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Blue Mountain Recreation Area, Missoula

Lower trailhead- 1/2 mile from Hwy 93 on Blue Mountain Road.

Blue Mountain B&B is conveniently backed up against the massive 5,500-acre Blue Mountain Recreation Area. A number of Missoula recreation groups worked with Lolo National Forest to create this 41 miles of trails and facilities. It’s an amazing offering for the enjoyment of all, whether you’re an ATV enthusiast or a nature lover going down a well-paved path in a wheelchair.  Trails are often specified as being maintained for the sole purpose of hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking or motorized activities.  Because of this, people can enjoy trails according to their specific outdoor interests and feel safe doing so.

DIRECTIONS:  From Missoula, travel two miles south of Reserve Street on Hwy 93 South.  Turn right at the light onto Blue Mountain Road and then choose from the following three main access points.  The lower trailhead has horse facilities and is also a great place to walk your dog (0.5 of a mile north on Blue Mountain Road 559).  Past this point and off to the left is Forest Road 365 (1.2 miles from Hwy 93 South).  MaClay Flats continues on the main paving and is about 1.7 miles from the highway.

Birding & river access

MaClay Flat Interpretive Trail:  This is a perfect choice for anyone who prefers a wide, level path with an even surface.  This 1.25-mile trail with a 1.8-mile loop takes your through the meadows and mountain views along the Bitterroot River.  This trail is a great place for avid birders, particularly in the spring.  In the summer many people use this location to tube or raft the river.

 

Bitterroot River at MaClay Flats

Forest Roads 365 and 2137:  If you like a nice 11-mile drive in the mountains, take these maintained forest roads to see grand views of the Missoula Valley. You’ll be going up over 3,000 feet over the course of the drive, from 3,200 feet to 6,460 feet. During limited times of the year, you can also visit the Blue Mountain Forest Service Lookout.  As you wind up the road, you will enjoy a view of the M and the valley of Missoula.  In the heat of summer, it’s nice to pull over and enjoy one of the little streams along the roadside.

 

Frisbee Golf “Folf” Course:  There is a large course for folfers to enjoy that comes with a great view!  This course is near the beginning of the main Blue Mountain road near the winter-time sledding hill.

“Folf” course

 Blue Mountain Nature Trail:  This popular trail is a quarter mile loop en route to Forest Road 365. Everyone, from individuals to families and school groups, likes to stop here because of the trail’s educational on-site  interpretive information.

Blue Mountain National Recreational Trail:  Another quarter mile loop trail for hiking only (sorry, no mountain bikes!), this one goes from the base of Blue Mountain to the Forest Service Lookout.

Fire Lookout:  Eleven miles up Road 365 is a 50 foot tower that is open to visitors during the summer season from 9am to 6pm. Watch a video!

Blue Mountain Observatory Run by the University of Montana, offers several free public viewing nights.  You should always call ahead to make sure a viewing date has not been canceled for some reason (406-243-5179)

Motor Vehicle Trails:  This is one of the few area trails that allows off-road motorcycles and four-wheelers. Twelve miles long, the trailhead for ATVs/motorcycles is up Forest Road 365 three miles on the south (left) side.  In the winter months, Road 365 is closed but available for snowmobiling one mile above the gate.  Snowmobiling is not allowed below this point.

Brady heading out on Raven to clear trails on our side of the mountain!

Right Outside Your Guest Room Door:  If you don’t mind going on unmarked trails, you can enjoy the south side of Blue Mountain, which offers a cool retreat among the trees.  This area is known as Deadman Gulch and includes both state and federal land.  In the spring time, you can enjoy the tiny trickle of the little creek that starts higher up.  The flora and fauna in this area is always lovely.  Depending on the season, you might spot lady slippers, wild columbine, grouse, deer and other wildlife wonders.  Once in a while you can find inn owners Brady and Elaine clearing some of the trails with the help of their mountain horses (3 Fjords, a Percheron and mule).  Most of the trails on this side eventually join up with the main recreational trails on Blue Mountain but they aren’t used by many people. Because of this, the paths are less worn but the solitude is wonderful!

Kuma cooling off in the creek- a dog’s life for me!

Enjoy the culture and history of Missoula as well as all these amazing trails right near our Missoula bed and breakfast inn. Our accommodations between Missoula and Lolo are perfectly located for your outdoor exploring and adventures.

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