Top Nature Preserves to Visit Near Missoula

Simply put, Missoula worships the outdoors. That’s why nature preserves are found everywhere, not only in the countryside but also right in the city’s downtown. Find a quiet retreat just blocks from bustling restaurants. Explore challenging steep hikes or easy nature trails, all with in the same preserve. Some parks are known for their glacier lakes and plunging waterfalls, while others are home to abundant wildlife. And almost every activity can be found from hiking, biking and horseback riding to boating, fishing and photography. Plan your summer getaway here at a tranquil mountainside retreat that’s close to everything. The Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast, just minutes from downtown Missoula, has everything needed for a perfect summer vacation. Wake up each morning with sweeping valley and mountain views. Each private suite includes its’ own bath with jetted tubs, to soothe tired muscles after hiking or biking. And our hearty, gourmet breakfast will have you ready for another day exploring the beautiful landscape. Book your outdoor adventure with us today.

5 Great Nature Preserves

All around Missoula the diverse landscape invites exploration. The dense forests shelters wildlife, trails open up to beautiful mountain vistas, and winding rivers shimmer in the sunlight. Guests of these nature preserves find peace, adventures, and memorable journeys. All this near a thriving, energetic city with plenty of nightlife. What else could a summer getaway need?

  1. The Clark Fork Natural Area – This trail is a hidden oasis within downtown Missoula. The paved trail follows along the Clark Fork River and features charming wooden bridges. Surprisingly quiet with dense trees and views of the historic district. Not only a wonderful place to find solitude within the city but very popular with bird watchers.
  2. Rattlesnake WildernessJust four miles north of Missoula find this recreation area that has it all. The 61,000 acres of glacial landscape has over 33 miles of trails with deep forests, scenic lakes, waterfalls and grand mountain views. The area is a favorite of hikers, joggers, and mountain bikers. And with more than 30 high mountain lakes, fishing is very popular. The nature reserve is also home to a wide variety of wildlife such as deer, elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, coyotes, wolves and even bears.
  3. Blue Mountain Recreation Area – In addition to including the wonderful Maclay Flat Interpretive Trail, this area has over 4,000 acres with 41 miles of trails. Found only two mile southwest of Missoula, the preserve hosts many activities. Trails are designated for horseback riding or hiking only. While other trails accommodate ATVs and motorcycles. Mountain biking enthusiasts also get their own trails to fly down at top speed.
  4. Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge – This pristine nature preserve, located in the Bitterroot River Valley, is just 25 miles out of Missoula. Not only is the 2,800 acres home to over 200 bird species, but also mammals, reptiles and amphibians. The 2 miles of nature trails includes wildlife viewing areas great for observation and photography. Fishing is permitted on the river and environmental educational programs are also offered.
  5. Beavertail Hill State Park – With one-half mile of frontage in the Clark Fork River, it’s no surprise that fly fishing is the big draw here. Many come out to float, fish or boat on the river, but be aware it’s carry-in boating only. The 65 acres park also includes a one-hour walking nature trail that winds through a forest of cottonwoods. Pack an after-hike picnic and bring your camera to capture wildlife photos.

Surround yourself with Montana’s natural beauty visiting these exceptional preserves. Then return to the Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast to relax in an equally stunning setting. We have everything needed for a restorative, exciting Missoula vacation filled with adventures in the great outdoors. Reserve one of our mountainside suites and start dreaming about your summer getaway.

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