Happy Hiking: Discover Missoula and the Bitterroot on Foot

By SILKE JAUCK

Fall has become one of my favorite seasons and Montana is the perfect place to spend it. On most days, the Big Sky is truly a big sky and I like waking up to the calls of our surrounding mountains.

I like to explore places on foot and one of my passions is hiking. Not always knowing where to go – and I am afraid of hiking alone, as I have listened to and read too many bear stories – I like to rely on a good hiking book and enjoy the company of friends.

One of my favorite guides to hiking in the Missoula area is “Day Hikes Around Missoula, Montana” by Robert Stone. It’s a great source for people new in town to explore our trails and mountains. Since all hikes described are in the area, one does not have to go or drive far and it is easy to head spontaneously for the trailhead.

A good start would be to hike Missoula’s surrounding mountains like Mt. Sentinel, Mt. Jumbo, and Blue Mountain. Even Waterworks Hill has its charm, with a lovely vista and palpable changes throughout the seasons, as evidenced in the banner photo above.

Every weekend you could make a new goal for another peak and another view of Missoula and its many neighborhoods. Don’t forget your camera or binoculars: The different perspectives of our town are surprising and worth remembering.

Many of the lower elevation hikes are easily accessible year-round. Remember, there is no such a thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. But I hope for a sunny big sky for your first hike and the many to follow.

When you have climbed all of Missoula surrounding mountains, a short drive down the Bitterroot Valley opens endless hiking choices and many are described in detail in Stone’s guide. Another great Bitterroot resource is the recently published “Hikes and Climbs to Bitterroot Mountain Summits” by Michael Hoyt. He’s very knowledgeable and his book is detailed and beautifully illustrated.

What’s your favorite hike in the Missoula area? Share it in the comments below, or join a hiking discussion on the forum.

Happy Hiking!

– Silke

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Like this post? Check out Silke’s previous blog musings – Missoula Community Seed Swap, How We Made it Missoula, and Kill the Light.

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Silke Jauck is a German native and Missoulian by choice. She and her family have packed and unpacked their suitcases and moving boxes in four continents and have finally settled in Missoula and called it home. She lives with her husband, three daughters, and a dwarf rabbit in the Target Range neighborhood. Silke is the publisher of Friendship Book, a made in Montana keepsake and activity book for children ages 6-12. She also has a blog about life hacks at Silke Good Ideas.