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Missoulians are obsessed (OCD?) with health and exercise. Not so much in the way that either of those words can make a person feel bad with the negative connotation they have gained over the last two decades, but in a way that is part of an everyday lifestyle. We aren't walking because it makes us healthy, we are walking because it makes us feel good. If you happen to enjoy the fewer emissions you are adding to the valley air as well, then you've also found a bonus to alternative means of transportation [read: legs].
For those of you out there that find walking to be a bit on the boring side, or it reminds you far too much of trudging slowly down the aisle waiting to meet the cashier, then maybe running is your thing. Whether running or walking, Missoula has plenty of open space to accommodate with its parks every couple of blocks, its river trail system, or the many walking/running paths in the Rattlesnake Wilderness Area or Pattee Canyon. For a more thorough exploration of the trails around town, check out the Hike/Bike/Run website, or explore out quick guide below.
A quaint trail system running along the Clark Fork River through town and up into Hellgate Canyon. A great venue for runners, walkers, bikers & horse riders alike along a well maintained and level trail. A great way to get through town while avoiding traffic that is only 2.5 miles in length. As an added bonus, the western end of the trail drops you off only a couple of blocks from the Bayern Brewery on Montana Street and Russell. See a map...
Roughly two miles in length, this river trail runs along then northern end of the Clark Fork River (same side as downtown Missoula) and has plenty of access and parking locations along the way. No elevation gain, and always an easy way to make your way across town, this trail is accessible for people of all ages and runs right along Caras Park where you might find some event or other taking place. Check it out!
Culturally alive and plenty of space to go wandering. If you happen to be in the downtown area during the late spring - early fall months you can catch the Farmer's Market at the north end of Higgins next to the Xs, or the People's Market only a block south. If you don't feel like heading out onto the trails, downtown can offer a nice variety of things to do while still using your legs to get around. As an added touch, you have very little distance to go should your belly start rumblin' for food or your tongue spirits.
42 acres of treed in bliss along the lower end of the Rattlesnake Creek. Always populated with people, and plenty of benches for sitting and enjoying the beautiful day and surroundings. Very easily accessible along Greenough Drive just past the underpass a little north and east of downtown. The primary trial stretches for roughly one mile, is paved and circles the park following the creek for part of the way. For something more rustic, head off onto one of the many unpaved trails on foot, because the bikes have to be left behind. Take a look.
Feeling like being around people you don't know? The University of Montana campus is a wonderful way to see what Missoula has to offer in the way of higher education, as well as a historical trip in itself. Plenty of trees and paved walkways make for a pleasant time wandering around the many buildings, and large quantities of benches will give you a place to kick up your feet for awhile and watch the day move along. Need directions?
A local favorite spot since the 1930s when the first picnic facilities were constructed. Named after David Pattee, an early Bitterroot Valley settler and Missoula businessman, the area sports plenty of trails for foot, bike, horse or X-country skiing. If you happen to be looking for more to do than just walk or hike, you can bring a folf disc along and try out the 18-hole disc golf course as well. Look into it.
60,000 acres of wilderness enjoyment at the doorstep of everybody who lives in, passes through or stops in to Missoula. Host to a variety of hiking, biking, running, walking and horse riding trails, there is also plenty of opportunity for backpacking as well as hunting, fishing and camping once you've reached the three-mile boundary which places you outside of the South Zone. Despite the name, there have been no sightings of rattlesnakes in the area. On the other hand, there are beaver, deer, elk, mountain goats and black bears as well as more than 40 bird species. See the map.
All sorts of art and sculptures are spread out throughout Missoula; primarily in the downtown and historic districts of town and spreading out a small distance from there. The Missoula Downtown Association (MDA) has a site that details these local art works in more depth, as well as offering you a downloadable map in .pdf format.
A local business dedicated to the walkers and runners in town. Actively seeking to make your life better with running clubs and more. Find them downtown.
The work of a group of locals (all dedicated runners) who love the beauty of Missoula and wish to bring other runners here to bask in its splendor. All marathons: traditional, half-marathon and kid's marathon are fairly level and end in downtown Missoula.
"A non-profit, member-driven organization created to improve the safety, health and enjoyment of the Five Valley area by promoting and enhancing bicycling and walking for everyday transportation and recreation."
"A program designed to help local businesses, institutions and individuals address transportation issues within the Missoula community. It is all a way of reducing traffic and improving air quality while saving everyone time and money."
Actively holding races, group runs and clinics in Missoula.
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