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Best Outdoor Activities in Missoula

, 6 Options Found

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.

Set in the beautiful Pattee Canyon, Pattee Canyon Recreation Area is excellent for a fun day out. This picnic spot offers stunning panoramic views of the Montana mountains in the distance and the Lolo national forest. The free picnic spots that are available during the summer are the perfect starting point for your hiking, trekking or biking excursions. Cross-country skiing is available during the winter months for adventure enthusiasts.

Montana Snowbowl is the perfect place for all snowboarding enthusiasts who can enjoy skiing, lodging and countless outdoor recreation options all at one spot. It features different slopes that would please every visitor. High altitude and 25 feet of yearly snowfall are the reasons for its immense popularity.

One of the mightiest rivers of the state, the Clark Fork River stretches for more than 300 miles (482 kilometers). The meandering water body flows through the heart of Missoula offering outdoor enthusiasts plenty of opportunities to explore its waters and adjoining wilderness. The river is a paradise for fly fishing, and it's also home to the popular Brennan's Wave, a kayaking heaven. Lined with towering trees and glistering with sunshine, the river's beauty is best enjoyed atop the many observation decks built along its banks.

The pristine Blue Mountain has a dense network of trails to delight outdoor enthusiasts. The region is covered in a verdant carpet and the wilderness is lined with towering trees; meandering streams and picturesque ponds can be seen all around. Blue Mountain Trail is perfect for a hike, and certain areas of the trail can also be explored on horseback. ATVs are permitted on certain sections of the trail, and you can get your bicycles as well. There are lookout points across the trail to soak in views of the scenery.

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