Montana is a fantastic place, so it is no surprise that nearly 12 million visitors come into our state each year to take in spectacular scenic beauty, top-notch recreation activities, and charming towns each with their own unique attributes. Missoula, Montana, situated in western Montana, is your one-stop location to experience the best our state has to offer. With wildlife viewing, natural hot springs, amazing outdoor recreation opportunities, scenic driving routes leaving from town, world-class fishing, big-city amenities and dining and truly so much more, you can't ask for any place better for your Montana vacation. We are obsessed with Missoula, and we know you will be, too.
One of the most sought-after activities in Montana is wildlife viewing, and Missoula has its fair share of opportunities! Keep your eyes peeled towards Mount Jumbo in the fall and spring for the elk migration; black bears periodically make an appearance along Mount Sentinel, the Rattlesnake Recreation area, Blue Mountain, and even all the way down towards Greenough Park outside of downtown. Birders will find many locations for sightings of osprey, bald eagles, owls, sparrows, and so many more species. Driving west along the Blackfoot River can result in bighorn sheep sightings. The National Bison Range, about 30 minutes north of town, is an idyllic spot to see bison in its natural habitat. The National Bison Range offers a scenic driving loop where you are sure to see this incredible animal. If you keep your eyes out, you might also see some black bears, pronghorn, antelopes, elk and other critters. Remember to keep your distance and let wildlife be wild!
It is something you really have to experience for yourself: sitting amongst the wilderness in a pool of naturally-piping hot water, taking in the scenery and relaxing your worries away. Hot springs are not unique to Montana, but they offer uniquely fun entertainment! There are many natural hot springs surrounding town that are definitely worth a visit. Lolo Hot Springs is a commercial pool located south of town, and Jerry Johnson and Weir hot springs are purely in nature and involve a bit of a hike to get there, but that is all part of the adventure!
Hiking and biking and rafting, oh my! Missoula is bursting with opportunities for outdoor recreation. Nestled in the Northern Rockies of Montana and surrounded by seven wilderness areas and at the confluence of three rivers, Missoula is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise. You can find solitude and serenity in the mountains surrounding town, hit the trails for hikes of all levels, and find water adventures ranging from gentle floating to river rafting. Many places in town offer rental opportunities and guided adventures, too. Learn more here and get to planning.
Located in the heart of Western Montana, Missoula is the perfect launching pad for some incredibly scenic drives in the region. Driving north, you will find yourself in the gorgeous Mission and Flathead valley areas; driving east you can follow the Blackfoot River and take in breathtaking mountain views; east will land you in Lolo National Forest en route towards the Idaho border; and driving south you can discover the historic and scenic Bitterroot Valley. Go explore during the day and come back to centrally-located Missoula in the evening for a night on the town and comfortable lodging accommodations.
In Missoula, a river literally runs through it. In fact, the novel-turned-movie A River Runs Through It is based on the author's childhood and life in Missoula, Montana, and we have the fishing to prove it. The Clark Fork River runs through the heart of town, and the Bitterroot and Blackfoot rivers are just outside the city limits. Rock Creek, a blue ribbon fishing stream, is also a short drive away, making your options for fishing endless. Be sure to secure the proper permitting before hiring a guide or hitting the shores on your own. The angling is so good here, that Forbes Magazine named Missoula one of North America's top ten trout fishing towns.
When people think of dining in Montana, burgers and steaks often come to mind. While we certainly have some great burger joints and steakhouses to choose from, the quality and diversity of Missoula's dining scene may surprise you. Missoula is home to food and dining establishments that are more akin to big-city amenities than a western town. Chefs serve up creative and delicious local fare, our international dining options are truly impressive, we have offerings for any and all dietary needs, and our food truck scene is off the charts. Missoula also boasts an abundance of breweries, distilleries, and even a cidery, so you will not have to search long to find some locally brewed or distilled spirits to enjoy. Order our free dining guide to learn more about Missoula's food and drink options.
One of the reasons that people plan visits to Montana is for that intangible "Montana experience." Close your eyes and you can see it: clouds bob gently in an endless blue sky, mountains extend as far as the eye can see, and a gentle breeze rustles through the trees and flows steadily along with the current of the sparkling river. That feeling is real, and it is yours for the taking. We are here to help you plan your authentic Montana vacation. Our call center is open Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm MST (1.800.526.3465), our website is full of tips and ideas for your visit, and we even have a free travel guide that can help you along the way. That Montana feeling is waiting for you in Missoula. We can't wait to see you soon.
Sign up for our enewsletter
Start planning your vacation. Get our newsletter for must-see adventures, exclusive deals, upcoming events and much more.