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.
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.
- 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.
The city is home to the University of Montana.