Continuing the series of things to do in Missoula another favorite activity is the Missoula Smokejumpers Visitor Center. The Smokejumper Visitor Center is the largest active smokejumper base in the nation. The visitor center allows to learn about this unusual, demanding and sometimes deadly occupation. As you walk through the center you will visit the National Smokejumper Memorial, go inside a replica of a 1930′s lookout tower, and a tour of the smokejumper loft, where the smokejumpers work when they are not fighting fires. You can also tour the ready room and load masters room where the smokejumpers prepare for fire calls.
The center is a great addition to your agenda during your Missoula stay, being such a specialty, you will not find a better place to learn about wild-land fires and art of fighting them.
The visitor center is located just past the Missoula International Airport on Hwy 10. Tours are available at 10:00am and 11:00am, 2:00pm, 3:00pm, and 4:00pm daily. This tour is free of charge. During the winter call at least 2 days ahead for appointment and reservation, 406-329-4972 mailbox 1 or 406-329-4900.
To continue with the suggestions of things to see and do in Missoula, we recommend a trip to Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
Majority of our guests say they booked a trip to Montana to see the great outdoors, but more specific they hope to view wildlife…from a safe distance. Montana has a wide variety of wildlife to view but depending on your route and timing it can be hit or miss. With this tour you can see some of that favorite animals, in a safe and controlled environment.
The Elk Country Visitor Center features hands-on conservation and hunting heritage exhibits for all ages. The Center also includes a Lewis and Clark display, a western wildlife diorama, and a state of the art conservation theater. Making this stop more the just another museum tour. You leave feeling like you took a walk through some of the most popular wildlife habits in North America.
The best part is this center is free to the public and open year round, unlike other attractions you don’t have to worry about it being closed during the off season.
The most asked questions we get from our guests is….What do you recommend doing/seeing? This is what makes staying at a Bed and Breakfast so great. We as Innkeepers can give you one on one, customized advice by local residents. No offense to our local hotels, but usually you get a college student who is just working their way through school and has not grown up in Missoula or gotten out to be a tourist in the area. So when you ask this question more often than not you get very little ideas or input, let alone a person that is finding the best fit for you and your time.
We decided to run a “top things to see and do in Missoula” for our blog followers in hopes that we can give you some pre-arrival ideas. Here is idea #1.
Regardless of your outdoor adventure desires, all who come to Missoula love the Caras park area. This park is located in the heart of the historic downtown area right on the banks of the Clark Fork river. Things to do just in this area can fill a whole day or pick from the list and spend 1 -2 hours enjoying the park.
Stroll/run/bike along the miles of flat trials that line both sides of the river. This path is part of the old railroad tracks that has been converted into a perfect trail to watch the river and the wildlife that it supports. The trail is lined with benches along the way offering many places to relax. You will find these benches perfect spots to watch the Osprey fish the river, swallows on insect patrol, all types of ducks and geese teaching their young (depending on the time of year you are here) as well as beavers chewing on the aspens or taking a swim. If wildlife watching is not your thing then maybe people watching is. Brennan’s wave is a man made kayak wave, that no matter what time of year, you will most likely find a kayaker playing in the wave.
The Missoula carousel hosts local carved wooden horses painted by multiple local artists. Even if you do not take a ride to try and capture the golden ring this is a great place to see. If youngsters are traveling with you, then the Dragon Hollow Playground is right next door.
If you come in the summer, Wednesday lunchtime or Thursday evening you will find the park alive with a local band performing, people dancing, and great local food vendors. Saturday and Sunday this area is full with our local farmers market.
The atmosphere and feel this area brings helps you capture what it is that makes Missoula a great place to visit and wish that you were staying longer.