elk

Into the Wild: Meet Missoula’s Wildlife

Wildlife in Missoula, MontanaThe spring and summer months in Missoula are perfect for getting outside and enjoying the splendid and abundant nature that surrounds us.  Whether you venture into the Blue Mountain Recreation Area just behind our Inn, the Lolo National Forest, or anywhere else near the rugged town of Missoula, you’re sure to find untold treasures, spectacular views, and plenty of wild creatures along the way.  In fact, the opportunities for wildlife watching in Missoula are unparalleled if you’re patient.  Venture into the wilderness, and you might just find bald eagles, osprey, bighorn sheep, badgers, mountain goats, deer, and so much more.  Our Bed and Breakfast is the perfect place to begin your journey, with 20 private acres of wildlife habitat, directly bordering a national forest.  Pack your binoculars and field guides, and book your room at our Missoula Bed and Breakfast today! Continue reading

Missoula Winter Fun

Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast is thankful for all the outdoor winter fun that Missoula, Montana and our surrounding area offers our guests.  From downhill skiing to cross-country skiing, from ice fishing to ice skating, and snowmobiling to snowshoeing.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly ski destination, check out Discovery Ski Area, or “Disco” to locals. It has a variety of terrain, with plenty of beginner and intermediate slopes, as well as some highly-technical runs on the backside. It’s about a 90-minute drive from Missoula in Philipsburg, Montana.  180 Discovery Basin Road   406-563-2184

Lookout Pass Ski Trails are open 6 days a week in January & February, Wednesdays through Mondays. Closed on Tuesdays. Lifts operate 9-4PM PST on weekdays and  8:30-4PM on weekends. There are nine un-groomed trails that make a total of 7.3 miles down into the basin. The Lookout Pass Alpine Skiing Area is right next to the cross-country ski trails and snowmobiling opportunities. These trails are not groomed.

Average Annual Snowfall: 400 inches

* Terrain: 540 acres with 34 named runs
and prime powder glades:
20% Easiest
50% Intermediate
20% Advanced
10% Expert
* 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

Meet Innkeepers Brady and Elaine of Blue Mountain B&B

Innkeepers Brady and Elaine Anderson-Wood love extending hospitality to their guests at  Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast in Missoula, Montana.  Missoula is said to be “the best small town under 100,000 people” in America.  With breathtaking views of the mountains and Bitterroot River as well as beautiful gardens and unique wildlife to watch.

They take pleasure in sharing their mountain, home, and Montana history with others from around the world.  Meeting people from every walk of life is a real treat for them.  Guests come for a variety of reasons including: visiting their kids at University of Montana, fishing, relaxing between visits to Yellowstone and Glacier Park.

Guests have visited from every state but Delaware as well as the countries of Israel, Bolivia, Jacarta, Mongolia, Honduras, Namibia, South Korea, and Romania.  One couple from France comes every year to enjoy Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast and the surrounding area. Seeing how people with very different view points are able to come together, share breakfast, and take away an appreciation for each other is one of the biggest surprises Brady and Elaine have discovered as innkeepers.

Elaine, who takes professional pictures, says she has always adored taking pictures because of her deep love and connection with nature.  The animals that can be found outside their B&B include: woodpeckers, humming birds, hawks, eagles, bears, bunnies, deer, wild turkeys, elk, chipmunks, and much more.

Because of her background in history and education,  Elaine was able to take more classes (including classes specifically oriented toward the bi-centennial of Lewis and Clark) to become an official tour guide.  There are so many gorgeous walking trails in their area.

Blue Mountain B&B is open year round and guests can stay for just one night if that is their desire.  Some choose to have one night escapes from Missoula, Helena, Great Falls, and other places. There are fun things to do all year long in Missoula.  The benefit of their particular location is that they are close to town, yet it is so private.  Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast is on twenty acres of registered wildlife habitat next to National and State forest land.  The home was designed by their family and the room decor reflects their Swedish family heritage as well as their ranching backgrounds.

Their most loved breakfast dishes include their asparagus gratins, macadamia-crusted French toast, and Aebelskivers (a Dutch stove top doughnut).  Brady and Elaine would love to have others come to enjoy the beauty of nature, do fun area activities and/or just relax, and taste their delicious breakfasts as well as share their unique life experiences!

Written by Kristi Dement of Bed and Breakfast Blogging

Montana is Elk Country

A few hundred years ago, the elk of North America numbered in the millions. Over hunting caused their population to dwindle to fewer than 100,000 around the turn of the 20th century. Thanks to conservation efforts, the elk population is stable at around one million today. Most live in the western United States, including the land surrounding Missoula, and we’ve been known to spot them from our Missoula Montana Bed and Breakfast.

bugling wapiti

A bugling elk.

These majestic creatures migrate between low valley pastures in the winter and high mountain grazing grounds in the summer. Calfs are born in the early summer, and mating takes place towards the end of the summer after antlers have regrown on the males. A herd of elk is a magnificent site.

The Elk Foundation’s Elk Country Visitor Center is located about 10 miles north of our Missoula Bed and Breakfast. It’s worth a look, if for no other reason than to gawk at the display of impressive elk mounts that resides there. Feel the weight of elk antlers, learn to identify animal tracks, and listen to the bugling call of elk, among other activities.

Visitors are also invited to walk the trail that meanders around the 22-acre property. It’s unlikely that you’ll spot elk there, but there is a good chance you’ll see other wildlife: owls, wild turkeys, bald eagles, and white-tailed deer are frequently seen there.

The Visitor Center is open year-round, daily through the end of the year. Admission is free. More information is available at Elk Country Visitor Center.

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