Located nearly 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) to the north of Missoula, this breathtaking natural area can be easily accessed from the city's main limits. Wander along the area's dramatic topography, where Douglas-lined pathways and slopes dotted with ponderosa pine trees blend beautifully with cascading waterfalls and babbling brooks. Keep your eyes peeled for the white-tailed deer that drinks its fill from the Rattlesnake Creek, as well as for mountain goats and grizzly bears that can be seen meandering along the dense thicket of wilderness. Nearly 73 miles (117.48 kilometers) of trails snake their way through the pristine wilderness of the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area, providing incredible opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts of every stripe - be it hiking, mountain biking, skiing, or horseback riding. Those who love fishing will also delight at the fact that Rattlesnake Creek is teeming with native species of fish, such as bull trout, mountain whitefish, and cutthroat trout, to name a few.
Not far from the University of Montana, Mount Sentinel, also known as Mount Woody, watches guard over the charming city of Missoula. At a height of 1,958 feet (596.79 meters), this majestic mountain is most famous for featuring one of the city's most iconic landmarks, the letter M, on its western face. Marked to signify the end of a trail, now known as the 'M Trail', by the students of the University of Montana, this concrete structure has seen several transformations since it was first secured into the mountain's side in 1908. Today, it is commonly used as a lookout point by avid trekkers and provides panoramic views of the sparkling Clark Fork River, the valley, and the city spread out below. If you ascend further up the trail until you reach the summit of Mount Sentinel, the views get even more rewarding. Witness the magnificence of Mount Jumbo, across the Hellgate Canyon toward the north, while the south blesses you with views of the Bitterroot Mountains.
The Montana Natural History Center in Missoula strives to promote awareness about nature, paying particular attention to western Montana's natural history. Fun for kids and adults alike, it hosts community programs that include educational outreach and entertaining events like trivia night and nature walks. The museum offers naturalist programs and field days for adults, as well as summer camps and a slew of exhibits designed to catch the eye of your little ones. The natural landscape is such an integral part of what makes "The Treasure State" so special, so anyone traveling through Missoula would be remiss to skip the informative and entertaining Montana Natural History Center.
Caras Park is tucked away in downtown Missoula on the banks of the Clark Fork River. While its a lovely spot for a peaceful stroll, the Park Pavilion is also known for the local events it hosts throughout the year, which range from casual weekend markets to lively brew fests. Come to see live music or enjoy a rest after meandering along the Riverfront Walking trail. There's always something to do at Caras Park.
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation was founded by the four hunters Bob Munson, Bill Munson, Dan Bull and Charlie Decker in 1984. The foundation focuses on conservation and restoration of natural habitation. At the museum, you will find interesting wildlife exhibits, ranging from information about elk to photographs, as well as exhibits that illustrate and explain the foundation's conservation efforts and steps taken for the protection of future wildlife population. The foundation has programs where the children and all the visitors are also educated about the values and ethics of hunting.
St. Francis Xavier Church is the tallest church of Missoula built-in 1892 by the architecture, Mr. Blanchard, under the observation of the priest Father Diomedi. The interiors are of the church as much as mesmerizing as the exteriors. There are beautiful paintings that are more than 100 years old, the paintings were painted by the brother of the Society of Jesus and a kitchen helper when they had free time. So if you are in the city do not miss out on visiting this church and seek some blessing.
Celebrating art since 1996, the Dana Gallery has an extensive selection of canvases as well as photographs that are sure to leave patrons mesmerized. The gallery displays a wide range of art works, some belong to established international artists while others are creations of budding talents that stay close to home. The place is spacious and encourages patrons to savor and appreciate the art on display. Each piece is unique, some perfect as an object of conversations for your home, while others ideal to become a part of your personal collection.
The Missoula Art Museum, also known as MAM, houses several exhibition spaces that primarily celebrate local, contemporary artists. Also included in the permanent collection is the Contemporary American Indian Art Collection, which features more than 130 works and several talented artists. You will find a library, bookstore, and information lounge to help enhance your learning experience. Tours are free of cost.
Perfectly capturing the contented look of a lazy, sprawled out street cat, the Cattin' Around statue evokes more than a couple of laughs and smiles from cat lovers everywhere. One of several pieces making up the fascinating downtown public art project, the piece is full of character and humor. If you look carefully, you can spot a water bath for birds on the cats back. Artist, Mike Hollern was especially fond of working with welded steel as a base for his sculptures, one that is said to have originated with this particular piece. A well known local sculptor and landscape artist, his work is featured in several public spaces.