Discovering Missoula Montana: The Gateway to Glacier National Park


Missoula, Montana, is located in Western Montana. It is famed for its incredible beauty and outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and skiing. This city offers a unique art, culture, history, and entertainment mix. Nature lovers and outdoor adventurers love it here. Nearby national forests give visitors access to stunning mountainous views.

Missoula has over a dozen microbreweries offering craft beers exclusive to the area. The charming downtown area features buildings dating back to the 1800s.

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation houses one of America’s largest freshwater aquariums. Its live species include the unique Yellowstone cutthroat trout.

Did you know that several movies were filmed in Missoula? A River Runs Through It is one of Robert Redford’s best films. It portrays the life of a family living along Montana rivers during the early 20th century.

Missoula’s history is so exciting it could be its own HBO series!

History of Missoula

It all started with the Salish people’s prehistoric land, “Nemissoolatakoo,” meaning “place of cold, clear water.” In 1860, homesteaders arrived, and in 1883, the Northern Pacific Railway made it an established town. It rapidly grew and developed with lumber mills, mining, and the University of Montana in 1893. Also, Lewis and Clark’s expedition intersected with Missoula.

During World War II, Missoula helped train soldiers for European invasion campaigns. The Missoula Mercantile Company was one of Montana’s largest general stores. The University of Montana shaped Missoula’s identity through its academic programs in forestry research and journalism.

Missoula is home to many beautiful landmarks like Caras Park and Rattlesnake National Recreation Area. You can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and fishing in nearby parks with snow-covered peaks in winter.

The city is renowned for being progressive. Recently, tensions arose due to allegations about sexual assault cases featured in Jon Krakauer’s book, “Missoula: Rape and Justice System in a College Town.” Community members strive to make it a better place for all.

Geography and Climate of Missoula

Explore the location, topography, and climate of Missoula to understand how they can affect your experience living or traveling there. Each element contributes to the unique character of this Montana city, from its mountainous surroundings to its seasonal weather patterns.

Location and Topography of Missoula

Missoula, situated in the western part of Montana, is surrounded by mountains. Its topography showcases a series of parallel ridges and narrow valleys formed by glacial activity during the last Ice Age.

Visitors to Missoula can take a scenic drive along Highway 12 to enjoy the stunning views of nearby mountain ranges. They can also explore the many hiking trails available in Rattlesnake National Recreation Area or Mount Sentinel.

The Clark Fork River runs through the city center, providing a picturesque setting for outdoor recreational activities such as fishing, kayaking, rafting, and swimming.

Missoula’s location and scenery offer unparalleled beauty in Montana, with plenty of outdoor activities, such as hiking and skiing, for visitors to appreciate.

Night time photo of downtown Missoula's famous oxford Cafe

Climate of Missoula

Let me tell you about Missoula’s weather – it’s quite the rollercoaster! We’ve got scorching summers and chilly winters, with temperatures swinging from a nippy -3°C to a toasty 27°C throughout the year. January will have you bundled up like a burrito, while July might tempt you to live in your swimsuit!

We get about 14 inches of rain annually, mostly in late spring and early summer. It’s just enough to keep things green, but we’ve had our fair share of dry spells too. When drought hits, we Missoulians get creative – water conservation becomes our middle name, and we’ve all become experts at drought-resistant gardening!

Now, if you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you’re in for a treat! Missoula is a playground for hikers, skiers, and boating fanatics. And get this – folks from hotter regions flock here to cool off. It’s like we’re running a summer escape program!

But here’s the thing – we’re nestled in some beautiful, but fire-prone forests. We take wildfire safety seriously around here. So if you’re visiting, just remember: no accidental Smokey the Bear impressions, okay? We like our forests intact and our homes un-charred.

So, come on over to Missoula! Soak in the beauty, embrace the adventure, and maybe pack both sunscreen and a parka – you never know what Mother Nature has in store. Just remember to play it safe and respect our local environment. After all, the only heat we want you feeling is from our warm welcome!

Oh, and don’t sweat the demographics – the only stat that really matters is how quickly you can zip up that jacket when the wind picks up!

Caras Park Missoula Montana
Caras Park

Demographics of Missoula

To better understand Missoula’s demographics, we present you with an insight into its population and racial and ethnic diversity. Discover how these sub-sections provide valuable information to help you gain an understanding of the city and its people.

Population of Missoula

Missoula, located in Montana, USA, is known for its scenic views, parks and diverse communities.

The 2020 U.S. Census reveals a population of 75,516 people. To understand Missoula’s population better, we present the following table of race/ethnicity, age groups and gender distribution:

Native American4.4%

The largest age group in Missoula is 20-—to 29-year-olds, making up 14.8% of the population. Plus, Missoula has a higher percentage of Native Americans than Montana in general.

Visit our website for the latest news and insights about Missoula’s demographics. Don’t miss out on any updates that might affect your decision to live or start a business in the area!

Missoula may be mainly white, but let’s applaud the few people of color for adding some flavor to this town.

Racial and Ethnic Diversity of Missoula

Missoula is home to a multicultural population. Let’s take a peek at the demographics with real figures and facts.

A Racial & Ethnic Diversity Table:

American Indian/Alaska Native2.9%
Two or more races2.6%
Black/African American1%
Missoula Demographic Details

Missoula has a wide array of minorities, including African Americans and Latinos. No matter the background, all Missoulians share warmth and hospitality.

Don’t miss out on the diverse cultural events around town! Celebrate different cultures and have fun while learning. Missoula’s economy is like a rollercoaster, always making you dizzy.

Economy of Missoula

To understand the economy of Missoula and discover potential opportunities, dive into major industries and available employment opportunities in this region. The major industries in Missoula and employment opportunities will help you comprehend the market and find suitable jobs.

Major Industries in Missoula

Missoula – located in Western Montana – boasts a diverse economy. Its base is composed of various sectors driving growth and development.

The Healthcare industry is booming. St. Patrick’s Hospital and Providence Medical Group are some of the top-rated healthcare facilities.

Tech-based startups are sprouting due to the innovative ecosystem.

Tourism is also a major income source; its natural beauty attracts visitors for activities like skiing, hiking and backpacking.

Financial services provide support for local businesses and inject investments into the community.
Plus, businesses are implementing eco-friendly strategies and meeting global sustainability goals.

Data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (2019) shows that Missoula’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) stands at $7.1 billion.
This trend is expected to keep up with job-creating sustainable businesses and incoming investments.

So if you’re looking for a job in Missoula, know that the economy is doing alright!

Employment Opportunities in Missoula

Missoula, Montana, is an urban center on the rise! It has numerous job openings to pick from. One can find work in the Government, Healthcare, the University of Montana, the Tech industry, and the Hospitality sector. There are memorable seasonal gigs like ski slopes, river rafts, trail guides, and bear relocation centers! Newcomers should use Job Services Montana and to find employment leads. Missoula’s economy prospers not from illness but because of its stunning views!

A vintage steam locomotive with the number 7 on its front stands idle on railway tracks, surrounded by wooden platforms and structures against a backdrop of misty mountains and autumnal trees.
Historic Train Adventure at Fort Missoula

Tourism in Missoula

To explore tourism in Missoula, you’ll want to know about the tourist attractions and outdoor recreation. That’s where we come in. We’ll guide you through the must-see tourist attractions and outdoor recreation activities you can enjoy.

A historic brick building at Fort Missoula, partially obscured by lush green trees and bushes, with a well-maintained sidewalk and street in the foreground under a clear blue sky.
Fort Missoula Historical Museum

Tourist Attractions in Missoula

Missoula’s cultural heritage is something to behold, surrounded by mountains and blessed with scenic beauty. It’s a must-see for tourists from across the world! Here are some top spots to check out when in Missoula:

  1. Check out the University of Montana. Its picturesque campus and stunning architecture will leave you in awe. Experience the vibrant student life, attend various events, and learn more about Montana’s academic programs.
  2. Visit the Missoula Art Museum. See contemporary exhibitions from emerging and established artists.
  3. Take in nature at Rattlesnake National Recreation Area. Hike, bike, or fish along Rattlesnake Creek among Ponderosa Pines. Then, go for a natural hot spring soak.
  4. Get a glimpse of American history at Fort Missoula. Once home to an active military installation from 1877 until the end of World War II. One of General Sherman’s cavalry outfits before the Civil War.
  5. Take a trip back in time at the Western Montana Aviation Museum. View vintage planes up close, get trained by aviation veterans and use historical record in-flight simulators.
  6. Grab your favorite stogie at Big Sky Cigar. Every stick is hand-selected by specialists.

Nearby is Glacier National Park. Millions flock here each season for a glimpse of mesmerizing glaciers. Adventure sports like rafting and kayaking near Clark Fork River are also popular. There’s lodging to suit all budgets, including luxurious hotels, hostels, camping grounds, and Spanish villas!

Entrance to Fort Missoula Historic District featuring a stone and timber gateway with a large sign and a bronze statue of a soldier, set against a backdrop of green fields and rolling hills under a clear blue sky.
Fort Missoula Historic District:

Outdoor Recreation in Missoula

Missoula’s outdoor activities are aplenty, boasting breathtaking scenery. People come to the area all year round to get their fix of nature. Outdoor lovers can participate in various sports, like hiking, mountain biking, and fishing!

Here are five great Missoula experiences:

  • Discover the trails at Rattlesnake National Recreation Area.
  • Visit Seeley Lake for some boating and fishing.
  • Float down the Clark Fork River in a kayak or inner tube.
  • Scale Kootenai Canyon’s rock-climbing routes.
  • Golf with friends at one of Missoula’s courses.

Over 200 species of birds live in the area, delighting bird watchers. Local breweries offer tours for those 21 and older.

The city is also known for President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1912 visit, where he came to recuperate after being shot by John Schrank during a speech he gave in Milwaukee.

Education in Missoula

To learn more about the education system in Missoula, Montana, this section focuses on the different options available for you. If you’re interested in public schooling, we have an overview of the schools in the area. Additionally, we will take a look at higher education opportunities in Missoula.

Public Schools in Missoula

Missoula’s public schools boast state-of-the-art facilities and modern teaching techniques. They cater to various demographics, prioritizing student-centered learning and incorporating art and STEM programs. Mental well-being is also a priority, with counseling services and anti-bullying initiatives in place. Teachers receive regular training to ensure quality education that meets national standards.

Extracurricular activities are available, such as sports teams, music clubs, and debate teams. These offer students the chance to hone their leadership skills and build relationships. Adult education classes are also provided – helping the community members advance their education.

Christine was one of the many success stories from Missoula’s public school system. Despite financial difficulties, she got an excellent education from her local high school. She went on to attend a top-tier university after receiving multiple scholarships. She credits her success to the quality of education the public schools provide.

Higher Education in Missoula

Missoula’s academic scene offers a variety of higher education choices for learners wanting intellectual growth. The city has the University of Montana, a public research school with over 11,000 students. Rocky Mountain College and The University of Providence, private institutions are also based here. They provide special courses such as law, health sciences, engineering and business administration. Plus, the city’s community college provides economical two-year degree programs to get ready for four-year programs or employment.

The University of Montana has a large library system with 1 million volumes and digital resources. It also has modern research centers like the Center for Structural and Functional Neuroscience and Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Research Center. Rocky Mountain College offers one-of-a-kind academic courses like Environmental Management and Health and Human Performance Studies.

Forbes lists Missoula as one of America’s top college towns due to its low-priced living and good education options. Despite lacking a top-notch education system, at least gym memberships are affordable here!

Health and Wellness in Missoula

To explore Health and Wellness in Missoula with a focus on solutions, delve into the following sub-sections: Healthcare Facilities in Missoula and fitness and Wellness Centers in Missoula. These resources enable you to care for your physical and mental well-being in a welcoming and high-quality environment.

Healthcare Facilities in Missoula

Missoula’s Medical Infrastructure is top-notch! It consists of:

  • St Patrick Hospital & Health Sciences Center, providing emergency care, surgeries and behavioral health services.
  • Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, renowned for cardiac care and advanced imaging technology.
  • Community Medical Center, offering a range of medical services from general surgery to women’s health.
  • Missoula Bone & Joint, an orthopedic center with high-quality joint replacement surgeries and other treatments.
  • Montana Spine & Pain Center, specializing in pain management, chronic pain management and specialized procedures.
  • Partnership Health Center, dedicated to providing affordable primary care, behavioral health, dental healthcare access and supportive services.

Plus, Montana VA Healthcare System offers a Prosthetics Team specializing in prostheses for veterans with limb loss.

These institutions have modern technology, state-of-the-art equipment, and highly trained staff. A survey showed Missoula’s doctors’ proficiency rating is 78%. They undergo rigorous training programs to stay up-to-date on the latest treatment options.

One resident’s life was saved when she developed a rare neurological condition and was rushed to Community Medical Centre. They correctly diagnosed her ailment before transferring her to St. Patrick’s Hospital for specialized treatment planning.

So, if you’re looking to get fit, check out Missoula’s fitness and wellness centers to get your endorphins pumping!

Missoula Kayaker's on the clark fork river missoula mt
Brennans Wave Missoula Mt

Fitness and Wellness Centers in Missoula

Missoula offers a plethora of choices for Fitness and Wellness Centers. For instance:

  • Peak Health and Fitness Center – Offers personalized training programs with modern equipment such as an indoor track, Olympic lifting platforms, and group fitness classes.
  • Yoga Hive – Provides accessible yoga classes to promote mental and physical wellness, suitable for all levels.
  • City Life Community Center – A non-profit organization providing affordable gym memberships and fitness classes like boxing, HIIT, Zumba, and more.
  • Spirit at Play Wellness Center – A holistic center with alternative healthcare services, such as acupuncture, massage therapy, nutrition counseling, and yoga/meditation classes.

Don’t miss out on these opportunities to stay active and healthy in Missoula. Plus, enjoy nature with the many local trails and parks. Sign up for a new class/membership today! Take care of yourself even when having fun and partying.

Culture and Entertainment in Missoula

To explore the culture and entertainment scene in Missoula, Montana, you need to indulge in the Arts and Culture and vibrant Music and Nightlife. The former offers a glimpse into the local art and theatre, and the latter is an opportunity to enjoy Missoula’s bustling music and nightlife scene. Let’s dive in!

Arts and Culture in Missoula

Missoula’s arts and culture scene is alive and well! With local galleries, theatres, and museums – showcasing work from established and emerging artists – you’ll find something to explore.

The Montana Museum of Art and Culture houses art from around the world and exhibits Montana’s culture and history.

The city also hosts events year-round, like music festivals and film screenings. The annual film festival brings filmmakers from all over the globe, and it’s impossible not to be swept up in the excitement!

From an evening at a theatre to exploring one of the museums to visiting during art celebrations – every experience is sure to be unforgettable. Missoula’s music scene is so vibrant, even the grizzly bears come out of hibernation to catch a show! So, plan your visit today and experience Missoula’s Arts & Culture scene firsthand!

Music and Nightlife in Missoula

In Missoula, the music and nightlife scene is alive and kicking! Venues offer up a wide range of genres – from rock to jazz. Local performers give live gigs, while bars and clubs provide drinks and socializing.

For those wanting a less rowdy atmosphere, there are quieter spots for a more chilled evening. Missoula also hosts outdoor concerts and music festivals like Travelers’ Rest, which bring in renowned national acts. Experience this unique blend of culture and entertainment that Missoula has to offer!

Pro Tip: Plan ahead and check local event calendars to make sure you don’t miss any must-see performances or events. Missoula may be small, but it packs a punch like no other – Conor McGregor included!


Missoula, Montana is a special place. There’s scenic beauty and outdoor activities ideal for adventurers. Arts and heritage lovers enjoy its vibrant cultural scene and rich history. It’s no surprise why people come back again and again.

Missoula has something for everyone. There are hiking trails, art museums, fishing spots, and breweries. The locals are very friendly and welcoming! Plus, university students create diversity and vibrancy.

It’s a summer destination with pleasant weather. But winter sports lovers can also find their thrill at nearby ski resorts, like Snowbowl Ski Resort.

As a lifelong resident of Missoula, Montana, I’ve developed a deep understanding and appreciation for our city’s rich history, vibrant activities, and unique cultural landmarks.

Growing up amidst the breathtaking landscapes and the welcoming community has given me firsthand insights into the best local spots and hidden gems.

From exploring the historic downtown to hiking in the mountains, Missoula offers a perfect blend of outdoor adventure and cultural experiences.

I’m excited to share my personal experiences and insider knowledge to help you discover Missoula’s true essence.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Missoula, Montana?

A: Missoula, Montana, is a city located in western Montana in the United States.

Q: What are the popular tourist attractions in Missoula, Montana?

A: Some of the popular tourist attractions in Missoula, Montana, include the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Missoula Art Museum, and the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas.

Q: What is the weather like in Missoula, Montana?

A: Missoula Montana experiences four seasons, with cold winters and warm summers. Temperatures can range from below freezing in the winter to over 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer months.

Q: What is the main industry in Missoula, Montana?

A: The main industry in Missoula, Montana, is healthcare, followed by education and technology.

Q: How do I get to Missoula, Montana?

A: Missoula, Montana, can be reached by plane through the Missoula International Airport or by car via major highways such as I-90.

Q: Is Missoula Montana a good place to live?

A: Missoula Montana is considered a great place to live by many due to its beautiful scenery, outdoor recreation opportunities, and vibrant arts and culture scene.

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