Moseying Around Missoula

Missoula is one of Montana’s best-kept secrets. The University of Montana lends the city an energetic air, the historic downtown is home to unique shops, boutiques, and restaurants, and the incredible Rattlesnake Wilderness Area is never more than a short drive away. We’re sending up a few unique ways to make the most of a day in Missoula—from sweet treats to historical highlights, and all the fun in between.

241 W Main St, Missoula, MT 59802, USA
The best pizza in Missoula, and possibly Montana, can be found in the brick ovens of Bob Marshall’s Biga Pizza. Seasonal, local ingredients, artisan cheeses and meats meld together atop a perfectly crispy, homemade sourdough crust creating one deliciously round delight. Create your own pizza masterpiece with their extensive list of ingredients or try a Biga Pizza custom creation, such as the Sweet Potato, Bacon and Maple Chipotle pizza. A crown jewel of Missoula, Bob Marshall’s Biga Pizza creates delicious round masterpieces not to be missed!
Missoula, MT, USA
Home to ranchers, skiers, hunters, and hippies, Missoula, Montana, is like a Pacific Northwest town set amongst the Rockies. The surrounding region, with Glacier National Park to the north and the Bitterroot Valley to the south, pulls in swarms of summer visitors. Winter brings a more discerning crowd: people who can slap on a swimsuit in 10-degree weather to dip into hot springs, and travelers who appreciate the stillness of snow-covered peaks but who want to stay within reach of the city’s vibrant arts scene. This appeared in the January/February 2012 issue.
Riverfront Trail, Missoula, MT 59802, USA
Created in memory of a Missoula native who loved kayaking the world’s rivers, Brennan’s Wave is located in the middle of the Clark Fork River just off the shores of the city’s downtown. If you want to ride the man-made wave, summer crowds will gather along the banks to see you tempt the rapids and hearty winter souls will brave the uber-cold temps with you for Stand Up Surfing. I learned to kayak from one of Missoula’s best instructors. His name is Land (perfect name for a guy who spends most of his waking hours on the water) and he runs Tarkio Kayak Adventures. Land and his team of intrepid teachers take groups of adventurers on week-long trips through Montana and Idaho, and they have a fabulous kayaking expedition through Bhutan. If you only have time for a short course, individual experts will spend a day showing you the ropes on either the Clark Fork or the Bitterroot River. My day with Land made me feel like an expert, and even when I flipped and fumbled my kayak, he patiently taught me to take my time and enjoy the beauty of nature. Call Land at: 406-543-4583 or 503-260-7116, or check out the company at http://teamtarkio.com If you are up for some mid-river adventure and the Tarkio crew is busy, contact the folks at Zoo Town Surfers at http://www.zootownsurfers.com The Zoo Town crowd takes to the waves in any temperature. As Norman MaClean wrote, Missoula is a town where the “river runs through it”. Here’s your chance to test the waters for yourself.
40060 Paws Up Rd, Greenough, MT 59823, USA
One of the most luxurious Western guest ranches, opened in 2005, the Resort at Paws Up, in Greenough, sprawls over 37,000 acres of classic Montana landscape: elk-filled meadows, rocky peaks, and ponderosa pines in the Blackfoot Valley, with the river of the same name running through it all. The most sought-after accommodations are the “glamping” tents on the banks of the Blackfoot or along Elk Creek that are available May through October and organized into five separate camps, taking just six guests each. The camps combine a Western lifestyle with an African safari formula: canvas suites with private baths, a communal dining pavilion with fireplace and fire pit, private camp chef, and butlers to help organize guest activities. Families and friends who prefer four walls between themselves and nature stay in enormous wood-and-stone villas with heated hardwood floors, fireplaces, leather furniture, huge flat-screen TVs, and panoramic windows; some of these homes come with outdoor hot tubs and tented bedrooms for kids.

All guests have the opportunity to hike, rappel, canoe, play paintball, take cooking classes, and more, but the main action is on-site fly-fishing and horseback riding for all levels on 100 miles of private trails or in a 23,000-square-foot equestrian arena; adults and kids 12 and up can help move small herds of Black Angus cattle on sample stock drives. If parents want private adventure time, kid wranglers entertain young’uns. In the evening, communal entertainment takes place in a renovated barn that serves as stock sales venue, dance floor, and movie theater. Despite the busy activity menu and flow of golf carts transporting guests to and fro, the ranch is large enough, and accommodation so widely spaced that guests can survey the landscape and not see anyone.
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