Missoula Area Itineraries – A travel guide

View the following Missoula area itineraries. They are created by location and have great options to get you going with planning. If you are traveling towards Idaho or from Idaho on your way to Glacier National Park or Yellowstone, Missoula is a great location to spend about 2-3 days in town and a handful of days out of town on day long excursions. Missoula sits at the confluence of the Clark Fork, Bitterroot, and Blackfoot Rivers. It is also situated at the center of five mountain ranges so traveling in any direction is filled with outdoor activities, cute mountain towns, beauty, and things to do. There are so many things to do depending on your preferences.

Missoula, Montana Mountain Our beautiful town tucked between five mountain ranges in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.

Day One With Kids Stay at your favorite house rental or these accommodations. Wake up at eat breakfast at the Catalyst Cafe or Montana Club and take a morning hike/walk up the Rattlesnake Area. In the afternoon, reserve a family floatilla on the Clark Fork River or go whitewater rafting on the Alberton Gorge of the Clark Fork River (#1 thing to do in the area). The signature trip in this area is the family combo trip on the same whitewater trip. Make reservations to eat dinner MacKenzie River Pizza or Highlander Brewery on your way back into town.

Day Two With Kids Head to Market on Front or The Shack for breakfast, arriving early. Take the kids to Caras Park to watch the kayakers on Brennan’s Wave and let them play at Dragon’s Hallow. When they open, purchase a token to ride the Carousel. Head to Splash Montana to let the kids play at this amazing outdoor water park. Grab a late lunch at Wordens. Reserve in advance a horseback riding trip in the early evening with Adventure Missoula. Stop into El Cazador for some great Mexican food or the Top Hat.

Other options: Sign up for a day long kayak adventure with the family, pack a cooler and head to a city riverside beach to swim, relax, and eat your takeout. Adventure Missoula can suggest some locations for a beach day or other things to do.

Day One Adults Reserve well in advance a stay at Quinns Hot Springs, take the hike 10 minutes from there at Cascade Falls and Campground, packing a lunch to eat in the car on your way to St. Regis Travel Center to shop, and a 1pm half day whitewater trip (#1 thing to do in the area) at Adventure Missoula; located on the river just off I-90 on your way back into Missoula. Head the 30 minutes back into Missoula, stopping to eat at Stone of Accord, Five on Black, or Plonk. Reserve a night out at the Wilma or Top Hat; if you are lucky and have advanced tickets a concert at Kettlehouse Amphitheater.

Day Two Adults Enjoy a morning at Market on Front, Liquid Planet, or Burns St. Bistro drinking coffee and eating great food. If it’s Saturday, don’t miss the downtown markets from 9-1pm. Depending on your style take in the Missoula Art Museum and plethora of galleries and shops downtown or head out on a half day fishing trip with a private guide and relaxing afternoon or morning on the river viewing wildlife and catching legendary trout in one of the fly-fishing capitals of the world, Missoula! If you want to take a beautiful drive, head to Seeley Lake for ice cream and hike to Holland Falls or any other hike along the Blackfoot corridor.

Other options: Rent a cruiser bike and ride along the riverfront trails stopping at points along the way to eat, swim, or take in the view. Missoula is a bike friendly town and has bike lanes while downtown so bikes are not permitted on the sidewalks.

The Clark Fork Valley West to Idaho and NW Route to Glacier Park

This is the area west of Missoula that reaches from Missoula towards Idaho and meanders into Paradise Valley on your way to Glacier National Park. As you leave Missoula heading west, you travel along the beautiful Clark Fork River. You’ll notice the rose-colored cliffs of Alberton Gorge where not to miss family friendly world class whitewater rafting and gorgeous scenic river trips take place right here. The signature trip in this area is the combination whitewater fishing day adventure for families on a raft with a catered lunch and private guide. At St. Regis stop at the travel center to get the best Montana made gifts this side of the divide. Adventure Missoula focuses on fly fishing on the Clark Fork as it gets wide and the fish tend to be larger and the river less busy than the other two rivers out of Missoula. From St. Regis you can go two directions. If you continue on west on I90, before entering Idaho, ride the Hiawatha Trail. If you detour north to Glacier National Park at St. Regis, we suggest reserving in advance a soak at Quinns Hot Springs and checking out the National Bison Range. At Polson, take the scenic route north to Glacier Park on the east side of Flathead Lake so you can take in the views and purchase cherry’s directly from the growers on that side of the lake. Spend about 3 days in Glacier National Park to really take in some history, swim, camp, and hike to some of the most amazing places the wilderness has to offer in beautiful Montana and in the United States.

The Blackfoot Valley Northeast through the Seeley Swan Range and north to Glacier National Park

This is the area Northeast out of Missoula. Some people who love a more wilderness route take this path to Glacier National Park. The Blackfoot River is home to fly fishing and is busy because of that. Head out Hwy 200 to follow the Blackfoot River towards the Clearwater area. Tons of hikes, camping, mountain biking, and fishing can adorn your trip. From here, cut North on Hwy 83 towards beautiful Seeley Lake. Where you have to stop for ice cream at the legendary ice cream shop before hiking to Holland Lake and Holland Falls. Meander on to Swan Lake and if it is more your style, reserve a horseback ride with Swan Mountain Outfitters. Stay overnight at Mountain Lake Lodge as you head toward hiking and recreating in the Bob Marshall Wilderness and on to Bigfork, on to Whitefish, and into Glacier National Park or camp along the north shore of Flathead Lake.

The Bitterroot Valley South of Missoula, charming towns, hiking, historic points and birding towards

Lolo Hot Springs will be your first stop out of Missoula in Lolo, MT. The Bitterroot River features excellent fly fishing depending on season. You’ll view the Bitterroot Mountain range to the west your entire drive and the river along the highway. Stop in Stevensville for food, coffee, shopping, and visit the Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge. There are endless Bed and Breakfast locations along this route and signature breweries. Rock climbing is popular at Kootenai Canyon, Lost Horse, or Mill Creek. Stay overnight and camp at Lake Como to take in the view of Trappers Peak and do some hiking.

We hope these suggestions get you going to enjoy Missoula’s outdoor playland and amenities. Please call or visit www.adventuremissoula.com for questions and reservations for rafting, fishing, horseback riding, family float trips, and day long inflatable kayak river trips.