Missoula Travel Guide

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Missoula, the aptly nicknamed Garden City, is the second largest in all of Montana. With over 400 acres of city parkland filled with lush plant species, trees, and flowers, and over 3,300 acres of conservation lands, this city features way more than just gardens.


Originally inhabited by the Salish , Missoula only became “westernized” in 1860 when a trading post was opened there by Francis Worden and C.P. Higgins. Logging was a huge industry in the area until the 1970s, when problems with the economy ruined it. Only then did tourism become important. Missoula is located in the Golden Triangle of fly-fishing; skiing, hunting, hiking, biking, and camping are also popular activities.

Missoula is an excellent vacation destination for families and people on a budget. There are tons entertaining attractions that you don’t need money to visit, and there are plenty of activities that both young and old can enjoy and appreciate.

Outdoor Activities

Biking is hugely popular in Missoula due to the fact that the biggest cycling organization in North America, Adventure Cycling Association, has its headquarters in the city. Bike through the city streets or take advantage of the 22 miles of park trails weaving through beautiful, natural landscapes and gardens. Best of all, it’s free!

The trails can also be enjoyed walking. Many locals actually walk and bike them as their commute to work. Fly-fishing and hunting are common on the outskirts of the city as well, but you must pay for a permit and stay within the designated boundaries.

Hiking and camping can be enjoyed in the Rattlesnake National Recreation Center and the Rattlesnake Wilderness.

City Attractions

Missoula has 2 large water parks, including Splash Montana and youth and adult recreation programs. It is home to the International Wildlife Film Festival, which is the main animal-focused film festival in the world, in addition to the Missoula Art Museum. The museum features a nice collection of contemporary art, tours, lectures, and art classes. There is no entrance fee either.


Public transportation is provided by Mountain Line Public Transportation. It offers 12 bus routes through the city which make getting from place to place much easier. Sometimes they arrive late, but overall it’s a good system. Another way to get around is to simply take the biking and walking trails, there are many bike rental places in Missoula.


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