Missoula is surrounded by natural beauty, so gorgeous road trips and scenic driving tours are part of the package when you take a trip to this place! Here are some of our favorite drives, though when it comes to Montana, every twist and turn is pretty epic.
The Blackfoot River meets and merges with the Clark Fork River a few miles east of Missoula. This river, made famous by Norman Maclean's novella A River Runs Through It is a stunning route to follow. Take Highway 200 east of Missoula and drive to your heart's content. The historic Garnet Ghost Town is located along this route, as is the small and charming down of Ovando. You will also find many fishing access points and places to picnic.
Head north on US Highway 93 through the Jocko Valley towards the Flathead Valley for a stunning drive with mountains on all sides. After three hours in the car, this route will drop you in Whitefish near Glacier National Park, but if you wish to stay a little closer to home base, many great day drop options await. Find your way to Flathead Lake, the National Bison Range, the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas, or all three, depending on your preferences. This beautiful drive passes through the Flathead Indian Reservation and many historic points, as well.
The Bitterroot Valley lies just south of Missoula and is home to the charming small towns like Lolo, Stevensville, Hamilton and Darby. Take US Highway 93 South and follow the Bitterroot River as it crisscrosses the highway. You will be rewarded with excellent views of the mountains. The Bitterroot is also a great spot for hiking, fishing, biking and boating.
For a short and scenic drive in Missoula cit limits, head up towards the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area. The parking lot is located about ~5 miles from downtown Missoula and a short 15 minute drive. Enjoy this beautiful neighborhood and take in views of Stuart Peak and the wilderness areas surrounding. You are sure to see a deer or two on the side of the road. Take a hike on the beautiful Rattlesnake Trail or stop at Ten Spoon Winery on your way back to town. As an added bonus, take a side trip up Lincoln Hills Drive to a stunning overlook of Missoula.
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