Lewis and Clark historic sites, and to the north, the Mission and Flathead valleys, where you'll find wildlife viewing, Native American culture, and more hiking. Practically within city limits, the Clark Fork is joined by the Blackfoot and Bitterroot Rivers and several smaller streams. Head downstream along the Clark Fork to find great whitewater rafting. A little farther west, near the Idaho border, the Hiawatha bike trail is a good daytrip destination.

Judy Jewell
About the Expert

Judy Jewell and W.C. McRae are frequent collaborators: together they have written Moon Handbooks to Montana, Utah, and Zion-Bryce and updated the Moon Handbooks to Oregon and Coastal Oregon. Judy wrote the Compass American Guide to Oregon.

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Judy Jewell for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Missoula is lively year round. Unless you want to battle the Grizzlies for hotel space, check the football schedule before a fall weekend visit.