Living in Missoula, there are a couple things we are known for, so to speak: having the best Saturday farmers markets in the tri state area (seriously the best – I mean we have 3!), having the worst, yet funkiest streets to drive on, and the ability to be out of cell service range in less than 20 minutes (and that’s giving us an ample amount time). But one thing we love about Missoula is the availability of numerous hikes that we can arrive and thrive in under an hour.
When you live in Missoula, being outdoors is the one of the main pastimes. This includes fishing, and hunting, and loving everyday. But in all seriousness, we do love our outdoors and going for a quick hike is very easy to accomplish around this neck of the woods. Within minutes you can be on a trail and hiking up any one of the mountains that surround our beautiful town. And depending on what you want to see or accomplish, I’ll give you a heads up on which ones are best for what!
There is the “M” trail noted for Montana, which also can lead to Mt. Sentinel, that is super easy and a staple hike in Missoula. The “M” trail is right behind the University of Montana and has a beautiful view if you want to see the university from above! It is 13 switchbacks up to the “M” and from that point, if you feel more adventurous, you can traverse even farther to Mt. Sentinels peak!
Like the “M” Trail, this is a hike that will get you to the infamous “L” named for Loyola Sacred Heart on the left side of the entrance into Missoula. Again, if you aren’t satisfied with just getting to the “L” you can hike up to the peak of Mt. Jumbo!
Waterworks (Peace Hill)
Notable for it’s peace sign on the side of the hill, it’s on the North side of town making it a prominent statement piece similar to the “L” and “M”. This hike is great for all my dog lover/owners! This is a great place right next to Greenough park that is dog friendly, and gives your furry friend tons of space to get rid of energy in a hospitable environment. The whole loop up to the top and around to the bottom is about 4.5 miles, but there are so many different routes and cutoffs that you can take which makes it one of the most versatile trails around Missoula.
Blue Mountain Recreation Area
Blue Mountain is massive hill with tons of different trails, disc golf course, great sledding hills, etc. This is a great hill just southwest of Missoula that offers tons of different outdoor activities. For all the horse enthusiasts, one thing that is great about Blue Mountain is that you are able to take your horses out for a nice stroll. This is a prime place to go if you want more options, but don’t want to travel that far.
Rattlesnake National Recreation Area
Last, but surely not least is the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area. This, like Blue Mountain, has more options that you can shake a stick at. The two things I think of when going up the Rattlesnake are backcountry skiing and mountain biking. This is a perfect area for these two activities, but definitely not limited to them! With different trails all over the place, and distances that go for a couple miles to over 10 miles there is always something for everyone up there.
Get out and enjoy the summer with these awesome hikes!