* Lifts: 3 double chairs and 1 triple chair
* Vertical Drop: 1,150’
* Base Elevation: 4,500
* Summit Elevation: 5,650
* Longest Run: 1.5 miles
Pattee Canyon Recreation Area
, a 3,200-acre recreation area on the on the east side of Missoula, is a popular getaway for locals and visitors. The extensive, 27 miles of system trails is open year-round to non-motorized use and available to hikers, mountain bikers, joggers, and the trails are groomed for cross country skiers. These recreation area trails and roads connect the University of Montana and the Clark Fork River areas.
Few communities enjoy a place quite like the 60,000-acre Rattlesnake National Recreation Area and Wilderness
just north of Missoula. Montana’s premier urban wilderness blends the best of both wilderness and civilization. Rest assured that, despite its name, there have been no verified sightings of rattlesnakes in this area. You will, however, find ample opportunities to view many other wildlife species, including beaver, deer, elk, mountain goats and black bear.
A well-developed trail network in the Rattlesnake’s lower reaches gives you a variety of options for day trips – or you can pack overnight gear and venture farther into the high-country wilderness. You can camp anywhere beyond a three-mile radius from the Rattlesnake’s main trailhead, known as the “South Zone” (off Sawmill Gulch Road just west of Rattlesnake Drive).
When snow conditions permit, the main Rattlesnake and side drainages are readily accessible to cross-country skiers. Missoula Nordic Ski Club offers some grooming of the Rattlesnake Recreation Area from the main trailhead to Franklin Bridge.
Seeley Creek Nordic Ski Trails are a series of linked ski trails. Their trails consistently receive rave reviews and regular use from skiers living within a 150-mile radius, while their races and other events bring many users from greater distances. There is a trail or a loop for skiers of all levels and abilities, from hard-core racers to families looking to experience some healthy outdoor activity in the fresh winter air of western Montana.
Ice fishing is a great way to get outside during the cold winter months. Just make sure to bundle up to keep yourself warm while you’re out on the ice.
- Half way between Kalispell and Missoula (roughly a 120 mile distance), Flathead Lake is the largest natural body of fresh water west of the Mississippi River. Although the lake seldom freezes over entirely, most of the bays will freeze thick enough to support ice fishing activity. Expect to find lake & whitefish trout, yellow perch & cutthroat trout.
- Georgetown Lake is a popular ice fishing location near Anaconda, MT (90 miles from Missoula, or an hour and 40 minutes by car) that has easy access, and only a short distance from the Discovery Basin Ski Area. The most common fish caught are salmon, rainbow & brook trout.
- Seeley Swan Lake is among the many numerous lakes present in the Seeley Swan Valley are the highly popular Salmon, Holland Placid Lakes that are an easy day trip from Missoula. Expect to find bull trout, cutthroat trout, kokanee salmon & northern pike.
Ice skating in Missoula is almost always accompanied by a roaring bonfire somewhere close to the ice rink. Warm your fingers and lift your spirit enough to get back into the cold gliding bliss of skating.
- Located at the fairgrounds, Glacier Ice Rink has both an indoor and outdoor rink. With reasonable rates on rentals and public skating available daily from September through May, the whole family will have fun gliding around the large arena.
- Another option for ice skating is in the Rattlesnake Area, at Pineview Park. Since 1975 the Rattlesnake Hockey Assocation has been flooding a portion of the park for winter skating. Hours vary due to the weather, and you’ll need to bring your own skates.
Missoula is at the epicenter of several great mountains for skiing and snowboarding. Did you know Missoula has its very own ski area? The Snowbowl is located just 20 minutes from downtown Missoula. The Snowbowl’s terrain is comprised of 2,600 vertical feet and just over 900 acres. The Snowbowl isn’t the only area that is just a short drive from Missoula. Discovery Ski Area, Blacktail Mountain, Lookout Pass and Lost Trail Powder Mountain are all trips that you can do in a day.
Starting at either Lolo Hot Springs or at Lolo Pass 7 miles west, snowmobilers can conduct their own modern-day explorations, crossing 250 miles of groomed, connecting trails in the Lolo and Clearwater National Forest. Snowmobiling in Missoula is fast, fun and addictive. Snowmobile rentals are available at Lolo Hot Springs. A full range of visitor services, including snowmobile rentals, sales, and service are available in Missoula.
Snowshoeing in Missoula is truly an adventure. With the ability to set out in any direction and find unmistakable views and a winter wonderland, is what makes snowshoeing here great. After a day of fun in the snow and ice, Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast guests can relax at a local restaurant and retreat to their rooms for more togetherness. Each morning Innkeepers Brady and Elaine prepare a fabulous gourmet breakfast for their guests. Are you ready for some Missoula winter fun?
Written by Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging