25 Things to Do

  1. Visit A Carousel for Missoula and Dragon Hollow

    The Carousel

    A Carousel for Missoula

    A Carousel for Missoula, a kid's paradise, is one of the first fully hand-carved carousels to be built in the United States since the Great Depression. From little more than dreams, hard work and love, a carousel was created by hundreds of volunteers. The Carousel has 38 horses and two chariots. The chariots allow easy access for wheelchairs; people with disabilities are always welcome to ride free on the Carousel.

    101 Carousel Drive
    Missoula, MT 59802
    Phone: 406-549-8382
    Hours of Operation:
    June through August - 11a.m. to 7p.m.
    September through May - 11a.m. to 5:30p.m.

    Dragon Hollow

    Dragons Hollow

    Dragons Hollow is a magical play land adjacent to A Carousel for Missoula. Kids will go wild over this diverse play land. It was the combined effort of artists and consultants from Leather's and Associates, Inc., a playground architectural in Ithaca, New York, and local play area experts-the students of many local grade schools.

    1 Caras Park
    Missoula, MT 59806
    406-549-8382
    Open to the public from dawn to dusk each day.
    There is no charge to use the play area.

  2. Check out the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula

    Fort Missoula

    Historical Museum at Fort Missoula

    The Historical Museum at Fort Missoula was established by community effort in 1975 to save what remained of original Fort Missoula, and to interpret the area's history. The museum is located on 32 acres in the heart of historic Fort Missoula. Its collection includes 24,000 objects including 13 historic structures. As a major historical museum in Western Montana, the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula provides a valuable educational and cultural experience for the community and entire region. The museum's indoor galleries contain both permanent and changing exhibits that deal with topics of interest from the period of early exploration to modern times.

    Building 322, Fort Missoula
    Missoula, MT 59804
    Phone: 406-728-3476
    Hours:
    Summer (Memorial Day-Labor Day):
    Monday - Saturday: 10:00am - 5:00pm
    Sunday: 12:00pm - 5:00pm

    Winter (Labor Day-Memorial Day):
    Tuesday - Sunday: 12:00pm - 5:00pm

  3. Visit the University of Montana Campus

    Located at the heart of western Montana’s stunning natural landscape, UM is a magnet not only for top-notch teachers and researchers, but also for students from across the country and around the globe. Founded in 1893 in the burgeoning pioneer town of Missoula, less than 90 years after Lewis and Clark and their Corps of Discovery explored the area. The U is practically a city within a city – with its own eateries, stores, medical facilities, banking and postal services, and zip code – UM has an increasingly diverse population and rich culture.

    "Most scenic campus in America"
    –Rolling Stone Magazine

    Phone: 406- 243-0211
    32 Campus Drive
    Missoula, MT 59812

  4. Drive through the National Bison Range

    The National Bison Range is home to about 400 American Bison and many other wildlife including elk, white-tail and mule deer, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, coyotes, black bears and over 200 species of birds, including Eagles. Founded in 1908, this 18,000 plus acre refuge is one of the oldest in the nation. Stop at the Visitor's Center on your way in and check out the interactive map showing where you can expect to see these majestic beasts on that particular day. Get some great advice and facts from the knowledgeable park rangers and buy a map or book in the book store. After you've learned about the history of the bison, head out on one of two driving loops or four walking trails. Stay on the appointed routes and do not approach the bison, they are wild animals after all!

    Phone: 406-644-2211
    58355 Bison Range Road
    Moiese, MT  59824

    Winter Hours:
    Visitor Center 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays; closed weekends and holidays.
    Winter Drive open daily from 7 a.m. to dark (weather and road conditions permitting)

    Summer Hours:
    Visitor Center open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends and holidays.
    Red Sleep Mountain Drive open daily 7 a.m.; start drive by 6 p.m. to finish before dark

  5. Spend a day in the local forests

    One of the greatest things about Missoula is the proximity of hikable wilderness. With a car you can reach deep woods in 5 minutes, swimming lakes in 20 and serene rivers in 10. Choose from a more difficult hike or a easy stroll through Montana's beautiful nature.

    A hike to the "M" is a favorite Missoula outing for people of all ages. After just a few minutes on the trail, you begin to get a birds'-eye view of the University of Montana. As you gain elevation, the view expands to include all of Missoula, the valley, the Clark Fork River and distant mountains.

    While the trail is less than a mile long, the hike can be quite strenuous, depending on how quickly you cover this distance. You'll climb a steep, zigzag path with 11 switchbacks and gain 620 feet in elevation. Many local athletes and fitness buffs run the "M" trail as a regular part of their regimen.

    Check out our hiking page for more details.

  6. Follow the Lewis & Clark Trail

    Follow in the footsteps of the early explorers along US Highway 12 from Missoula, MT to Lewiston, ID. As you follow the same route that Lewis and Clark traveled, marvel in the rugged wilderness that the Corps of Discovery had to hack their way through. Consisting of thick timber and steep mountain climbs, this was by far the most difficult passage for the Corps. Stop for a picnic at Traveler's Rest where the expedition camped from September 9 through 12, 1805 and again on their return trip June 30 through July 3, 1806. There is an interpretive sign near the junction of highways 93 and 12. Soak your bones at Lolo Hot Springs where the group camped and bathed on September 13, 1805 and June 29, 1806 and check out Howard Creek, just 18.5 miles west of Lolo on Highway 12. A half mile loop includes part of the original trail. There are interpretive signs about the expedition and Nez Perce and Salish tribes.

    Traveler's Rest State Park

    Phone: 406-273-4253
    6550 Mormon Creek Rd
    Lolo, MT 59847

  7. Learn about the evolution of aerial firefighting at the Smokejumper Center

    Rookie class of 99

    Smokejumpers are highly trained specialists who parachute into remote areas of national forests to fight the spread of wildfires. The nation's largest training base for smokejumpers is located in Missoula. The visitor center at the depot offers updated displays, dioramas and videos related to fire suppression. Guided tours are given of the parachute loft and training facilities. Open Memorial Day through Labor Day 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Duration of tour 45 minutes to an hour. Minimum time to visit depot without tour: 20 minutes. Admission free, donations accepted.

    Aerial Fire Depot and Smokejumper Center

    Phone: 406-329-4934
    5765 West Broadway Street
    Missoula, MT 59808
    Take Airway Boulevard Exit and follow signs to the Smokejumper Base located 1/2 mile west of the airport.

  8. Check out local theater

    Missoula has an abundance of talented stage performers. From the Missoula Children's Theater to the Hamilton Players, you will find something for everyone's taste in theater.

    Missoula Children's Theater

    Phone 406-728-1911
    200 North Adams St.
    Missoula, MT 59802

    University Theater

    Phone: 406-243-2853
    School of Fine Arts
    32 Campus Drive
    The University of Montana
    Missoula, MT 59812

    Hamilton Players

    Phone: 406-375-9050
    100 Ricketts Road
    Hamilton, MT 59840
    Website

  9. Relax in a natural hot springs

    Missoula is surrounded by natural hot springs; some commercialized, some still in their natural state. Spend a day at Lolo Hot Springs swimming in their outdoor pool and soaking in the indoor or outdoor hot pools. Complete with hotel, restaurant and bar, and surrounded by hundreds of miles of trails for hiking, snowmobiling or horseback riding you can make a whole vacation out of the place!

    Lolo Hot Springs

    Phone: 406-273-2290
    38500 W. Highway 12,
    Lolo, MT 59847

  10. Shop, Montana style

    Southgate Mall - Missoula MT

    In Missoula we have lots of choices for the shopper in all of us. Visit our downtown shops with lots of uniquely Missoula products, or spend a day in Southgate Mall, where you can find all the contemporary looks at great prices. Remember Montana has no sales tax!

  11. Explore Garnet Ghost Town

    Montana's most intact ghost town was never built to last. Garnet endures along with the spirits of the rugged gold miners and their families who carved a community in the heart of the Garnet Mountain Range at the end of the nineteenth century. In 1898, some 1,000 people knew Garnet as home.

    Garnet is open year-round. Wheeled vehicles are allowed on the road from May 1 through January 1. Please note that visitors may want to park in the designated parking lots and ski or snowmobile to the town instead of driving on snow-bound roads in late fall. In winter, the tour to Garnet is a popular snowmobile and cross-country ski trip.

    Garnet Ghost Town

    Visitor Center Hours:
    Summer: daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Winter: weekends from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    $3 a person over 12 years of age. The BLM uses entrance fees to help protect, preserve and interpret Garnet Ghost Town.

    From MT Hwy 200, turn south at the Garnet Range Road located between mile markers 22 and 23, about 30 miles east of Missoula.

  12. Take a historical walking tour of Downtown Missoula

    Missoula has one of the state’s most extensive listing of properties and places on the National Register of Historic Places. A walk through downtown will un-earth over a dozen well preserved buildings and many more interesting artifacts from days gone by. From the Missoula County Courthouse, finished in 1910, to the Palace Hotel, 1909, Missoula is loaded with interesting buildings, still painted with billboards advertising businesses long since gone.

    Historical Walking Tour Guide

  13. Visit a state park

    Council Grove State Park

    Along the Clark Fork River, seven miles west of Missoula on Mullan Road. Historical area where Gov. Isaac Stevens and members of the Salish and Kootenai Tribes signed the Hellgate Treaty of 1855. Picnic and recreational site. No fee. Day use only.

    Directions: Council Grove State Park is located from Missoula on I-90 at Reserve Street Exit, 2 miles south on Reserve Street, then 10 miles west on Mullan Road.

    Frenchtown Pond State Park

    This five-acre, spring-fed lake has a maximum depth of about ten feet. A variety of fish-sunfish, bass and bullhead provide fair catches during the summer. Frenchtown Pond is also a favorite place to practice boardsailing, kayaking, canoeing, and snorkeling.

    Directions: Frenchtown Pond State Park is located 15 miles west of Missoula on I-90 at Frenchtown exit, then 1 mile west on Frontage Road.

    Beavertaill Hill State Park

    This area has one-half mile of Clark Fork frontage that provides fishing and floating opportunities. Boating is carry-in only. There are 28 developed campsites and tipi rentals. There is a one-hour walking nature trail through a thick canopy of cottonwoods.

    Directions: Beavertail Hill State Park is located 26 miles southeast of Missoula on I-90 to Beavertail Hill exit #130, then .25 mile south on county road.

    Travelers' Rest State Park

    Located at a historic and contemporary crossroads, Travelers' Rest State Park is a place where visitors can say with certainty that they are walking in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark. The Park is at the core of a campsite used by the Corps of Discovery from September 9 - 11, 1805 and again from June 30 - July 3, 1806.

    Directions:The park is located just south of Lolo, 1/2 mile west of Lolo on US Highway 12.

  14. Drink some local brew

    Do you favor a frosty mug of beer on the warm summer days, and a heart-warming porter or stout in the dead of winter? Then you'll find yourself at home in Missoula with our three local, and distinctly different breweries that serve up everything from traditional English Ales, to authentic German Lagers, to the ever popular hemp infused brews that populate our fair city. Know that in Missoula, as a lover of beer, you have no shortage of delicious options, and will never be alone here where the beer flows as steady as the Clark Fork River. However, you can't get very far without knowing your options.

    Check out our local brewery page for more information.

  15. Spend a day on the greens

    With six golf courses in the immediate Missoula area and more scattered all around us, you will definitely be able to find a course to meet your abilities. Choose from 9 or full 18-hole courses, then settle down for some drinks and beautiful sunsets after the game.

    Canyon River Golf Community

    18 holes over 6,966 yards with a par of 72
    1268 Bandmann Trail
    Missoula, MT 59802
    (406) 721-0222

    The Ranch Club

    18 holes over 7,020 yards with a par of 72
    8501 Ranch Club Rd
    Missoula, MT 59808-5423
    (406) 532-1000

    Highlands Golf Club

    9 holes over 2,900 yards with a par of 34
    102 Ben Hogan Dr
    Missoula, MT 59803-2423
    (406) 728-7360

    University of Montana Golf Course

    9 holes over 3,086 yards with a par of 35
    515 South Ave W
    Missoula, MT 59801
    (406) 728-8629

    Larchmont Golf Course

    18 holes over 7,093 yards with a par of 72
    3200 Old Fort Road
    Missoula, MT 59801
    (406) 721-4416

    Linda Vista Golf Course

    9 holes over 1,745 yards with a par of 29
    4915 Lower Miller Creek Rd
    Missoula, MT 59803-9659
    (406) 251-3655

    King Ranch Golf Course

    18 holes over 6,284 yards with a par of 70
    17775 Mullan Rd
    Frenchtown, MT 59834-9590
    Phone: 406-626-4000

    Double Arrow Resort

    18 holes
    Seeley Lake, MT
    Phone: 406-677-3247

  16. Ride a mountain bike

    There is nothing quite like enjoying the beauty of Montana on a bicycle. Explore the Rattlesnake recreation area or tour the old Hiawatha Rail Trail. Whatever your interests there are more than enough opportunities to get out and ride in Missoula! Whether you brought your own bike or need to rent one, Missoula has a plethora of shops dedicated to bicycling.

    Missoula Bicycle Works

    Bike rentals, sales and information.

    Missoula Bicycle Hangar

    A great little shop located next to Freemo's Pizza on Brooks St. Stop in for a new bike, repairs or superb advice! The guys are friendly and the customer service is outstanding.

  17. Check out local musicians

    There is something every night of the week in this talent-infused city. From acoustic solo performances to legendary rock and rollers, Missoula is the little city with a big night life! One of the best parts of living here is the active night life. The city offers a wide range of live music performances throughout the year. Because of the size of the city compared to other Montana towns, many large music events are held in Missoula including rock concerts and state symphony and choral festivals. Whatever your taste in music is, chances are good Missoula will have a live music event you won't want to miss.

    Check out our events calendar for listings.

  18. Spend an afternoon or evening at Caras Park

    Caras Park has been the site of many exciting events such as:

    • Out to Lunch
    • Downtown ToNight
    • Garden City River Rod
    • International Wildlife Film Festival WildFest
    • Parks & Recreation Kids Fest
    • YMCA Riverbank Run
    • First Night Missoula
    • Garden City BrewFest
    • Hemp Fest
    • GermanFest
    • Concerts by Jewel, Chris Isaak, Los Lobos, Santana, Ziggy Marley and B.B. King

    More info on Caras Park is located on the Missoula Downtown Association's website.

  19. Catch a trophy fish

    The Missoula Area was know to Indians as "Nemissodatakoo," a Flathead Indian term meaning "by or near the cold chilling waters." At the confluence of the Clark Fork, Blackfoot and Bitterroot Rivers, Missoula lives up to its name. Whether you prefer to fish from the banks of the river right in the middle of town or prefer to hire a river guide to make a whole day of your fishing adventure, you will not be disappointed with your catch. Before you set out on any Montana waters, you should always check the fishing regulations or boating regulations for important information, and it's a good idea to stop by a local fishing shop for expert advice.

  20. Show your team spirit at a local game

    Missoula is home to the Montana Grizzlies football, basketball, volleyball and soccer teams, Missoula Maulers junior hockey team, Missoula Osprey pro baseball team, the Missoula Phoenix semi-pro football team, and the Maggots rugby team.

  21. Get cultured at downtown art galleries

    From the Missoula Art Museum (MAM) to the Monte Dolack gallery, Missoula has an eclectic group of artists. Enjoy fine wine and great conversation during First Friday Gallery Night, an open-gallery event that takes place the first Friday of every month in the downtown area, bringing together artists, gallery owners and art enthusiasts for a night out on the town!

  22. Shred some powder

    Skiing in Montana is unlike anywhere else in the United States. Snowbowl, with it's deep, powdery bowls and 2,600 feet of continuous vertical drop is less than a 20 minutes drive from downtown Missoula. There is plenty of skiing for all ability levels, from young and new to old and extreme. Cruise three miles down Montana's longest run or attack over 900 acres of skiable terrain. Test yourself against Montana's best then settle down in the lodge for delicious pizza and a beer from the award-winning Last Run Inn.

    Check out our Skiing section for more info on Missoula area ski hills and cross country skiing areas.

  23. Check out the Montana Natural History Center

    Montana Natural History Center

    The mission of the Montana Natural History Center is to promote and cultivate the appreciation, understanding and stewardship of nature through education. MNHC is a non-profit organization founded in 1991 by a group of educators who had the vision to create a natural history center as a resource for schools and the public. Originally housed on the University of Montana campus, MNHC continued to grow and outgrow its rented space at Fort Missoula. In 2004, MNHC purchased its first home at 120 Hickory Street, at the edge of McCormick Park in the heart of Missoula.

    Phone: 406-327-0405
    120 Hickory St.
    Missoula, MT 59801

  24. Explore the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

    The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is more than just a museum. It's an experience that reveals the beauty, diversity and importance of elk country across North America. With fun, interactive exhibits that teach you about elk, elk country and the role the Elk Foundation plays in conservation, the Foundation is fun for the whole family! You will hear elk bugle, test your knowledge of local wildlife, identify animal's tracks and be able to touch a real elk antler. Packed with trophy elk mounts and information you will learn a lot about Montana conservation efforts during your trip to this wonderful establishment. Those wanting to stretch their legs will enjoy the beautiful, wooded nature trail that winds its way around the 22-acre Elk Foundation property. Watch for the white-tailed deer, turkeys, bald eagles, owls, trout and other wildlife that frequent the property.

    Phone: 800-CALL ELK
    2291 West Broadway
    Missoula, MT 59808

  25. Raft the famous Alberton Gorge

    Montana's premier whitewater is Alberton Gorge, located just minutes from Missoula on the Clark Fork River. The Gorge is a beautiful steep-walled canyon section of the Clark Fork that makes for a perfect hot summer day trip. With class II and III whitewater this is a great trip for beginners and experts alike with lots of splash and plenty of swimming opportunities. The best time of year to raft the river is late June through early August. Plan a trip with a local river guide and take the whole family on a trip that will be remembered forever!

    Check out our rafting page for more details.