Missoula (population 53,000) is the cultural and economic center of Western Montana and ranks as the state's third largest city. Home to the University of Montana, Missoula is brimming with history, progressive culture and is buzzing with young and active people.
The Missoula Valley is rimmed with rolling mountains on all sides which create a bowl shaped landscape that helps Missoula maintain fairly mild seasonal temperatures, though during the winter months this bowl tends to propagate strong natural inversions. Missoula is a fantastic place to be an outdoor enthusiast as a number of excellent recreational opportunities exist year-round.
The mighty Clark Fork River, named by the Lewis & Clark Expedition who came through this area on both westward and eastward legs of their journey, plots its course right through the Missoula Valley, making this area an extremely popular destination for both fly-fishers and river runners alike. Missoula offers miles of excellent mountain biking, hiking and XC skiing trails that start right from the edge of town and has two small alpine ski areas within a half hour drive of the city center.
Missoula attracts a large number of different national music acts throughout the year and local concerts and art festivals are regular events. There are a number of quality art galleries and unique artisan shops in the downtown area in which visitors can find hours of browsing entertainment. Missoula is easily accessed by from the east and west by I-90 and from the north and south on interstate 93. Visitors traveling by air have their choice of a number of domestic air carriers that offer daily service to Missoula International Airport (Johnson Bell).