In 1805, Lewis and Clark passed by the area as the first Europeans to go that far west. After that, the fur trappers, prospectors, and itinerant traders descended on the area. The area was covered with trees, so timber was one of the crucial goods in the area's development. Missoula saw many sawmills contribute to the local economy as the city grew. Today, Missoula is second in population to Billings in Montana, home to about 75,000 people.
The city is home to the University of Montana, which is a relatively small research university. During the appropriate season, you can catch collegiate sporting events on the 220-acre campus. The Clark River runs right through town so that you can practice your trout-fishing prowess.
The museums in town are fun to explore, especially if you're interested in flying. Movie buffs can catch classic films at the Roxy Theater. Folks who enjoy beer will be able to sample the best Montana Brewery has to offer, and the fresh produce at the farmer's market is famous. The Garnet Ghost Town is a spooky reminder of the area's past. A thousand hardy souls lived there in the 1890s. Today, it is preserved and maintained as it was in 1898, and it almost seems as if a gold prospector will walk through the door with the day's proceeds.
If you're of a certain age, then you'll remember the fellow who was "smarter than the average bear." Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp-Resort is a family-friendly RV park where Yogi himself visits campsites every night. The park has 75 sites, so he's a busy bear. All of the park's sites have full hookups, too, so you can relax in comfort as you try to keep Yogi from stealing your picnic basket. Yogi knows his way around a campfire, too, so he'd love to make s'mores with you and swap stories. The park was rated in the top 50 RV parks in the whole country in 2016.
Jim & Mary's RV Park has 71 RV sites with full hookups. Most sites have shade provided by trees. The campground also provides live music and other entertainment throughout the year. Free Wi-Fi means that you can keep in touch with family and friends all over. There is no pool at the park, but there are laundry facilities. You can use your campsite's cable television hookup to stay caught up.
If you're in the military or are a veteran, then you get a discount at the Turah RV Park. You can bring your pets, too, so your family will be complete while you stay here. There are only 24 sites, so it's a quiet campground for a relaxing stay. The sites have full hookups, and there is a gas station on site.
Just about 30 miles up the road, you will find Salmon Lake State Park. The lake contains all manner of fish to tempt any angler, and birdwatchers will certainly get their fill of majestic sights. The lake is big enough to give you room to water ski, and you can swim, splash, and enjoy the water to your heart's content. There is a short trail around the main compound that is good for an easy hike or a place to bring your furry companion for some exercise.
Flathead State Park is 85 miles distant. In addition to being a great place to stop and enjoy on your way to Glacier National Park, Flathead State Park gives you fun water activities to relax. You can rent paddleboards and paddleboats and enjoy the magnificent scenery and birds overhead. Before you leave, make sure to visit the Farmhouse Restaurant for some down-home comfort food.
Bannack State Park is a ghost town about two hours' drive from Missoula. You can even pan for gold if you like. Local legends say that this ghost town really does have ghosts, and there are spooky ghost walks through town at night. Your kids will love the Junior Ranger program, and they can even earn a badge. Reenactors sometimes put on living history events, so if this kind of event is for you, it's best to call ahead and find out when they take place.
Breathe the "cowboy life" deep when you visit Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site. You can see the horses, smell the hay, and experience every aspect of frontier life in the 19th century as the staff recreates it every day. Rancher John Francis Grant once lived here and had eight wives and 26 children. Hear his fascinating story as part of a tour through the site.
The Nez Perce First Nation has existed for nearly 12,000 years in the area between Missoula and the Columbia River. The Nez Perce National Historical Park is about 170 miles from Missoula. Unlike the 1,200-mile trip the Nez Perce had to take when trying to escape the U.S. Army, the hiking trails at the park are all easy. You can also visit battlefields where the First Nations' folks faced off against the U.S. Cavalry when trying to keep their ancestral lands.
The Oregon Trail stretched 2,000 miles from St. Louis to Oregon. It took 10 months to make the trip, and it was fraught with danger. Today, the Oregon National Historic Trail section of the original trail is almost 500 miles from Missoula. Hiking trails dot the landscape, and they range from easy to quite difficult. As with any hiking to be done in the northwest, bring lots of water, a first-aid kit, and extra socks.
The distance from Missoula to Bitterroot National Forest is 77 miles, so it's about a 90-minute drive. The hiking is for experienced folks and ranges from above-average in difficulty to strenuously difficult, often climbing almost 2,000 feet in a relatively short time. The views are worth it, however. At the end of some of the trails, you can even fish. If you want to spend the night in the great outdoors, you can, but in most places, you aren't allowed to build campfires.
Clearwater National Forest is the traditional home of the Nez Perce First Nation. A lot of the 4 million acres is protected land. Rafting the rivers in the area is one of the main draws for Clearwater National Forest. The drive there is about 175 miles. Hiking in the forest has something for everyone, from relatively easy treks to the grueling ascent to the highest peak in the area.
Lolo National Forest is 122 miles from Missoula. The hiking in this forest ranges from easy to challenging. Some of the hiking trails are more than 14 miles long and should probably be undertaken over two days. The toughest trail tops out at just about 10,000 feet of elevation, so it's for experienced high-altitude hikers. The Maclay Flat Nature Trail is great for newbies, though, and is just 1.7 miles of easy strolling. The wildlife in the forest includes bighorn sheep, which you can see on the steep slopes of some of the harder trails.
It's a little more than 130 miles from Missoula to Glacier National Park on the Canadian border. Because of the nature of this park, it's only truly accessible from July until the end of August. You can get there in the late spring, but you will still be contending with lots of snow. In the winter, it's impossible to visit by RV. The park covers more than a million acres, and the unspoiled nature of the landscape is famous all over the globe. It doesn't get dark until well after 10 p.m. local time during the summer.
Yellowstone National Park is 300 miles from Missoula in northwestern Wyoming, but it's well worth the trip. The geysers themselves are worth the price of admission, and the wildlife is equally spectacular. You have to dress for snow or rain at any time you visit because the park's elevation is more than a mile. Hiking in the park can be unpredictable, so it's best to check the local back-country report before setting out.
Grand Teton National Park is a six-hour RV ride from Missoula. Hiking in the park is at least moderately strenuous because of the terrain. The toughest trails rise nearly 4,000 feet within a few miles. On the plus side, returning is all downhill. It's always a good idea to take a first-aid kit with you, plenty of water, extra socks, and the rest of the things that you need to be safe at high elevations.
In most areas, the price to rent a motorhome is around $200 a night and the price to rent a towable trailer is around $120 a night.What does RVshare Protection cover with my Missoula, MT RV rental?
RVshare's protection plan standard package covers up to $300,000 in comprehensive and collision coverage based on the value of the RV. It also includes free 24/7 roadside assistance and free towing and tire service. For more information on RVshare insurance, click here.What do I need to know before renting an RV in Missoula, MT?
Missoula has freeway access to make trips into town a breeze. Just outside the city are lots of open spaces, mountains, and hiking trails to explore. Be sure to include time in your plans to visit the Missoula Art Museum and enjoy the Bitterroot River.What are the RV rental requirements in Missoula, MT?
There is no special license needed to rent an RV, but it never hurts to check state websites. if you are unsure about traveling there and any regulations they may have, double-checking with the state will provide some peace of mind!What are some tips for first-time RV renters in Missoula, MT?
Renting an RV in Missoula, MT means endless blue skies, wide open roads, and delicious Montana steaks. With all the wide open space between destinations, make sure you have a full tank of gas and plenty of food before you hit the road. You'll find plenty of RV campgrounds with pools and other fun amenities. Busy season is in the summer so book early to get your spot, or go off-season to avoid crowds.What are the minimum age requirements for renting an RV in Missoula, MT?
The minimum age requirement for renting an RV is 25.What is included in my Missoula, MT RV rental?
You should find any amenities that are included with your rental in the listing details. But it never hurts to check in with the owner before you arrive at the RV or have it delivered to ensure you have everything that is needed to have a fun and enjoyable trip!Are there pet friendly RVs for rent in Missoula, MT?
Looking for a pet friendly RV rental? Use the pet-friendly filter when searching on RVshare.com to find the perfect one for you!Can I have my Missoula, MT RV rental delivered to a specified location?
Many owners on RVshare.com offer delivery, and will even set it up for you at the campsite. Choose the 'Delivery' filter to narrow down your search results to RVs that can be brought to your home or destination. Check the listing details for any information regarding extra fees for delivery, or ask the owner if you are unsure.Are there one way rental options from Missoula, MT?
One way rentals can add flexibility to your trip, but there are typically costs associated with returning the RV back to the owner. Learn more about one way rental options at rvshare.com/one-way-rv-rentals.