Recreate Responsibly

Recreate Responsibly
In Missoula Montana

Do Your Part to Recreate Responsibly

We're committed to keeping Montana's outdoor spaces, communities, residents and visitors safe. As you enjoy all that Missoula has to offer, please join us in following these guidelines for responsible recreation.

Know Before You Go

Before arriving, it's always smart to check the status of the place you'd like to visit. Have a backup plan if your destination is closed or crowded, and consider adjusting the time of day you plan to explore if crowds are a concern. By arriving early, you may experience shorter lines and reduced crowds for a more enjoyable experience!

Practice Physical Distancing

Indoors or out, be prepared to encounter others with different social distancing comfort levels while traveling. If you can, give other people as much space as possible. On trails, move over to let stock (horses and mules) pass, yield to other hikers and be respectful of other users. If you know you'll be in an area with other people, have a mask on hand. Keep your group small and stay home if you are sick (have a cough, cold, fever, etc.) or have been in contact with individuals who have been sick—you can always visit Missoula in the future!

Physical distancing doesn't just apply to the people around you—this is Montana after all, and Missoula is surrounded by seven wilderness areas. Always keep a safe distance between you and any wildlife you encounter while exploring in the great outdoors.

Plan Ahead

Check our local regulations for the latest safety measures. Some facilities might be closed, so consider packing a lunch and bring essentials like extra water, food/snacks, bug spray and a first aid kit on your next adventure. In Montana, both weather and terrain can change quickly, so we recommend packing plenty of clothing layers to add or remove as weather changes.

If you're curious about current regulations in Missoula, just ask a local! We are available to answer visitor questions via phone or LiveChat Monday-Friday, 8:00AM-5:00PM MST.

If your travel plans include a visit to one of the nearby national parks, make sure you're up to date on current regulations and new procedures, such as Glacier National Park's new ticketed entry system.

Play It Safe

Have fun, but know your limits. Take it slow and choose lower-risk activities to stay safe, and reduce the strain on search and rescue operations and health care resources. Remember that Montana is home to bears, mountain goats, mountain lions, elk, deer and more. If you plan to spend time explore the surrounding wilderness, be prepared to have an encounter with our abundant wildlife. Give wildlife their space, do not approach them and do not feed them. If you plan to hike, be sure to go with a friend, make noise on the trail (talking or clapping), carry bear spray and know how to use it.

While summer is an incredible time to visit Missoula, it's also wildfire season in Montana. Stay up to date on wildfire conditions throughout the state, and do your part to prevent wildfires while enjoying our outdoor spaces. Visit Montana's state website to find resources and learn more about wildfire safety and prevention.


Floating the river is a Missoula must in the summer. The days are hot and long, so relaxing in a tube on the water is a great way to beat the heat and enjoy the summer sunshine. It can be a bit intimidating to know where to start, but we are here to give you some pro tips for floating the river, from where to go from what you need to know.

Explore Locally

Our area is full of local parks, trails and public spaces. Enjoy them while being mindful of your impact on the surrounding communities.

When in doubt, ask a local. Stop by our walk-in visitor center in downtown Missoula to pick up travel guides and maps, and get suggestions for things to do, places to go and insider tips. If you find yourself needing a hand while recreating on any of our three rivers, look for a River Ambassador! These friendly locals can be spotted in bright shirts clearly labeled “RIVER AMBASSADOR,” and they move between Missoula-area river access points and parking areas on the Clark Fork, Bitterroot, and Blackfoot, as well as on SUP boards and in kayaks. They're around all summer to help ensure safe, fun, river-smart recreation by providing information on access points, appropriate waste disposal, parking/shuttle options, safety tips, maps, best river use practices, and more. Also see our Downtown River Map for more information about getting started.

Leave No Trace

Pack your garbage out with you and clean up properly. When recreating on public lands, be sure to take care of them by staying on trails. If you plan to camp while you're visiting the Missoula area, be sure to do so in an existing campsite or pick a site where vegetation is absent. It's important to respect public lands and waters, as well as Native and local communities.

“Leave no trace” also means watching out for invasive species! All watercraft, (motorized and nonmotorized) must stop at ALL watercraft inspection stations you encounter. Inspection

stations are the first line of defense to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Build an Inclusive Outdoors

Missoula is a welcoming and inclusive community for all who wish to enjoy it. Do your part to help make our outdoor spaces safe and welcoming for all identities and abilities.

Other Resources

To learn more about responsible recreation in Montana, go to or

To learn more about fire safety information, and check fire statuses in Montana, visit for more information on recreating safely outdoors. for information on local fire danger and prevention. for information on fire restriction.

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