Missoula offers many activities to enjoy on your Montana Vacation
by Michele Kadison
Base your Montana vacation out of Missoula, and you’ll place yourself near some of the greatest rafting, fishing, hiking, hunting and horseback riding Montana offers. Here you’ll also find an interesting town, with the University of Montana helping to bring in lots of arts, music, theatre and sports to enjoy on your vacation. And there’s plenty of Montana hotels and lodging for you to relax in as you enjoy your stay.
Sitting right in the center of the northern Rockies in western Montana, Missoula began as a settlement called Hell Gate. A trading post for travelers passing through the area, it was eventually renamed Missoula, meaning “near the cold, chilling waters” in the language of the Salish Indians.
Famed for its lush forests and wide green expanses, the “garden city” holds its own where five magnificent valleys come together. With a population of approximately 85,000, Missoula sits in the heart of the northern Rockies in the western sector of Montana.
The University of Montana is one of the major landmarks in Missoula, lying on the banks of the Clark Fork River. This 200 acre campus is known as one of the most exquisite in the United States as it spreads across the base of Mount Sentinel.
Other attractions in Missoula include the Art Museum, the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, the Museum of Art and Culture, The St. Francis Xavier Church, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Wildlife Visitor Center, and the Smokejumper Visitor Center. Additionally there are many beautiful turn-of-the-century buildings in the downtown area of the city where you will find many specialty shops, galleries, restaurants, and many diverse cultural activities.
Some of the major Missoula events include the International Wildlife Film Festival, the International Choral Festival, First Night Missoula, Germanfest, the Irish Cultural Celebration, Out to Lunch, Downtown ToNight, and the Saturday Arts and Crafts Market. Missoula has a prolific night life that includes a wide range of performing arts such as the University of Montana Performing Arts, the Missoula Symphony, and the Missoula Children’s Theater.
With three major rivers running through the region, including the Blackfoot River to the northeast, the Bitterroot River to the south, and the Clark Fork of the Columbia River, which flows right through the city itself, water activities are extremely popular. Try your hand at fly fishing, rafting, canoeing, or kayaking to enjoy some of the best outdoor activities in western Montana.
- Montana Maps: Missoula
- Montana Rafting Vacations: Missoula
- Montana Wedding Venues: Missoula
- Fly fishing Montana: Missoula
- Montana Campgrounds: Missoula