Mountain Biking Missoula

If your are looking too wait out the spring runoff and enjoy the cooler temps this spring, check out some of the local mountain bike trails in Missoula’s back yard for mountain biking Missoula! Generally speaking there are three regions just outside of town: The Rattlesnake Recreation area, Pattee Canyon, and Blue Mountain. They are perfect for quick laps after work and are super convenient if you are in Missoula. There are many more great riding areas farther out, but these areas offer a broad range of trails from beginner double track all the way to steep rocky single track.

Mountain Biking Missoula Photo from Blue Mountain

The Rattlesnake trailhead is just a couple miles from downtown and a great introduction if you are new to the area. Beginners will appreciate a steady road climb from the lot that leads to a network of perfect single-track descending opportunities. More advanced rides can connect over to Sheep Mountain on the East side of the valley, or continue to head up to the summit of Stuart Peak. Its worth mentioning Snowbowl even offers some downhill lift assisted mountain biking just to the west.

Next up, Pattee Canyon it’s the closest trail system to downtown offering great beginner and intermediate level rides for mountain biking Missoula. Its worth the almost 2500 foot climb to the top of Mt Sentinel for the view alone, as you make your way back down you can either head back toward the university or head east and ride the ridge down for a more technical descent that will spit you out at Pattee Canyon Road.

Don’t forget about Blue Mountain, just on the south west side of town. Here you will find a dense web of trails that make every ride a little bit different. Toward the top of the mountain you will find some huge berms and fun side hits on the moto trails. For the riders looking for the steepest terrain head to Deadmans Ridge and just watch out for other trail users as you hold on for the rip down.

This is by no means a definitive guide, if you are looking for more information check out MTB Missoula’s ride guide and check out some of the great opportunities to give back to the community when you are mountain biking Missoula!

Blue Mountain Disc Golf Course

While the river banks are swelled with spring run-off and the high country is still shedding its snow, consider checking out some of Missoula’s disc golf. Blue Mountain disc golf course is just a short 15 minute drive south of Missoula, and sits within the Lolo National Forest. This beautiful 18 hole course winds its way in and out of the ponderosa pine forest, which can make the holes a bit tricky to find, but there are bound to be other golfers out there who are happy to point you in the right direction. To get you started: hole number one can be found at the top of the hill, above the parking area, and highlights one of many awesome throws the course has to offer: across a gulch and meadow, and into a stand of trees.

One of the best parts about disc golf is that its free to play! No fees to get in or a cart to rent, all you need are some discs (golf specific frisbees), and an hour or two depending on how fast you can hike. Discs are available at most sporting goods stores; to get started pick up a driver, mid range, and putter specific discs. Discs are usually heavier and smaller than a traditional frisbees and fly significantly farther too, so it is best to use a disc golf specific frisbee.

Disc golf is played just like regular golf except you throw your disc at a metal basket. Unlike golf, these courses are often natural and unmaintained with significant elevation change and stunning views to match, Blue Mountain Disc Golf Course is no exception. Blue Mountain is a great course, for all abilities because of the arrangement of their tee pads: one located closer to the basket and one further away. It may seem intimidating at first but at the end of the day the most fun wins! If you are looking for an inexpensive way to spend your afternoon, and stay busy while waiting for rafting season, Blue Mountain is a great place to check out.

Blue Mountain Disc Golf Course, Adventure Missoula

River Etiquette

Ethics and River Etiquette for River Recreationists

Glacier Country and Northwest Montana’s rivers and streams are among our state’s greatest assets.

As recreational use on and near Montana’s river resources continues to grow, different river user groups (fishing, floating, tubing, camping, etc.) are encountering each other more frequently. This can lead to conflict between users or a perception of river crowding.

Access sites and boat launches are receiving more traffic and at times are congested. In some cases, river users are not respectful of private land, causing tension between river users and landowners. Additionally, increasing recreational use of rivers is placing pressure on natural resources and resulting in problems such as litter, human waste, and vegetation degradation.

It is crucial for river users to work together to protect our rivers.

Here is a list of river ethics and etiquette to follow so that we can all enjoy Montana’s great river resources and help protect the recreational experience and the resource.

Be ready to float before you get on the ramp.
Organize gear and load boats before approaching the ramp.
Inflate and rig rafts away from the ramp.
Be aware of the space available at the launch area and use only what you need.
Rig and unrig fishing rods away from the ramp.
Once in the water, clear the launch area as soon as possible.
When taking out, leave

Profanity and obnoxious behavior is inappropriate and offensive.
Boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs is dangerous—be responsible when drinking alcohol on and around the river.
Be discrete when changing clothing.
Keep dogs under control and on a leash.
Encounters and group size affect the river experience

Be prepared for encounters with other river users.
Be friendly and communicate when encountering others on the river.
River crowding is often attributed to encounters with other floaters—keep your group size and number of watercraft to a minimum.
Using firearms in a river corridor can be hazardous and disturbing to others. During hunting season, remember that others may be using the river.
Give space to other river users and remember your river etiquette.

Give anglers wide berth to avoid floating through the area they are fishing.
If it is impossible to avoid floating through the area someone is fishing, politely explain your situation and apologize for the intrusion.
Attempt to keep out of sight of other boaters and anglers.
Don’t monopolize a fishing hole. Fish for awhile and move on.
Give anglers wide berth to avoid floating through the area they are fishing.

Non-motorized watercraft usually have the right-of-way over powerboats.
Non-motorized watercraft should yield the deeper channel to powerboats, which require a deeper channel to navigate safely.
Powerboats should use no-wake speeds when passing non-motorized watercraft and wade anglers.
Paddlers ‘surfing’ on a wave should yield to ‘through boaters.’

Practice ‘Leave No Trace’ river ethics.
Know river skills and carry the necessary equipment to minimize your impact.
Don’t leave your trash—Pack it in-Pack it out.
Use existing restrooms or pack out human waste and toilet paper with a portable toilet.
Avoid using the streambed as a pathway and instead—walk along the shoreline within the high water mark.
Observe wildlife from a distance.
Camp in designated campsites.
Do not build rock fire rings—use designated fire rings or a fire pan.
Always be mindful of fire danger and make sure campfires are dead out before leaving.
Respect private land along the river.
Know your rights and responsibilities under the Stream Access Law.
Stay below the ordinary high water mark.
Respect private property, don’t trespass.
Keep dogs on a leash and under control.
Respect ranchers’ needs for fencing, and learn how to use float gates and portage routes.
Leave gates as you find them.
Obtain permission before camping or recreating on private property.

We at Adventure Missoula know you will do your best and doing that will ensure that we are able to continue recreating on our rivers and open spaces.

Scenic River Floats

Scenic river floats are an often overlooked way to enjoy the water on a hot day….You can go down one of Missoula’s three rivers, jump in and go for a swim, relax as you take in the beautiful mountain vistas, and experience some great wildlife viewing.

By far the best scenic trip is on the majestic Clark Fork River.

The Missoula Valley is surrounded by picturesque mountains and ponderosa pine forests. A scenic float trip is a grand way to navigate through the beautiful landscape while you quietly view the wildlife in its natural habitat. Not only is it relaxing, but the Clark Fork is less crowded than the other rivers. You can pull over along the banks for a picnic or jump in the river for a refreshing swim.

Just below the wild waters of the Alberton Gorge you will find the much calmer Tarkio Gorge. This stretch of river has great swimming holes and nice sandy beaches. We have a favorite stop for lunch or continue down this peaceful stretch of river and do something else with the second half of your day. Along the way you may see some great wildlife…. including elk, deer, moose, bald eagles, osprey, and, beavers. This scenic float trip is a great way to take in all the beautiful sights found in the Missoula Valley.

We float a 6 mile stretch of river April through November.

The float usually takes a little over 3 hours, which allows a family to get ready for a fun dinner, go for a hike, or engage in another short activity to conquer another great Missoula day on vacation.

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Coeur d’Alene River Float

Coeur d'Alene River float

Nestled in the panhandle of beautiful North Idaho, the Coeur d’Alene River is a must see. Gliding through the clear water you’ll see Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout swimming along side of you, as well as Osprey and Bald Eagles flying above. Our Coeur d’Alene River float trips are guided by knowledgeable fishing guides who know the area forwards and back. Bring along your binoculars and take in the scenery.

The river is calm with a few class II rapids along the way that add some waves to your journey. Our Coeur d’Alene   River trip is an awesome option for families with young children, bird watchers, or any groups looking for a peaceful day on the water. We are the only company permitted to raft this river, the only humans you’ll run into along the way are wading fishermen and the occasional inner-tuber.

You meet us downtown Coeur d’Alene, and we shuttle you to and from the river. The “put in” is about 25 minutes from the heart of Coeur d’Alene and perfectly displays how quickly you can get out of town in the inland North West. Every boat is packed with a cooler, water, and dry bags, so feel free to bring along snacks for your adventure. Cameras are highly encouraged, these are scenes you will want to remember forever!

Coeur d'Alene River float