Missoula, Montana

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Missoula, Montana

Introduction to Missoula, Montana

Missoula is situated in a valley near the Clark Fork River in Missoula County. The municipality is also known as the "Garden City" due to the vast number of trees and the lush green environment. It's part of the Fly Fishing Golden Triangle. The Bitterroot River and the Clark Fork flow through the town. The climate is dominated more by the Pacific Northwest than the Rocky Mountains. The community is also known for being pro-environment.


The Sakish Tribe were the original inhabitants. The city takes it's name from the Sakish word "Nemissoolatakoo." The Lewis and Clark Expedition entered the valley in 1805. The first white settlements were established in 1860 when C.P. Higgins and Francis Worden created a trading post along the Blackfoot River.

The completion of a road which traversed through Missoula and connected Fort Benton with Walla Walla, Washington led to significant growth for the city. The construction of Fort Missoula in 1877 and the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1883 were also important factors in the region's growth. In 1908 Missoula was selected to be the regional headquarters of the Forest Service. The Aerial Fire Depot was constructed in 1954. Before the 1970's the logging industry was a primary factor for the economy.

Outdoor Activities

Hiking, rock climbing, fishing, bicycle riding, horseback riding, kayaking, rafting and golfing are some of the popular outdoor activities. The Blackfoot River and the Bitterroot River are very popular destinations during the summer for floating trips. Fly fisherman enjoy fishing along Rock Creek, Bitterroot River, Blackfoot River and Clark Fork. Nearby Snowbowl and Marshall Mountain attract skiing enthusiasts. Lolo Pass is utilized for cross-country skiing.

The trail which leads to the huge "M" situated on Mount Sentinel offers excellent views of the valley. Hikers enjoy a large number of scenic locations including Selway-Bitterroot and the Sapphire Mountains. The Rattlesnake Wilderness and the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area are filled with wildlife and are popular for outdoor activities. Thousands of bicycle riders arrive at the notable Adventure Cycling's headquarters.


  • The U.S. Forest Service's smoke jumper base provides tours of the facility.
  • A walking bridge which crosses over the railroad yards is a popular location for railroad enthusiasts.
  • The Missoula Osprey play minor league baseball games.
  • The historic downtown feature some noteworthy structures.
  • The Art Museum of Missoula.
  • Historical Museum at Fort Missoula.
  • Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Wildlife Visitors Center.
  • Irish Cultural Celebration.
  • Germanfest.
  • Montana Natural History Center.

Arts and Nightlife

The city is part of the Rocky Mountains region, however culturally the community is connected with the Pacific Northwest. It's recognized as one of the most liberal municipalities in the state. The community consists of ranchers, cowboys, artists, yuppies and college students. Missoula is home to the International Wildlife Film Festival and is known for its diverse music scene. Out to Lunch at Caras Park offers live entertainment.

The Montana Repertory Theater, situated on the University of Montana campus features a variety of theatrical productions. The Missoula Community Theater offers family entertainment. Residents and visitors enjoy the music performed by the Missoula Orchestra and Choral and the String Orchestra of the Rockies. There are numerous nightspots including Charlie B's, Butterfly Herbs, Kettlehouse Brewing Company, Buck's Cub and Rhinoceros. Notable Western writers reside in the region.

Higher Education

The city is home to the University of Montana.

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High Points

Missoula strengths, compared to Peers (similar size places nationally) or State (other places in Montana):

Category Trophy
Walking and Biking to Work
(vs. Peers)
Top 1% trophy Missoula Walking and Biking to Work
Short Commute Times
(vs. Peers)
Top 2% trophy Missoula Short Commute Times
College Educated Adults
(vs. State)
Top 5% trophy Missoula College Educated Adults
Racial Diversity
(vs. State)
Top 6% Missoula Racial Diversity
Public Transportation Use
(vs. State)
Top 9% Missoula Public Transportation Use
Well-Paid Single Women
(vs. State)
Top 10% Missoula Well-Paid Single Women
Median Family Income
(vs. State)
Top 12% Missoula Median Family Income

Comparative Profile of Missoula, Montana

Comparing Missoula to similar size places nationwide (Peers) and to other places in Montana (State):

Ratings range from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest).

The People

Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Male Share of the Population 9 8
Senior Citizens 4 1
Well-Paid Single Women 4 10
Well-Paid Single Men 4 8
Female Share of the Population 2 3
Age of the Population 2 1
Children Under 5 Years Old 2 4
Racial Diversity 1 10


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Portion of People Married 2 1
Average Household Size 1 4


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
College Educated Adults 8 10
Median Family Income 3 9
People in Middle Class or Better 2 5
People Above Poverty 2 3

Commute & Sprawl

Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Walking and Biking to Work 10 10
Short Commute Times 10 6
Working at Home 9 5
Public Transportation Use 5 10


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Studio & One-Bedroom Rentals 9 10
People Living Alone 9 5
Affordability of Rents 8 1
Seasonal and Vacation Housing 8 2
Affordability of Property Taxes 5 1
Housing Recently Built 5 8

Detailed pages on related topics: Colleges in Missoula
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Missoula Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 394 miles E of Seattle, Washington
County Missoula
Metro Area Missoula
Standard Zip Codes 59801, 59802, 59803, 59804, 59808
P.O. Box Zip Codes 59806, 59807
Company Zip Codes 59812
Phone Area Codes 406
Time Zone Mountain (-7 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 46.872
Longitude -113.993

Missoula Climate

Nearest Weather Stations

  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)
Distance 2.3 miles
Jan Temp 17 to 33 F
Apr Temp 33 to 57 F
Jul Temp 51 to 82 F
Oct Temp 33 to 57 F
Annual Precip 17 inches
Distance 5.9 miles
Jan Temp 16 to 31 F
Apr Temp 32 to 58 F
Jul Temp 50 to 84 F
Oct Temp 31 to 57 F
Annual Precip 13.8 inches
Distance 20.2 miles
Jan Temp 8 to 29 F
Apr Temp 25 to 56 F
Jul Temp 42 to 82 F
Oct Temp 23 to 58 F
Annual Precip 15.1 inches
Detailed pages on related topics: Colleges in Missoula
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Missoula Population (2000)

Category Count Percent
Total Population 57,053 100%
Male 28,352 49.7%
Female 28,701 50.3%
Under 18 11,255 19.7%
18+ 45,798 80.3%
65+ 5,922 10.4%
Median Age 30.3
Average Family Size 2.88
White 53,387 93.6%
African-American 207 0.4%
Asian 703 1.2%
American Indian & Alaskan 1,341 2.4%
Other 290 0.5%
Mixed Race 1,068 1.9%
Hispanic (included in categories above) 1,004 1.8%

Estimated Missoula Population Growth 2000-2005

Category Value
Est. 2005 Population 62,923
Growth 5,870
Growth % 10.3%

Missoula Ancestry

(From 2000 Census, as reported by individuals)

Note: This is national, not racial, ancestry, so, e.g., the Census doesn't have categories for Hispanic and African-American people. CityTownInfo is currently gathering additional ancestry data for this site.
Ancestry Percent
German 20.8%
Irish 14%
English 9.9%
Other (often includes Hispanic and African American) 9.8%
Norwegian 8.8%
US/American 4.6%
Italian 3.9%
French (except Basque) 3.6%
Scottish 2.9%
Swedish 2.9%
Scotch-Irish 2.7%
European 2.1%
Polish 1.7%
Dutch 1.3%
Danish 1.2%
French Canadian 1.1%
Welsh 1%
Finnish 0.9%
Russian 0.7%
Scandinavian 0.6%
British 0.5%
Hungarian 0.5%
Czech 0.5%
Swiss 0.4%
Greek 0.4%
Canadian 0.3%
Austrian 0.3%
Belgian 0.2%
Yugoslavian 0.2%
Lebanese 0.2%
Ukrainian 0.2%
Czechoslovakian 0.2%
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Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Pop. Median Family
Income (2000)
Missoula 57,053 $42,103
Alberton 374 $26,500

Missoula Public Libraries

Missoula Public Library
301 E MAIN
Missoula, Montana
(406) 721-2665
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Missoula Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Church)
(406) 543-7271
Emergency Service: Yes

(Voluntary non-profit - Private)
(406) 728-4100
Emergency Service: Yes

Starbucks in Missoula

(As of 2005)
2510 S Reserve Street
3800 Russell Street
Missoula-1-90 and Reserve
5260 Grant Creek Road
3801 S Reserve St

Wal-mart in Missoula

(As of 2006)
4000 Hwy 93 South
(406) 251-6060
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Featured Colleges in the Missoula Area (QuickSchools™)

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Missoula High Schools (2004)

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 1,374 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 17.2

Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 1,254 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 15.1

Serves 1,162 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 17.2

Missoula Colleges

Click school name for a detailed profile.

Modern Beauty School Inc

The University of Montana

(List of Montana Colleges)

Detailed pages on related topics: Colleges in Missoula
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Limit Results to One State?

City, State Similarity   1 Person Houses 65+ College Grads Commute Minutes Family Income Kids 0-4 Non White Pop. Poverty Prop. Crime Seasonal Housing Viol. Crime
      loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose
1. Bowling Green, Kentucky 86.5   33.5% 12% 26.9% 17 $40,320 6% 19.2% 49,296 21.8% 59.8 0.4% 5.9
2. St. Cloud, Minnesota 86.2   30.3% 10.3% 29.6% 18 $50,460 5.5% 8.3% 59,107 13.1% 46.8 0.3% 4.3
3. Springfield, Missouri 85.8   35.1% 14.9% 23% 18 $38,114 5.9% 8.3% 151,580 15.9% 80.9 0.4% 5.6
4. Knoxville, Tennessee 84.5   38.5% 14.4% 24.6% 21 $37,708 5.9% 20.3% 173,890 20.8% 65.5 0.3% 9.5
5. Cookeville, Tennessee 84.4   35% 13.7% 28.2% 16 $39,623 5.3% 8.9% 23,923 23.2% 51.6 0.5% 4.6
6. Muncie, Indiana 83.9   34.1% 13.2% 19% 18 $36,398 5.8% 14.3% 67,430 23.1% 45.3 0.3% 5
7. Tempe, Arizona 83.5   28.5% 7.2% 39.6% 21 $55,237 5.7% 22.5% 158,625 14.3% 82.2 0.8% 6.2
8. Terre Haute, Indiana 81.2   34.8% 14.9% 19.7% 17 $37,618 6.2% 13.7% 59,614 19.2% 87.5 0.3% 5.6
9. Cleveland, Tennessee 79.4   30.5% 13.9% 22.3% 18 $40,150 6.5% 11% 37,192 16.1% 71.7 0.3% 10.2
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