City Escape: Missoula, Montana

City Escape: Missoula, Montana
Missoula, MT, is located in a green landscape where five valleys converge in the northern Rockies. With three rivers running through town, Missoula was the ideal shooting location for the 1992 film A River Runs Through It that featured Montana fly-fishing.

Riding north from Missoula, you’ll encounter a diverse Western landscape. While eastern Montana is mostly rolling high prairie, the smaller western portion of the state is dominated by the Rocky Mountains. The route follows the flatter and more verdant terrain in the river valleys. Ranching and farming is noticeable passing through Arlee, MT. Later you’ll arrive on a high semi-arid plain, which also includes part of the Flathead Reservation.

Finally, the route takes you to the shores of Flathead Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. Although the route back to Missoula is flatter and more populated, you get to see the unmistakable calling cards left from the ice age—an expansive collection of multi-sized glacial lakes.

Lunch Stop

Cherries BBQ Pit offers rib dinners and tips, brisket sandwiches, chicken dinners, and pulled pork sandwiches. Just look for the pink pig on the restaurant’s roof. Find it at 105 2nd St E, Polson, MT, (406) 571-2227.

Points of Interest

Montana Natural History Center
This museum in Missoula helps visitors understand the extraordinary natural history of The Treasure State, known for its vast mineral deposits. The exhibit about Glacial Lake Missoula explains the astonishing source of the numerous striations visible on the city’s surrounding elevations.

Polson-Flathead Historic Museum
Established in 1972, this museum preserves the history of Mission Valley and the Flathead Indian Reservation. On display are the Lambert Trading Post, a 19th-century chuck wagon, the Allard Stagecoach, and numerous Native American artifacts.

Miracle of America Museum
These buildings house a diverse collection of American historical objects. The main galleries focus on transportation, the military, vintage Americana artifacts, agricultural implements, sculptures, historic firearms, and more. A relatively modest entry fee is charged.