These words, and others such as relaxing and exciting, perfectly describe Missoula. Sprawling into a breathtaking mountain valley panorama along the south side of Freeway I-90, Missoula (trade area population 95,000 +) is Western Montana's regional center for business, culture, medical services, retail shopping, education and entertainment. From anywhere in the hills and mountains surrounding Missoula a field of diamonds appears every early evening at sunset.
Millions of acres of pristine wilderness and recreation areas surround Missoula, offering you endless adventure, including thousands of miles of hiking and driving trails, ski and snowmobile areas, sparkling clear lakes and rivers. Wildlife abounds here. The Rocky Mountains, Lewis & Clark National Wilderness Area, Flathead Lake, and the Bitterroot and Swan Mountain Ranges are a few of the places that help define this incredible corner of our world. And, of course, two of this country's most famous and popular national parks, Glacier (3 hours) and Yellowstone (5 hours), are within easy driving distance, through some of the most spectacular natural scenery you can imagine….
Western Montana is extremely popular among wildlife enthusiasts and the Mountain Valley Inn is your gateway to this vast Rocky Mountain wilderness. Just forty minutes north at The National Bison Range a herd of buffalo, antelope and elk graze on an endless stretch of green with the lofty, snowcapped Mission Mountains keeping watch in the distance. Deer can be seen most mornings and early evenings in Missoula's lush grass meadows. Bird lovers can view great blue herons, whistling swans, Canada geese, bald eagles, and double-breasted cormorants at the Pablo National Wildlife Refuge and the Ninepipe Wildlife Refuge, both less than an hour away just outside of Ronan in the Mission Valley. Or head south into the Bitterroot Valley to the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Range where osprey, eagles, whitetail deer and coyotes make their home.
Expert and novice fisherman from all over the world come to Missoula for the rainbow, brown, cutthroat and bull trout teeming in Missoula's rivers. You can always make a day of it and float the Blackfoot or Bitterroot, the other two rivers that converge in this wonderful valley. Booking a guided tour is easy at any of the dozens of fly shops downtown. There are also endless opportunities for beginning and expert kayakers.