The Story Behind the "M"

The "M" is 620 feet above the Missoula Valley floor. It is 125' feet long and 100' feet wide. University of Montana forestry students cut the switchbacks into the side of the hill in the early 1900's. The first "M" was assembled out of whitewashed rocks in 1909, and given a fresh coat of paint by freshmen every year, until 1968, when all those rocks were cemented together with concrete.

Photo by Nelson Kenter, kenterphotography.com

Archive for the ‘Hiking and Backpacking’ Category

Mount Jumbo North Zone Opens May 1

By BECKY GOODRICH - All areas on Mount Jumbo. north of Saddle Road will re-open to the public on Sunday, May 1.... more

Is Spring Early or Late?

By BRUCE AUCHLY - The warm weather of February and early March could lead one to believe in an early spring, which feels nice but is not necessarily a good thing.... more

Mount Jumbo South Zone Re-Opens March 22

Mount Jumbo’s South Zone, including the Saddle Road and all points south of the road, re-opens to the public on Tuesday, March 22.... more

Mount Jumbo Wildlife Closure Begins December 1

By BECKY GOODRICH-Most of Mount Jumbo closes to recreational use during the winter months to protect wintering elk. Read more about the closures areas.... more

10 Heavenly Montana Hikes West of the Continental Divide

By BRIAN D'AMBROSIO - Nothing inspires like a heart-pounding hike into Montana's high country. Put these ten picks for memorable hikes on your Montana bucket list!... more

Becoming an Outdoors Woman Summer Workshop August 7-9

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks' popular Becoming an Outdoors-Woman summer workshop is set for Aug. 7-9 at Lubrecht Forest, east of Missoula.... more

Public Invited to Grant Creek Trail Grand Opening This Thursday

FREE icecream for the first 100 people at the grand opening of the Grant Creek Trail--Missoula's newest bicycle-pedestrian trail. The Celebration will be at 5:30 pm , Thursday July 9.... more

Manners Matter – How to Share Western Montana Rivers

By JOLEEN TADEJ - It's still easy to have a great summer experience on Montana's rivers. The key is river etiquette, a mix of common sense, courtesy, and respect.... more

Park Service to Open Iconic Sun Road On Glacier’s West Side

By DILLON TABISH - Summer is Here! The National Park Service announced Wednesday that the Going-to-the-Sun Road, is expected to fully open on the west side on Thurs., June 11.... more

Tips for dealing with a Rattlesnake Bite: Quick Tips to Save a Life

By CLAY SPRINGMEYER - If you follow these points, you can help save a life. However, the best life saver in the backcountry is situational awareness.... more

Summer Season Begins in Glacier National Park

Memorial Day Weekend marks beginning of primary visitation season at national park.... more

Explore Downtown Missoula by Foot on a Historic Walking Tour

If you’re visiting Missoula and looking to explore the city a bit, the beautiful downtown area offers an array of locations rich in historical significance. The Missoula Downtown Association has a self-guided... more

Saint Mary’ Peak Trail

By CHAUNCEY LISTON-How did I get into this fix? It started with my packing. That afternoon I decided I was going to climb the 9,300-foot peak that is Saint Mary’s in the Bitterroot Mountain Range. ... more

MacLay Flats Nature Trail

By MALLORY KERENSA WELLS - It was a quiet Thursday evening and after a long week I knew that a hike was not only a wanted but a needed.... more

Tower Street Trails: A Bold Dinner Date

By BRENDEN SPERR - I see trees. Trees and squirrels everywhere, squirrels that are so bold they get right next to me then turn and run as if they’re playing chicken.... more

Tales and Trails: Love in the Time of Cold

By BRUCE AUCHLY - One day it’s warm and sunny, the next day cold and snowy. Welcome to that time on the calendar between winter and spring. ... more

Blue Mountain Folf Course: Too Much Fun to Hike Past

By DEVIN SLATER-It seems like if there is anything you want to do outdoors you can find it at Blue Mountain. But honestly, I wouldn’t know those trails. I never get past the folf course. ... more

Hiking Blodgett Canyon Trail

By DONNA HULL - How long has it been since you’ve been to Blodgett Canyon, the Bitterroot Valley’s version of Yosemite? Long-time Missoula boomers have probably hiked Blodgett Canyon Trail more times than t... more

The Clark Fork River Walk (VIDEO)

By CATHERINE ORFANOS: The Montana campus was quiet. The Oval, empty. Puddles formed across the sidewalk and my path through campus zigzagged between them. ... more

Rattlesnake Valley: Wood’s Gulch to Sheep Mountain

By REBECCA KEITH- I lean up against Jasmine; my red, secondhand mountain bike and stew in frustration. The 11-mile ride from Wood’s Gulch to the top of Sheep’s Mountain was kicking my butt. ... more

Kim Williams Trail: The Unexpected Wilderness in My Backyard

By MARTHA KREBILL- Walking the Kim Williams Trail that night had been a spur-of-the-moment decision, and I was captivated by the natural beauty of what I can describe literally as my backyard.... more

Rattlesnsake Recreation Area

By MEGAN FRANZ - I made it to the Main Rattlesnake Trailhead, locked up the bike, swung my beat up sack over my shoulder and started trekking along the old road that follows the creek. ... more

My Most Spectacular Failure Was a Gift

By SHELLI JOHNSON - Former Lady Griz hoopster, Shelli Johsnon tells how getting cut from the team and losing her scholarship was a game changer that led her to an Epic Life! ... more

Greenough Park Trail: A Journey Into Art and Nature

By PARKER BRIXEY - I’m cruising into Greenough Park on my bike, entering the park at its southern end, closest to town. I’ve got my headphones in, and Wiz khalifa bumping loud. ... more

Randolph-Moon Homestead Trail: Pushing Back Against Doubt and Disease

By GARRETT SLADE - It wasn’t until I had topped the final crest in the North Hills that my anxiety about the day fled. From my vantage point over Missoula the stress of the past two weeks began to melt away.... more

Mount Jumbo – Daylight Turns to Dark, Marvel Fades to Fear

By By NICK MERTES- Our eyes locked. He reared back and then quickly struck the ground with his hooves, like he was revving his engine, looking to fight. He was ready to go, but was I?... more

North Hills – Making Peace With the Rural-Urban Medley

By BELLE GASH-GILDER - There are a number of different places to begin to explore the North Hills. I started at Mountain View Trail which literally literally starts in someone’s yard. ... more

Mount Jumbo – Rising Above a Rude Awakening

By HENRY CRIST- Sometimes, little adventures change your entire perspective, and you’re a different person because of them. My adventure wasn’t a heart racing one, but it was just what I needed.... more

Crazy Canyon – An Easy Climb in Nature’s Cathedral

CHARLES EARLY - I decided to hike Crazy Canyon with a friend in early Fall. Although this is a popular hike, we didn’t see another person, which only added to the beauty of the trail.... more

Ch-paa-qn Peak

By KIAN BERTIN - People from all over the world have summited this mountain. “Pride of Britain,” one of the rocks has written into it. Another one reads, “I hate this damn wind.”... more

Crazy Canyon

By LIONE CLARE - I was happy to be back in the woods about to climb a mountain, an activity much more accessible and frequent in my hometown of Sitka, Alaska.... more

Pengelly Ridge

By CARLY STINSON - I love hiking, but as I spun in circles running from class to class this semester, I just couldn’t find time for the Pengelly Ridge Trail hike.... more

Winter Carnival and Snow Races at Marshall Mountain

Join Missoula Parks & Rec for the first annual Marshall Mountain Winter Carnival and Snowshoe/Ski Races on Sat., Feb. 22 at Marshall Mountain, from 10-4 p.m.... more

Smokejumpers’ Trail

By COLIN BRUST - We trudged up the steep and rocky path, leaving the Kim Williams riverside trail below us. Even though there was a great view of the Missoula Valley behind us, I felt uneasy.... more

Citizens Urged to Call 911 to Report Mount Jumbo Trespassers

Parks & Rec Reminder: Mount Jumbo is closed for the winter and with the new snowfall Avalanche Danger is HIGH. Cititzens are urged to call 911 to report Trespassers.... more

Mount Jumbo Wildlife Closure Begins December 1

Mount Jumbo's North Zone is closed from December 1 until May 1. Trespassing during the wildlife closure is prohibited and violators may be fined up to $500. ... more

Two Dog Years

By ROB BREEDING - I’m in my early 50s and I’ve begun to measure my time in bird dog years. My current hunting partner, Doll, is 5 and I can reasonably expect another 5 to 7 years with her.... more

Milestone Season Comes to a Close

By DILLON TABISH - More than a century after it was established, Glacier National Park is more popular than ever.... more

Reflecting on ‘The Bob’

By MYERS REECE - Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Wilderness Act into law, and Bob Marshall was there from the beginning... more

Tragic Ending to Ambitious Young Life

By TRISTAN SCOTT - Experienced BASE jumper had successfully leapt from Glacier Park's Mount Siyeh prior to fatal attempt.... more

Glacier Park Transitions to Fall After Historic Summer

By DILLON TABISH - Iconic Sun Road slated to open through most of October as visitation approaches record high.... more

A Wild Idea: Celebrating 50 Years of the Wilderness Act

By TRISTAN SCOTT-Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, advocates look toward the future... more

Tourism Mishaps

By KELLYN BROWN-As a 20-something slinging trash for the park service in the early 2000s, I was privy to my fair share of tourist mishaps, from the comical to the tragic. ... more

Iceberg Lake in Glacier National Park

By DILLON TABISH-The 4.5-mile hike to Iceberg is considered one of the quintessential treks in Glacier National Park.... more

July Courses at the Glacier Institute

The Glacier Institute has announced it’s July courses, which will get you outside and enjoying the Flathead!... more

Becoming an Outdoors Woman Summer Workshop August 1-3

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks' popular Becoming an Outdoors-Woman summer workshop is set for August 1-3 at Boulder Hot Springs near Boulder.... more

Rain and Birds

By BRUCE AUCHLY-Rain, rain and more rain. Oh yes, and snow in the mountains. Must be June in Montana. While all that moisture is good for fish, it can wreak havoc on land based critters, like birds.... more

Sheep Grazing on City Open Space, Pet Owners Asked to Help Protect Herd

By BECKY GOODRICH-Missoula Parks and Recreation is asking dog owners to watch for sheep grazing on City open space, and leash their pets when hiking near the herd. ... more

Glacier Park Prepares for Busy Summer

Plow crews are ascending Going-to-the-Sun Road, clearing several feet of snow and preparing Glacier National Park for the upcoming summer season.... more

Mount Jumbo South Zone Closure Extended to April 7

To protect wintering elk, most of Mount Jumbo’s south zone will remain closed through Sunday, April 6. However, the “L” trail will re-open to the public on Tuesday, April 1. ... more