Missoula Summer Activities: Adventure Awaits in Montana

Missoula, Montana, is a wonderland for nature lovers. This mountain town sits in the Northern Rockies at the base of Mount Sentinel and offers access to three rivers. Then there are the trails, golf courses and secret spots locals love. Get started by reading about the top Missoula summer activities and find fun things to do.

Missoula Summer Activities: Plan Adventures with Family and Friends

missoula summer mountain biking

Mountain Biking

Mountain bikers have access to four trails dedicated to biking. Beginners should start at Kim Williams, which measures 2.5 miles and has no elevation gain. Experts enjoy Rattlesnake National Recreation Area and its 73 miles of varied terrain. For something in between, Blue Mountain and Pattee Canyon have trails between 27 and 41 miles, so bikers can pick the best route.

Play Golf and Disc Golf

Those playing golf in Missoula will find public and semi-private courses. Games range from nine to 18 holes, all set among stunning scenery. Plus, players rave about the weather, with summer offering a mild climate. Top courses in Missoula include Canyon River, University of Montana Golf Course and Highlands Golf Club.

In addition, Missoula has disc golf courses. Locals are known for their welcoming vibes, so this is a great destination for new players. Four areas have 18 baskets, with popular options such as Blue Mountain, Linda Vista and Snow Bowl Ski Area.

missoula summer activities fishing

Go Fishing

Ranked in the top 10 for trout fishing by Forbes, Missoula has many places to cast a line in the water. The area has three rivers perfect for fly fishing, or explore lakes with yellow perch and whitefish, as well as trout varieties.

Those fishing on their own should get a license from Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. For visitors who want to book a guided fishing trip, check out Missoula Fly Fishing Outfitters and Grizzly Hackle Fly Shop.

Ride Horses

Interested in lesser-known spots? Horseback riding ranks among the top Missoula summer activities for exploring the backcountry. Those who have their own horse may ride trails at Rattlesnake Recreation Area and Blue Mountain Recreation Area.

Local guides are happy to welcome new riders. Dunrovin Ranch hosts horseback rides for all ages. Each one includes instruction, safety gear, and lots of scenery such as the Bitterroot River and nearby forests.

For something different, head to River Pines Horse Sanctuary. This spot offers horse time in small sessions, horse meditations, and creative sessions where horses keep guests company.

hiking montana

Hike Trails

Dozens of trails make hiking one of the most popular Missoula summer activities. All skill levels have options, and the area welcomes families, couples and groups.

For beginners, Riverfront Trail is a great option. This paved flat route runs along Clark Fork River close to downtown and University of Montana. More experienced hikers love Mount Sentinel. The M trail offers a steep 3/4-mile climb, then 1 mile to the top. From there, hikers admire beautiful views of Missoula Valley.

To join locals, head to Waterworks Hill. This trail provides a scenic in-town hike perfect for a quick outdoor break. Other high-rated hiking trails in Missoula include Maclay Flat Nature Trail and North Loop Trail.

Spend Time on the Water

In addition, warm temperatures pair great with the local landscape to offer a prime spot for kayaking, rafting, SUP and tubing. Some would argue that floating down the river is the only way to relax in Missoula.

Missoula has one of the only mountain surf shops in the U.S. Due to the area’s river surfing scene, this activity has become popular for adventure seekers who want to tackle Brennan’s Wave.

After playing outside, take a break at the best local restaurants in Missoula.