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 1970s 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.


Total Population 69,190
Male Share of the Population 49.8%
Female Share of the Population 50.2%
Senior Citizens 12.3%
Employed Population 16+ 36,264
Age of the Population 33


% of people married 38.6%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 46.3%
Median Earnings25+ $29,145
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $24,620
Median Earnings With High School Degree $23,159


Median Family Income $65,377
% Above Poverty Level 80.5%
% Below Poverty Level 19.5%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 15 minutes
% Working from Home 5.2%
% Walking and Biking to Work 13.8%
% Using Public Transportation 2.3%


People Living Alone 35.6%
Median Gross Rent $763
Median House Value $238,200


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 14.1%
US/American 0%
English 12.5%
Irish 17.6%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

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

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Alberton 479 $39,135

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Missoula Public Libraries

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

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Missoula Hospitals

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

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

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Missoula High Schools

(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

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